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5 HONEST THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BECOMING A DIVE PROFESSIONAL

By Sayali Ranadive, 31 July 2021

A lot of people have been asking me recently about how to get into diving professionally, all of them inspired by the movies, the Instagram profiles of divers, the lifestyle they imagine dive professionals have. Are you also one of them? Do you plan on becoming a dive professional?

Here is the list of things that honestly nobody would tell you about the journey.

1. IT IS A LONG PROCESS OF LEARNING

 
The ideal time required to complete the first dive professional level, provided you meet the eligibility criteria, would be 3 months and if you are starting from the beginner’s level then 4-5 months. But it is not a time-based course, it is a performance-based course, so everything depends on your learning capabilities and your performance throughout.

Everything that you learn throughout this time is not going to be a waste of time. It takes so long to finish the course because during the process you will be learning a lot of things like:

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• People skills: how to sell diving to interested people or how to make new divers feel welcomed in the community
• Teaching techniques: how to teach a beginner to dive, how to train them, how to brief them before the dive. You will be polishing your own diving skills too
• Theory: so that if a random diver asks you any question related to diving or marine animals, you can answer them confidently
• Anticipation: you will be learning how to anticipate certain problems and how to solve them

2. IT IS NOT JUST PHYSICAL BUT MENTAL PREPARATION AS WELL

 
As a Divemaster trainee, you will be tested physically as well as mentally. Some of your daily duties include carrying a 12-litre tank to and from the boat and being in the water for 4-6 hours a day. Apart from multiple physical tests, you will also be evaluated on your planning and decision-making skills as this is an adventure sport and as a dive professional, you are going to be responsible for the safety of the people you take diving. The end result of this would be your dedication towards the field and your presence of mind in difficult situations.
 

3. LEAVE YOUR LUXURIES BEHIND

 
This is the first thing I say when people ask me about island life. Most of the dive centres are located on remote islands, especially in Asia. All the budget accommodations on the islands or the one that your dive centre provides are not going to be as lavish as your houses in the cities. Some of them provide dorm accommodation, while others might have small bamboo huts with common washrooms.

Electricity is also an issue with most of the islands, and not all dive centres have generators. In most places, you can find a good internet connection nowadays, but there could be certain patches where there is no network connection. The brand and quality of food may differ. Be okay to try out a variety of food because most of the time you won’t have time to cook, or you might not find your native ingredients.

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4. IT IS NOT HUNKY-DORY AS IT SEEMS

As beautiful as everything around you is while diving, it is not the same on the surface for dive professionals. You might have heard a lot of party stories from the islands, but these are the stories by tourists and barely from the professionals. It is not party life. You are there for work.

A typical day for a dive professional begins at 5 AM with setting up all the equipment and usually ends by 8 PM post the evening office working hours. You would get to nap in the afternoons, which most divers happily do.

Having said that, it isn’t a snooze job as well. As a dive professional, you would be spending most of your time interacting with the diving guests and ensuring that they have a wonderful holiday. As recognition of your efforts, you may benefit from perks such as tips, treats of your choice from them, tonnes of memories and funny incidents.

5. YOU MAY END UP SPENDING BIG BUCKS

Yes, just like any other professional course, these courses are not cheap. Besides, there are many overhead costs along with the course fee. Depending on your choice of accommodation, you might have to pay rent for the months of your stay, you might have to arrange for your own breakfast and dinners.

Some dive centres expect dive professionals to own their own equipment before hiring them. It is suggested to buy your own equipment so that you are comfortable while you take others for a dive. Think of it as an investment. Once you become a dive professional all of that money would be repaid.

People ask me to do I earn enough in this profession? Yes, I do, because all I earn is all I save, my food, accommodation, and my travel are all taken care of by the dive centre I work for.

These secrets are purely based on my experience, it is not to demotivate you but consider it as bursting myths about the diver lifestyle. Once you reach the destination, you have better things underwater to look forward to every day and trust me, that is enough to make it the coolest job ever. As Andy Cummings says, “Diving is an investment of time and money, but the rewards can be life-changing literally.”