Completing My PADI Divemaster Internship on Oahu

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If you’ve done your research, you already know Hawaii Eco Diver’s Divemaster Internship program is special:

There aren’t any other divemaster internship programs on Oahu or anywhere else in Hawaii. The internship is not just a unique opportunity to achieve your certification at a fraction of the cost. It also provides priceless real-world experience and amazing friendships along the way. Given this, I was thrilled to be accepted and my time in the program remains one of the highlights of my life to date.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted gills. So naturally, when I began scuba diving, Open Water wasn’t enough. Soon I found myself debating whether or not I should pursue diving as a career. This would be a huge change from my 9-5 corporate job in San Francisco so I was seeking more than just a course book and certification; I wanted a chance to really understand what it was like working in the tourism industry for a dive operation. That’s why I’m so glad I found Hawaii Eco Divers.

Each internship is different, depending on how much training each diver needs in order to qualify.

In my case (since I already had my Advanced Open Water and Nitrox and over 60 logged dives) I’d be interning for 2 months. The average program duration is 3 months. Some people have completed their entire PADI certification track with Hawaii Eco Divers over the course 6 months!

 

In these 2 months I would be: studying the manuals, assisting divemasters with tours, assisting instructors during courses, cleaning and packing equipment, filling tanks, managing the social media accounts and working in the office from 8am-7pm on weekends. In other words, I’d be busy! And I was looking forward to it because not only would I be testing out what it was like to ‘live the dream’ – I’d be doing it in one of the most amazing places in the country!

Hawaii Eco Divers is located on the famous North Shore of Oahu, in Haleiwa.

This would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a break from my normal life and spend 2 months living in paradise. There are no other such divemaster internship programs in Hawaii.

Once I arrived my training quickly began. I met with Ricardo Taveira, the owner and my instructor, to collect my PADI Course Manuals and get my assignments. Coming from a marketing background, I was excited to use my skills toward promoting his business and my own passions.

I would be responsible for taking photos and videos of “dive life” in order to share on social media.

In addition that I would be assisting in all aspects of the dive operations business administration. This would definitely be the perfect way for me to test the waters of making this career change!

 

My divemaster training duties began immediately:

From day one I was working with the rest of the team to master skills and assist on dives. I learned how to fill the tanks using the air compressor, how to use the pressure gauge before loading the tanks into transport for clients, the most efficient way to pack and assemble gear for boat vs shore dives, and more. Learning to assemble and check your own equipment is one of the first things you do in your PADI Open Water Course but trust me, it’s a completely different thing to pack and check gear for multiple clients going to multiple dives sites per day! Having someone else’s safety and comfort in your hands is a sobering task and mastering this skillset takes a lot of practice.

We dove almost every day, with the primary dive sites being: Waikiki, West Coast and North Shore. We also got to do night dives in Sharks Cove on calm nights, which was always exciting. The dive sites were beautiful with frequent sightings of Reef Sharks, Octopuses, Eagle Rays, Sea Turtles and Eels. Depths varied from 23ft – 125ft and client expertise varied greatly. Having groups that contained both experienced and inexperienced divers at the same time was a great learning experience; each dive taught me something new. One of my favorite experiences was assisting instructors with PADI Discover Scuba Diving experiences. We would typically take these clients to Turtle Canyon, off Waikiki. I loved helping them master their skills and feel safe underwater. Surfacing and hearing them gush about how much they loved diving and wanted to continue doing so was so rewarding.

By the end of my internship, I had gone on over 50 dives with Hawaii Eco Divers

– first as an assistant and then as a DMT (Divemaster in Training) under supervision. I was so nervous the first time I led a dive! What if I packed the equipment wrong or left out important information during my briefing? What if I got distracted underwater and lost my navigation? But having Ricardo and the other divemasters there to guide me quickly put me at ease. I’m so glad I took part in the program and look forward to a lifetime of diving going forward.

 

*Written by Shawnee Canjura

 

Divemaster Course Details & Pre-Requisites:

The PADI Divemaster course is the first professional level within the PADI System of diver education. It allows you to work as an assistant on courses, supervise certified divers during tours, and conduct some programs independently. Becoming a PADI Divemaster consists of the following segments: knowledge development, practical application and the Divemaster final exam.

Prerequisites:

  • 18 years old
  • Current medical attesting to your diving fitness signed by a physician within the previous 12 months
  • Certified PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and PADI Rescue or hold qualifying certifications from another┬ádive┬átraining organization
  • Emergency First Response (EFR) Primary and Secondary Care course (or other sanctioned first aid and CPR course) within the past 24 months
  • Completed at least 60 dives with experience of deep dives, night dives and underwater navigation
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