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Posts Tagged ‘Training’

Mapping Project

As far as Divemaster Qualification goes, the Bible is the Instructor manual. For the ‘Mapping Project’, the Bible is a bit vague. Certainly it tells you what to do but does not give any indication of scores or standard. The Divemaster Candidate Information and Evaluation Form isn’t much more help. To pass the standard is ‘verified adequate’. The result is wide variation on what is judged as ‘adequate’. I have seen every interpretation, from simple line drawings to charts that would put the UK’s Hydrographic Office to shame. Read the rest of this entry »

Barfield Rescue

PADI Rescue Diver

Image: Just Add Water

It had been over ten years since I’d set foot in Barfield (a thriving private junior school near Farnham). I’d been an acquaintance of the previous Headmaster who left some years earlier due to some ‘financial irregularities’. The School had prospered since I had last seen it: new buildings, an Arts centre and what looked like an assault course on the playing fields. Read the rest of this entry »

Advanced Open Water

Preparing for our annual family trip to the South of France started early. Getting Ryan and Scott qualified as PADI Advanced Open Water divers was vital for us to get the most of our time at Collioure, a sleepy French fishing village on the Cote Vermeille.

So last weekend the boys donned their wetsuits in anger only to find that growth spurts matter: Scott got Ryan’s old suit and I’m left dipping in my pocket for a suit that is likely to last just one season. Read the rest of this entry »


Before Divemaster training commenced Mark Murphy, Course Director, sent over details of the physical stamina tests we needed to pass. I took little notice at first – I am relatively fit and quite a strong swimmer.

PADI practical tests are scored 1 to 5, with 5 being a good pass and 1 being generally unacceptable. Read the rest of this entry »


There are 9 PADI Divemaster Theory exams

As my course started before July 1st, I am able to complete the ‘old style’ divemaster syllabus. This means that there are a total of nine theory exams to get through: Divemaster Conducted Programs, Supervising Certified Divers, Assisting with Student Training, Physics, Physiology, Equipment, Skills and Environment & Decompression Theory and the Recreational Dive Planner. Now anyone who has done PADI exams as part of their course (Open Water, Rescue Diver etc.) knows that the exams have a standard ‘PADI’ format and if you read the instruction manuals properly, you should have no problems. Read the rest of this entry »

Oyster Diving

OK. I’ve chosen which organisation to ‘do’ the DM course with. And it was a close run thing. In the end proximity, professionalism and friendliness were the determining factors. Read the rest of this entry »

Choosing a dive training organisation

You will never know until you have signed up.

Yup, of course the really bad ones will be obvious. But frankly most competent dive operations are better than good: they are excellent. They have to be. Running a diving operation in the UK is an adventure in operational and financial management. Anyone who can make a success of training divers in cold soup (most UK dive environments outside of late July – September) is a star. There are very good reasons to learn (and dive ) in the UK. We have a wealth of wrecks, fantastic scenery and good facilities. But the James Egan Lane (Plymouth) on a weekend will never match the experience of the Thistlegorm (Red Sea). Read the rest of this entry »


For most recreational diving you do not need a medical: after all, if you are fit enough to swim, then you should be fit enough to dive. For most divers, ‘self regulation’ should be good enough and PADI recognises this, allowing self-certification and a medical questionnaire, signed by the diver. What this means is that YOU are responsible for your health and YOU have to take responsibility. Read the rest of this entry »

What to look for in a training organisation

Choosing a training organisation is very personal. Your eventual choice will be coloured by what you want to achieve from diving. Someone looking for deep diving in the UK has different needs to someone who focuses on exploring tropical reefs at moderate depth. Personality comes into it: do you like the instructors/club/school? Do you trust them? You may prefer the company of a charismatic trainer but will they do as good a job as the less extrovert, methodical and professional OWI? In the end it is your call. I am just about to select an organisation for my PADI Divemaster training and these are the things I am looking out for:

Read the rest of this entry »


Now, I’m not into inland sites: the sea is far more interesting, has tides, life and real wrecks. But it has to be said: inland sites fulfil a real need. They are good for very basic training. And Vobster is really well organised, had good variety, lots of interesting stuff and, importantly, good depth.

Read the rest of this entry »

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