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Becoming a PADI DM - The Blog!

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by Diving Dubai, Dec 17, 2016.

  1. Birddog1911

    Birddog1911 Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Peyton, CO
    BTW, I'm 45 as well. Thankfully, despite my injury and inability to do a lot of cardio workouts, I'm in reasonable shape.
  2. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
    I would definitely not use the F1's for the 800 meter swim- you may cramp up and it will be exhausting. The split fins are the way to go for this exercise- IMHO.
  3. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Disagree that the tests are mind over matter. The 400 means good technique. 800--strong legs. Tow--strong everything. Float--depends on body buoyancy, so this one isn't much of a "stamina" test as they're referred to, but a "luck" one.
    One thing about the equipment exchange: When I did it in the course and aced it, it was with a buddy of very similar size to me. Later as a DM, I was asked to do it with a DMC and wasn't so smooth--she was tiny. Hard to compare the two situations when giving someone points 1-5, I would assume.
  4. Birddog1911

    Birddog1911 Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Peyton, CO
    Passed the final exam last night. Didn't find it to be difficult. Wed is the last pool session.

    I'm diving this weekend with a couple of buddies, and since I don't have my deep or S&R specialties yet, will knock out the scenarios. I'll be working on 10 specialties over the next couple of months.
  5. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    Part 5
    Buoyancy and the Skills circuit


    This is a fundamental skill. Without it being top notch, you are going to struggle going forward. I was going to write about these two separately, but they are intertwined completely

    For instance: You may be helping on the Open water segment of the OW course and a student is having problems equalizing (as happened to me). They will be holding the line getting themselves sorted with your assistance. You should be hovering in front of them, making eye contact, being reassuring, and assisting. If you must hold onto the line alongside them, then frankly you’re as much use as a chocolate fireguard.

    When guiding, again you need to be a role model. If your buoyancy and trim is a bit iffy (or a lot iffy) how can you expect the customers to do anything but follow your lead. If the customer has better skills than you, well you won’t get a lot of respect.

    Furthermore, whilst guiding you want to be able to move effortlessly through the water (having to call the dive because you have the worst air consumption is not great form). You’ll want to be able to swim on your back maintain constant depth whilst checking the gas contents of the divers, be able to stop, and hover to point out something of interest, and of course hold the safety stop accurately. If you’re drifting up and down at the stop, then so will the rest of your group. So, no sculling or cycle kicks! Ideally, you’ll learn helicopter kicks to turn and even back kicks either before your course or get an instructor to teach you during the early during the early stages

    Did I say be a role model?

    So, decent open water buoyancy and trim prior to embarking on the course really is necessary, and I can’t emphasis this enough. Without good buoyancy, you’ll struggle with the next part…

    The Skills circuit.

    In short you have 24 skills to learn and demonstrate. Each skill is marked from 1 to 5. The pass mark is a minimum of 82 marks gained over the 24 skills with at least 1 skill being a 5 - The Marking criteria is below.

    1. Candidate unable to perform exercise.

    2. Exercise performed with significant difficulty or error.

    3. Exercise performed correctly, though too quickly to adequately exhibit or illustrate details of skill.

    4. Exercise performed correctly and slowly enough to adequately exhibit or illustrate details of skill.

    5. Exercise performed correctly, slowly and with exaggerated movement – appeared easy.

    Depending on your goals will depend on the points you’ll be happy to aim for. If you just want to stop at DM with no intention of ever being an instructor, then the minimum (of 15 x 3, 8 x 4 and 1 x 5) will be satisfactory.

    If you wish to progress through IDC to IE, then you’ll need mostly 5’s with the occasional 4 being acceptable.

    Of course you don’t need to be (and won’t be) perfect first time, or the second, or the.. well you get the picture. You get to repeat as necessary and the highest score counts. If like me you get a 5 on your demonstration of the five-point ascent, and then carry out a demonstration of the skill to students, have a brain fart and score a 3, the 5 will still count. The first time you see a skill and have to note each step you’ll realise how complex they actually all are with lots of minor details.

    You will learn real buoyancy control on these skills. In my case the pool ranged from 4’ to a max of 8.5’ in depth. You need to appear motionless in the water whist being neutral. When you carry out the mask remove and replace (which takes around 90 seconds if done correctly) with your eyes likely closed because of the chlorine, you need to rely on other senses. Similarly with skills

    (9) Air depletion exercise and alternate air source use (stationary).


    (10) Alternate air source-assisted ascent,

    These two are normally put together as one skill, a lung full of air as your last breath before you slowly demonstrate will send you to the surface.

    You will get complete mind blanks on skills you know well (done in front of a mirror or walked through on your own) when having to demonstrate. Trust me. (S)ORTED and STEL(L)A (5 point descent and ascent) would drop from my brain half way through with me mentally having to spell the word again and again.

