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How Training Divemasters Benefits Your Business and Your Instruction

For many dive professionals and dive businesses, the primary training focus is often on teaching new divers, which is vital to business and industry success. After all, without a constant flow of new divers, there are no continuing education courses, and you will eventually run out of student divers and business. And keeping new Open Water Divers active and completing further training makes business sense, as it’s much less expensive to retain a customer than to find a new one.

One of the best ways to keep divers active while also growing your training profit center is to make divemaster certification a focus from the start. Setting a goal to become a PADI Divemaster (or PADI Instructor!) helps you sell through continuing education all the way to the top. Training professional levels also improves every element of your business and your instruction. 

Benefits of Training Divemasters 

Better Profits

“If I do a job in 30 minutes, it’s because I spent 10 years learning how to do that in 30 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes,” producer Davy Greenberg once tweeted. It’s a sound bite, but it speaks to a fundamental truth of professional-level training. You have spent years becoming an instructor. And when you train divemasters, you give them the benefit of those years of experience.

This means you can price your divemaster course beyond the raw cost of time and materials to include a premium for the years spent mastering this sport. Divemaster candidates are not brand-new Open Water Divers – communicate the value you offer and they will be more inclined to pay for your years accumulating the experience as well as the minutes of the course. 

Build Your Team

It’s tough to find good help these days. Dive professionals have never been in greater demand than they are right now. You may have even felt the strain of not having enough training staff yourself. Whether in the water or in the shop, training divemasters helps solves this problem.

When you train divemasters, you have the opportunity to build a new staff member from the ground up. Think of your divemaster course as an extended interview – you get to select the best candidates for your store staff and teaching team.


Beyond the tangible benefits are the intangible boons provided by training future pros. The divemaster course is not without challenges. But these are different challenges than you encounter in any other class, which makes them refreshing instead of routine. Plus, you have the added satisfaction of leaving your mark on the industry’s future.

The divemaster course also lends itself well to team teaching. Team teaching offers many benefits to both candidates and instructors. As an instructor, it allows you to spread out the workload and gain more experience teaching professionals without the stress of running the whole show. And candidates benefit from seeing different teaching approaches. Together, all these benefits help prevent instructor burnout.

Convert Divers into Divemasters

It’s all well and good to say you want to make divemaster training a focus of your training and business. But how do you go about doing that?

When and Where to Look

The process starts by identifying suitable candidates. Promising candidates are found at all levels of diver training. So, start talking about professional training at Open Water Diver orientations. Many students start thinking about their ultimate diving goals on day one of the course. Once aware that becoming a pro while training with you at your facility is an option, some may jump at the chance to pursue a new goal that they hadn’t initially thought about. 

Of course, don’t forget divers who have already completed some continuing education training. Advanced Open Water Divers and Rescue Divers understand the value of continued training. They are closer to meeting the PADI Divemaster course prerequisites, which may make it easier to entice them to enroll.  

Make sure you also practice multi-level teaching, combining classes from different courses at the same dive site. In between dives, students from varying classes can mingle with one another. Students taking lower-level courses will be intrigued by what’s happening in the advanced courses, while those taking advanced training want to share their excitement for what they’re learning. Be ready to spot those students who seem particularly interested in what’s going on and invite them to learn more. Have course information available to hand out, such as flyers or signage with QR codes linking to the course sign-up pages on your website.

Who Makes a Strong Candidate

Certification level and technical knowledge are unimportant when choosing whom to invite into your divemaster courses. Gaps in knowledge and skill can be filled with training. What can’t be taught is attitude. And that is what you should look for in potential candidates.

Look for divers who exhibit the right attitude regardless of their level of training. Below are a few of the behaviors that may indicate a diver has the makings of a dive professional:

• The diver prioritizes safety on every dive.

• The diver is helpful at the dive site.

• The diver is an excellent buddy before, during, and after the dive.

• The diver is conscious of their environmental impact.

• The diver is curious and eager to learn more.

• The diver gets along easily with others.

• The diver is passionate about diving.

• The diver has a positive outlook and does not put others down.

There are loads of other behaviors that may indicate a diver has the makings of a dive professional. So, trust your gut. Remember, you can train for skill but should hire for attitude.

How to Pitch Divemaster Training

Once you’ve identified whom you want to invite to your divemaster course, there is always the question of how to make the approach. Many instructors and store staff need help with this because, if done poorly, it feels like a slimy sales pitch. But there is a better way that benefits the diver and leaves you feeling positive.

The trick is to focus on value, not inclusions. A common mistake is pitching the divemaster course by listing what a diver gets when purchasing it with a focus on the course inclusions, not the value. That’s good information for the diver, but it doesn’t make any difference if the diver doesn’t see the value of your divemaster course versus that of another instructor.

Simply put, the value summarizes the intangible benefits the student will receive. Inclusions are just a list of actions and items without insight as to why they are important.  

For example, Practical Assessment 1 requires a divemaster candidate to assist an instructor with Open Water Diver students in confined water. Listing this as an inclusion, you might say, “You will help an instructor with classes in the pool to gain experience.”  

But when presented as a value, you could say, “You’ll have multiple opportunities to work with real student divers throughout the course. This will give you hands-on experience and make finding work as a divemaster easier after certification. Your instructor has certified hundreds of divers, and you will also benefit from her years of experience.” Sounds a lot more enticing as a value, doesn’t it?

The key is to focus on how this training will benefit your future divemaster in the long run instead of just reviewing the course requirements.

Bundle for Future Success

Earning a divemaster certification card is rarely the end goal for any candidate. Typically, they want to do something as a divemaster – help you or another dive store with classes on the weekends, seek more full-time employment at a store or resort, or travel somewhere and use divemastering to fund their stays at different locations. Take the time to find out what the goals of your prospective divemaster candidates are, and then help them map a path to that goal. This will also help you build a package of courses to best help them succeed. These packages can include certain specialties that will help better prepare them for their new role as divemasters, such as Dry Suit Diver, Underwater Navigator, Enriched Air Diver, or photo-related courses. Discover Scuba Diving® (DSD) Leader is another excellent option and can help new divemasters earn additional income by independently conducting DSDs in a pool. These are obvious additions, so think beyond them, too. If you are a Course Director or Emergency First Response® (EFR®) Instructor Trainer (or work with one), incorporate instructor-level courses in your packaging. For example, EFR Instructor, Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor, and Equipment Specialist Instructor ratings will help new divemasters see a return on investment sooner. Offering course bundles tailored to divemaster candidates’ goals also has the added benefit of opening their minds to the idea of becoming an assistant instructor and instructor.  

Take Action

For some instructors, the divemaster course is the most daunting course to teach. And, true, it has a lot of moving parts. But the benefits to you, your divers, and your business make it one of the most important courses to offer. The bottom line– it’s worth taking the plunge. So, start inviting divers to your PADI Divemaster course today. If you have questions, contact your PADI Regional Training Consultant. And be sure to check out the robust offering of pro-acquisition resources at the Pros’ Site Marketing Hub to get started.


PADI would like to extend their sincere gratitude to Sairee Cottage Diving and Crystal Divers Bali, who contributed their decades of experience to this article.

The post How Training Divemasters Benefits Your Business and Your Instruction appeared first on PADI Pros.

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