My Toughest Lesson as a Divemaster: Preparation
Look around on the boat. People are putting gear on, talking about their last experiences, where they’ve been and what they’ve seen. In a great group you’ll see there’s one person who’s not yet fully geared. They’re behind the diver who’s getting in the water, handing them their gloves, hood or fins before they make the leap into the blue. That person is more than likely the Divemaster.
The road to “Going PRO” can be a bumpy one, with challenges and mistakes along the way. One of most struggled with is preparation, anticipating the things your students and your instructors may need. You packed the extra regulator, the BCD, and the fins. But did you grab the mask? Make sure there were clippers in the tool box? Mouthpieces? Do you have defog? Have the students tooth pasted their masks before getting in?
It’s the fine details that can really get a Divemaster candidate flustered. Anticipating your Instructor’s needs from extra clip weights to spare snorkel keepers doesn’t just come to you right off the bat. You need the experience of being in the water with the students to really fine tune your prep methods.
The best way to make sure that your spare bag has everything it needs is to create a checklist. Whether it be simply writing it down on a piece of paper, or creating a fancy spread sheet from excel. You need to know the items the students require and to ensure that you have the proper equipment. If you’re helping with an advanced course you may want to think beyond the regular equipment of BCD/regulator/weights and look at hoods, gloves, reel or lights.
As a Divemaster, you have access to the Instructor's Manual where you can review the required materials and standards for each course. The earlier you know how to prepare for a class, the easier it will be when you take the next step in becoming an Openwater Scuba Instructor (OWSI). Being able to navigate the manual, prepare for your classes and relate to your students smoothly will make the transition from “watching” to “acting” that much easier.
Over all, the most important thing is to remember why you started. Because you love diving! Your love of diving and the natural underwater world will carry over into your teaching. If you live, breathe, eat and sleep scuba, your knowledge and experience will give your students the same passionate attitude towards diving that your teachers gave to you.
Happy Diving, DMC’s!
"Just breathe, everything else is secondary!"