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the truth about DM's

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by tenacious, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. robertarak

    robertarak NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Los Angeles
    I pay my DMs, and they earn it. I will admit however that there is no way they could make a living from what they make DMing for me...even though there are day my DMs make more then I do.
    asha, Chugwhump and Jim Lapenta like this.
  2. flots am

    flots am Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wherever you go in life, that's where you are.
    I survive quite nicely because I own a small (non-SCUBA) business and teach SCUBA because I enjoy it. If I tried to live off what SCUBA pays, I'd be living on a couch at a friend's house.

    Nobody makes a decent living at SCUBA unless you own one of the small percentage of shops that are profitable, or are an instructor that teaches an absolute ton of students. DMs typically make nothing except tips and maybe some free diving and food, and Open Water instructors usually make less per hour on average (if you count SCUBA expenses and non-class time) than the guy that says "Welcome to Walmart".

    Tech, Cave and Rebreather instructors typically do better, but even then, nobody is getting rich.
  3. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    I'm certainly no expert, but it was mentioned that insructors often act as DMs (on charters) and do other shop/boat related jobs and can scratch out a living. I think it is also pretty common that in most any N.A. location north of at least South Florida there just aren't enough students for anyone to instruct full time. Here we have OW courses every weekend April through early Dec. plus night OW courses and the usual continuing courses. Yet I don't believe any of our 16-20 instructors do it full time--maybe one or two that also work retail. I believe that in the tropics classes occur even (much) more often, so there is at least the chance to make a living. At least this is what I hear.
  4. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
    I worked as a DM for a couple of years. Lots of OW classes, all unpaid. I worked on our shop's charters as well. Because I was working for the shop and not part of the boat crew I did not share in the tips. Two years...lots of hours...lots of schlepping gear, filling tanks...insurance...PADI renewal fees...zero pay...

    Max Bottomtime
    former Divemaster.
  5. supergaijin

    supergaijin Dive Shop

    IME in foreign tropical vacation destinations, foreigners like us are not really sought after as DM's unless you perhaps speak a bazillion languages and/or look great in a bikini.

    To work internationally, you generally need to be an instructor.
  6. Bubble Junky

    Bubble Junky Course Director

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: In paradise...
    Agree to a certain extent... But things do work differently from country to country - Philippines/Indo tend to us locals as DMs, in other countries it is possible to work as a DM, but it is always easier as an instructor. The language thing is often exaggerated. IME, having either foreign language skills, or having English as a mother-tongue are equally important/useful. And being a good DM is much more important than looking good in a bikini. :-D
  7. Goodtime Adventures

    Goodtime Adventures Barracuda

    # of Dives:
    Location: Koh Tao, Thailand
    Employment conditions, pay and opportunities vary massively around the world.
    I make a living from diving but it's helpful that the cost of living here is low compared to other parts of the world. However I also live on a tropical island all year round, my office is on a beach, I get to dive regularly and IMO the lifestyle here is fantastic. I came from a well paid job and successful career in my native country but made the decision to change my life for the better. To get here for sure I have made sacrifices - earning a fraction of the salary I was used to was one of them - but I had chosen to invest in a new career and was prepared to work very hard. It was a good decision.

    Making a living by working as a DM is absolutely possible. Be under no illusion that you will have to be tenacious to secure a role and work hard for long hours in the job. BUT you're getting paid to do what you love, so then it's down to what you are prepared to accept or not.
    Briney likes this.
  8. RJP

    RJP Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New Jersey
    I can't believe that DMs get $300 for DM'ing an OW class. That's more than the vast majority of instructors I know get. When you say it comes out to min wage... that's 36hrs in US min-wage dollars. What does a DM in Canada do for an OW course that takes 36hrs?
  9. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Weekend course: approx., it varies per instructor & available pool times:

    arr. shop Sat. 9 A.M. set up gear bags, fit students, load tanks, etc. the usual stuff I presume.
    pool about noon-4 P.M., unload back at shop 'til 5 PM maybe 8 hours.
    Sun. a bit less perhaps because students have pool gear ready-- 7 hours.

    Ocean check out weekend: Both days arr. shop 7:30 AM, arr. Back & done after unloading truck, maybe 4:30 P.M.-- includes 3/4 hour drives to & from sites. each day 7 hours

    total hours= 29 (of course this can vary for several reasons including number of students).
    I will assume the rest of the 36 hrs. is for Instructor/student time (review, possible classroom, possibly including e learning, none of which requires the DM).

    29 hrs. into $300= $10.34 an hour. Canada minimum wage varies but ranges fro $10-$12/hour.

    I'm not sure, but I believe Instructors' pay is about $75 per student, so a class of 10= $750.

    I have no idea about the rest of Canada, as we are the only major shop for hundreds of miles--perhaps other Canucks can chime in?
  10. Instructor_Tom

    Instructor_Tom DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: UpState SC
    As a working DM in FL, DM's don't make money. Its what you do if you love to dive. DM get to use shop reasources for free, they get comps when leading or assisting with shop organized dives and they get discounts on training.

    Its rare that a students will tip out a DM after dumping $300-400 on a class, it's rare that a diver will rent out a DM as a local guide or to help them refine their skills and when it does happen it works out to about $10hr after the shop takes its cut and expenses get paid (dive fees and gas).

    So no DMs don't make a living. Its a stepping stone towards being an instructor.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk

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