Koh Tao in Thailand is the world’s number one place to ‘Get Your PADI’ or put another way, to be certified as a PADI scuba diver.
This 7kms long small tropical island paradise leads the way in scuba diving safety, standards and certification and for good reason. It is a scuba divers playground.
The island itself is surrounded by over 26 dive sites that vary from shallow, deep and wreck dives with a huge diversity of marine life enabling divers to experience a wide range of diving courses and activities.
Whilst the PADI Open Water course is the world’s number one entry-level diver course, the PADI Divemaster course is the world’s most popular entry-level professional level scuba diving course.
A PADI Divemaster is the first level of pro training that most recreational scuba divers aspire to achieve and to reach this level there is a well-trodden path that you must follow.
Entry-level courses start with the PADI Open Water course, followed by the Advanced Open Water and Rescue course, but to apply and enrol on the Divemaster course, divers need to hold a recognised first aid certificate or take additional training in the EFR course.
After you meet all the pre-requisites, which include age and dive experience, you can enrol on the PADI Divemaster course or on an extended ‘Scuba Diving Internship’ and expect to complete your course in around 4-8 weeks. Dive centres do offer flexible scheduling to work around your own itinerary.
Throughout your Divemaster course you learn to perfect your knowledge and mastery in a range of skills, including knowledge development, final exams and practical water based skills and workshops.
You are evaluated and scored based on performance and mentored by experienced PADI Instructors and Master Instructors throughout your program. The course is performance based and the candidate develops and fine-tunes their skills during their personalised program.
So after all of the course pre-requisites are met through the entry-level PADI course system and all the performance based skill development has been accomplished during the Divemaster course, there is one last challenge the candidate must face.
The snorkel test! It is considered to be a Divemasters right of passage to professional level training. Each dive centre will have their own variation of the final test but in order to join this elite level of professional scuba divers a candidate will need to participate in the final challenge.
The snorkel test consists of an organised event with one or more Divemaster candidates that have accomplished every task put before them throughout their internship or course. Some events are themed with music, drama, introductions and congratulatory announcements.
To the sound of music and cheering the drink mix is prepared and fed through a snorkel into the candidates mouth who is then expected to clear the ‘concoction’ in one go. After which, the candidate will perform a pre-arranged task (like running into the sea and back).
Once done, its cheers all around and the final announcements are made. Welcome to the world of professional level scuba diving as a new inaugurated PADI Divemaster.