Being able to explore the stunning natural beauty hidden beneath the waves used to be a holiday pastime reserved only for most luxurious destinations. Today, this hugely popular sport is now more accessible than ever before with diving centres across the UK on hand to help you become a scuba diving master.
Whether you’re looking to take up scuba diving as a holiday hobby or harbour ambitions to start your own diving centre, this how to guide will help you to understand more about the training and prospects available.
What Is Scuba Diving?
Scuba diving is an underwater sport which uses a self-contained breathing system, known as a scuba, to provide breathable air to divers. Unlike other forms of diving such as snorkelling and free diving, there is no reliance on a surface supply of air, allowing divers to explore greater depths for longer periods of time.
Becoming a scuba diving expert isn’t quite as simple as just learning to navigate your way around underwater. The sport comes in a wide variety of forms and will require you to prove your competence in different environments depending on the level of risk.
The most common form of scuba diving is done recreationally, usually at specialist resorts and diving centres at a depth of around 12 metres. Beginners are usually permitted to go as deep as 18 metres, however the shallower waters provide both warmer water and brighter colours.
More advanced, confident divers are able to take on different challenges. These include, but are not limited to:
Night diving | Learn to explore the mysteries of the ocean at night time, using underwater torches to navigate your way through the incredible array of life that exists. As well as providing a completely different environment in which to dive, you’ll also benefit from being able to see certain marine life in shallower waters that aren’t visible during the day.
Deep diving | Whilst you won’t be marauding the inhospitable depth of the sea bed, anything over a depth of 40m is considered a deep dive. At these depths, you’ll be able to view fish, coral and other oceanic species which don’t venture into shallower waters, as well as experiencing stronger underwater currents and the challenge of navigating your adventure with less natural light.
Wreckage exploration | As one of the sports most exhilarating and dangerous diving experiences, wreckage exploration will see you investigating sunken ships and aircraft that lie deep underwater. A number of notable wrecks lie off the British coast, including the near 6,000 ton express mail liner, The Salsette, and the German First World War battleship, The Kronprinz Wilhelm.
Cave diving | There are few natural wonders more awe inspiring than underwater caverns and caves. Crafted by the hand of nature over millennia, these hidden beauty spots are amongst the most isolated, and dangerous, locations on Earth.
What Scuba Diving Qualifications Do I Need?
The qualifications that you pursue in your quest to become a scuba diving master are completely up to you, however you’ll need to complete the entry level PADI Open Water Diver course as a minimum before you get going.
Each budding diver will need to complete an online or manual based theory course before taking to the water in order to reinforce key safety considerations and basic scuba techniques. You’ll also need to complete a brief medical questionnaire as well as demonstrating to your instructor that you have basic water competence.
Once your Open Water Diver course has been completed, you’ll be able to further your skills through recreational certifications which include the Advanced Open Water Diver course, Rescue Diver course, and Master Scuba Diver course. These will ensure that you have the skills, and authority, to dive at greater depths, for longer periods of time, and in more hazardous environments.
Specialty courses are also available for those that wish to take on additional challenges, including:
Coral reef conservation
Dry suit diving
Emergency oxygen provider
Digital underwater photography
…and much, much more
How Do I Become A Scuba Diving Instructor?
If you want to turn your love for scuba diving into more than just a hobby or holiday interest, then you’ll need to undertake a series of professional diving certifications. Once you’ve successfully attained your Rescue Diver qualification you’ll be eligible to train as a Divemaster, meaning that you’ll be able to organise and lead recreational dives around the world.
You’ll then be required to take on further experience as an Assistant Instructor before moving onto your Open Water Scuba Instructor course. This qualification provides a huge step up in responsibility (and potential earnings) since you’ll be able to train and certify the competency of beginner divers.
Your advancement will be based on your own competencies as well as your overall experience, measured by the number of dives that you’ve completed and the environments in which they have been based. It’s then up to you to climb the professional scuba diving ladder – the higher you go, the more advanced qualifications you’ll be able to issue yourself. The usual roadmap is as follows:
Open Water Scuba Instructor
Master Scuba Diver Trainer
IDC (Instructor Development Course) Staff Instructor
Career Progression And Salaries
Salaries for scuba diving masters vary depending on location and experience, but there’s plenty of people carving out careers around the world doing what they love. Take a look at the salary guide below as an example:
Divemaster – £12,000 – £15,000
Open Water Scuba Instructor – £18,000 – £25,000
IDC Staff Instructor – £25,000 – £30,000
Master Instructor – £30,000 – £40,000
Course Director – £60,000+
Becoming a scuba diving master is one of the most liberating, adventurous and beautiful sports to take part in and can provide a highly rewarding lifestyle to those who take it up as a profession. From the Great Barrier Reef to the shores of Thailand’s islands, dive schools are located in some of the most stunning places on Earth.
Whether you’re looking for a new recreational hobby or a career under the waves, take a look at the list of scuba diving courses available at Courses Dojo and start your journey today. And if you get into this sport, our sister website Checklistables has the perfect Essential Scuba Diving Equipment Checklist for you.