    Frustrating I can tell you. I was even tempted to get the letters tattooed on the back of each hand at one point

    2 Tips.

    Practise your fin pivot and hover as much as possible to refine you breathing, literally be able to do it with your eyes closed.

    Go slowly. Each skill is easier if done slowly. If you think you’re going slowly you’re still probably going too fast. This was told to me at the very start and is so true. All my initial comments (even though I thought I was going slowly) was slow down.

    Watch your instructors and see how they’ve put their own personal twist on the skills, and do the same. I have 2 primary female instructors, who have taken the skills way past demonstration level to an art form. I’m still in awe when I see them in action, and if I can be half as good as them one day I’ll be very happy

    All fun and games to be sure, but for me the most enjoyable part of the course – and the one that has challenged me the most to get everything just right (so far, I the 20 Scuba skills at all 5, and the 4 skin diving at 4)

    Learning the skills and being able to demonstrate them is one thing, being able to remember them all, and recalling each when asked is another matter, and one I’m still having to work on, meaning that every opportunity I am practicing or demonstrating until I can remember them all 100%,

    I’m about 25% there :(
  6. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    Kinda Sorta. My point (which I still believe is valid) is that you're against the clock, If like 90% of us you don't have great technique, you need to "grit your teeth" and push on through to get the score you need.

    @Birddog1911 How did it go in the end?

    As a fun update:

    My Course Director, decided that I'd been given an easy 5 for the Kit exchange and that I should do it again with her watching. I quickly realised this was a bit of fun, but went for it.

    A quick discussion with my partner (another instructor) and we decided to change the full kit, plus weight belts and Rash vest and board shorts (we were wearing trunks underneath) for good measure.

    An so it happened. each making sure the other didn't float off. The hilarity of getting a rash vest over a mask and snorkel, whilst sat astride you BCD and tank and Board short exchange which is fun with gear on...

    We also decided to make a circuit of the pool sharing air, and because it was begin recorded on video (presumably for a skills video) pull a moonie as we went past.

    Yes I retained my 5, and got brought a beer or two for being a good sport...

    You can have fun ...
  7. Birddog1911

    Birddog1911 Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Peyton, CO
    @Diving Dubai
    Final pool session went alright. I was a little irritated that my instructor missed a lap during the 800m snorkel, making me go from a 4 to a 3. But, such is life. I did have difficulty with the equipment exchange, since I was buoyant. My partner and I got turned away from each other, with him having the reg...no option but to get to the surface. Once I insisted on wearing a weight belt, no problems.

    Trip to Blue Hole, NM, was good. I wasn't as ambitious as my buddies, so I didn't get as many dives as them. Sunday had me a bit miffed, as the other DMC was there, working with the instructor that was supposed to knock out our S&R scenario. They were screwing around, and I did a buddy dive with a friend. Well, while we were down, and knowing that I needed to do it as well, they decided to do the scenario. So, I got blue falcon'd out of the scenario. Oh well, I will be taking care of it on the 17th.

    The last 2 weeks I have been interning during the classroom and confined sessions, and once I intern the OW sessions, I'll have all of my requirements done.
  8. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    The Final Summary
    It's all done and dusted, the paperwork signed and the professionalism interview completed. So what had I learned?

    Firstly my perception of the Divemaster course has changed. To be frank I used to be quite dismissive of it as a course, seeing little point in it unless you wanted to be an Instructor (or Guide) or you just wanted to be able to flash the black card.

    Now post completion I see that it can be so much more. You can of course just do the bare minimum to get through and get yourself a black card, but I think you'd be missing a great opportunity.

    I've learn't lots despite already having an equivalent cert from BSAC, the two course do complement each other very well.

    I allowed myself to be challenged and I was, I found I enjoyed areas I didn't think I would, and proved to myself I did like teaching and that I would enjoy going to the next level - frankly it amazed me that I can be bright and cheerful to students before midday with only 2 coffees

    I knew my buoyancy was very good prior to entering the course, but was unprepared for the amount of fine tuning to be done to get myself stationary and seemingly motionless whilst completing skills in the pool. I'm at a different level now.

    I have learnt a huge respect and admiration for instructors, I've seen for myself how in the blink of an eye a student can suddenly float off and you need to be on the ball all the time in the water.

    I could go on, but I won't.

    I started the course as a student of 3 Instructors, I leave the course with 3 great friends and mentors (and a depleted bank account after paying for my IDC) Luckily I chose a local shop where I will continue to dive and assist.

    Whether the course suits you, is a personal decision. If you chose to take it, even if you don't want to become an instructor - fully embrace it, you'll learn lots and have a great time - You've paid the money make the most of it...

    So here ends the "blog" I might do one for IDC, I'll see how it goes..

    Neilwood, stuartv, flyboy08 and 2 others like this.
  9. Landau

    Landau Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver
    Congrats - you might have convinced me to do it!
  10. flyboy08

    flyboy08 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC
    Congrats! And all you got was a cheesy T-shirt:)

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