Junior Dive Master

Divecrew are one of the first dive centres in the world to offer the Junior Dive Master Programme. This programme is aimed at the 15 to 17 year old diver. Divecrew have for years specialised in young divers as they are the future. As the UK’s only Gold Star IDC Centre, Divecrew piloted an open water course for young Autistic students. Despite many nay-sayers, Divecrew were successful in certifying the students having completed their open water, right here in the UK. Divecrew also teaches some of the top schools in the world and are a PADI approved Youth Training Centre. With the Autistic pilot group, it was the teachers, parents and school health and safety, saying these student cannot do this they will fail. They did achieve and it changed their social interaction and confidence incredibly!

Divecrew’s Master Instructor Martin said, ‘I have come across some really great young divers. One nicknamed Trigger, is just 14 years old, have close to 100 dives including liveaboards, is a Master Scuba Diver but then could not progress his diving to Dive Master until he is 18 years old. Trigger is a Junior Black Belt Karate Instructor. Diving needs to get up with the real world and actually some young people like a challenge. Like it or not, youngsters are given greater opportunities and therefore excel at earlier ages than us oldies at whatever they are interested in. Other sports have Junior Instructors, so why not scuba? I appreciate the issues of liability and of course, it is not always going to be appropriate for a Junior Dive Master to be involved with a course. However, there is always an instructor in direct supervision. Just imagine teaching a school with a Junior Dive Master present, what an inspiration.’

Divecrew raised the issue of Trigger with PADI and were informed no one can start their PADI Dive Master until they are 18 years old for legal/insurance reasons. One agency I work with instructors suggested a young wannabe diver should snorkel from the age of 10 to 16 years old before learning to dive! Amazing attitude. So, back to Trigger, he would have 4 years with no progression, diving would lose Trigger. So Divecrew decided to create is own opportunities. Starting with “Young Guns”. This is an opportunity for young divers to dive together (pleasure diving) under the watchful eye of a Master Instructor. These dives include shore diving, boat diving, diving inland and in the sea. Next up, “Dive Leader”. Young MSD divers can move onto the Divecrew Dive Leader Course. The outputs of this course are more demanding than the PADI Dive Master Course for adults.

With the introduction of the PADI Junior Dive Master what’s Divecrew’s view? Well first off the industry needs this and it needs to give young divers the opportunity. So much of scuba diving is antiquated and living in the past. Not all young divers are mature enough for this course true, but some are, and should be encouraged not blocked. The PADI Junior Dive Master is being field tested so it may evolve. At the moment, some of the syllabus does not make sense to Divecrew. Example. Skills circuit. As a Dive Master (Adult) you have to complete a skills circuit where each skill is demonstrated and scored from 1 to 5. PADI requires an overall score of 82 points, scoring at least a 3 on each skill, with at least one underwater skill scoring a 5. Total points available over 24 skills is 125. For Divecrew, 3’s and 82 points out of a possible 125 points, just does not cut it. Divecrew demands 5’s on each skill. Once these skills are achieved, a Dive Master at the behest of an Instructor can demonstrate the skills to students for them to mimic. However, a Junior Dive Master cannot demonstrate a skill but can assist on something like air sharing. So if a Junior Dive Master has scored 5 on a skill, is under the direct supervision of an Instructor, why can they not demonstrate if all other things are suitable and or appropriate? Makes little sense. When asked it was not to put the Junior Dive Master under undue pressure. They either want to demonstrate or they don’t.

Divecrew are happy to be involved in the Junior Dive Master programme and are interested to see what the take up is.