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Finished Divemaster, Did I just Make a Mistake?

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by MEmersonC, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    3,577
    1,820
    113
    My mind is blown! Said in my best Monty Python's Life of Brian voice, "you lucky, lucky bahstard!"

    I used to teach at a shop chain where one of the owners and one of the managers complained about DM's getting free air WHEN ASSISTING courses. Their only benefit was discounted gear. Instructors would be paid max $50 per student (had to get certified, otherwise it was $25).
     
    Trailboss123 likes this.
  2. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    12,271
    10,965
    113
    Is there a benefit to a discount on gear if it isn't what you want or would use?
     
    Trailboss123 likes this.
  3. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    3,577
    1,820
    113
    No. Instructors try to build a tribe where DMs want to be part of their pack and help out their courses. Courses are taught at max ratios as much as possible, with everyone cratered on their knees. I believe some local shops are more generous with their pros, but I don't know specifics as I've only taught at two shops (first went out of business) before going independent
     
  4. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: United States
    3,271
    3,464
    113
    Here is your "competition." Your competition is the early-20-something girl with an instagram that spent a month in the Gili islands going from nothing to DM. They have as much experience as you do because they're literally diving every day. They're still crappy instructors and DM's because dive count doesn't equal experience.

    Being a DM is fine if you're helping out with the random local class, getting a free set of dives in every once in a while, discounts on gear if your LDS happens to stock the gear you want. You're not gonna make money being a DM. DM's are a dime a dozen and when that 20-something comes back home and goes into the local dive shop, only they have 300+ dives they got over the summer and they're an OWSI and just want extra work during the weekends. They'll still work for nothing because they're just financing their trip to Papua New Guinea so they can get all the instagram likes.

    Becoming a DM to make actual money is a fools errand. Becoming a DM because you want a couple perks while maintaining a real job is something entirely different. If you think you're gonna make a living as a bog standard DM in this industry, you need to get to some place where the countries GDP rivals the 20 bucks in your wallet and the cost of living is measure in cents per month, or you need to step up, become an instructor, become a diesel mechanic, a compressor technician, get your captains license, and do very little DM'ing and lots of the other jobs I just mentioned. Remember, suck, squeeze, bang, blow.
     
  5. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dubai UAE
    3,101
    2,782
    113
    The PADI ratio for Open water is 8:1 or if you have a CA then 4 additional students per CA

    If you must have a CA for the class - and no way I'd have 8 students in open water, then yes pay the DM

    But sorry DM's shouldn't expect that as soon as they're qualified that they can suddenly earn payment. Again I'll reiterate, if I have a brand new DM assisting (on a small class) they are there not for me, but so they can gain more experience

    Often its a learning exercise for them too. So in that case if I'm giving further training to the DM, should they be paid for being there? After I'm done with the students I'm still coaching the DM. (FOC)

    I have no issue paying someone if they are adding value and increasing revenue, whether a DM on a boat that couldn't' go out without them, or as a CA on a course if I need a DM for say poor vis

    Of if the DM carries out a reactivate course

    But for the class sizes I teach I have no need of a DM, but happy for them to tag along if they want to
     
    Graeme Fraser likes this.
  6. JohnnyC

    JohnnyC Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: United States
    3,271
    3,464
    113
    If you have no need for a DM for your class size and they want to tag along, fine. If you're using them to increase your ratio, I don't care if they're still wet behind the ears from their DM check out dive, pay them.
     
    Esprise Me and Sh0rtBus like this.
  7. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    3,577
    1,820
    113
    I agree. But when these instructors are paid $50 max per student, they don't seem to be willing to part with any crumbs. When I did the numbers, I was working for far below minimum wage. I treated that time as a barely paying apprenticeship where I had to figure things out myself (thank God for all the people on social media who helped me).

    I teach two students at a time (as I have two hands). If I have a DM help me, they are going to get paid. But I don't have a need. I just set up cameras to different pylons or a heavy tripod. Video is the only place where I'd need help
     
  8. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dubai UAE
    3,101
    2,782
    113
    Agree

    But I never have classes so big I need to increase the ratio. Not fair on students for one. 5 is my absolute max
     
  9. jadairiii

    jadairiii Solo Diver

    382
    325
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    Wow, I now feel really old, my NAUI DM cert in 1981 didnt even require insurance! Nor did I need it for my PADI AI in '82 from what I remember. I know I never had AI insurance but maybe because all of my work was at UF?
     
  10. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    12,021
    2,550
    113
    I do see your point(s), but do agree with JohnnyC's assessment--If they are there to increase your ratios (as he says) or to act as an insured DM who takes on the duties and responsibilities of a working DM (as I say), the newbie DM should get paid the same as the veteran. It works that way in the education system. As a new school Band teacher age 23 I got a teacher's salary day one. Otherwise, not taking that job. Now of course, teachers' salaries do increase over years with seniority in "increments", so the teacher with 10 years gets more than the newbie. Maybe that could work for scuba instructors & DMs too, I guess?
    I do agree that you should not (have to) be training already certified DMs. They should perform at an acceptable (at least minimum) level. They will probably usually not be as good as a veteran, but the veterans weren't that good right away either. Maybe that's why new school teachers do get paid a little less than those with even one or two years experience. You've got to have a chance to start as a pro somewhere.
    If someone is "tagging along" as you say, I say that is best done prior to finishing the DM course, sending in your papers, becoming a "professional", and paying membership/insurance.
    I did a lot of that prior to becoming a union professional musician. But not after that.
     
    TooManyHobbies and Sh0rtBus like this.

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