I am glad to see that I am in the good company of Bret Gilliam in wishing to respond to the anonymous JD (are you scared to say who you are, JD?) with a few home truths about divemasters, gleaned from my nearly 50 years of scuba diving.
I have experienced all of the following behaviours from professional DMs, some many times:
- DMs with limited experience, but who think they know it all and treat you like a simpleton
- DMs who lack flexibility of approach to their job- the ‘do-it-my-way or not at all’ type
- DMs who apply silly limitations to one’s dive time and depth so one returns to the surface with over half a tank left; some really stupid behaviours in this category
- DMs who think they are Ian Thorpe & swim like hell, expecting everyone to keep up, thus depriving clients of the opportunity of having a real look around
- DMs who allocate divers to buddy pairs for their dive, but then insists that everyone start to ascend when the first diver has used their air to 100 bar
- DMs with no ability to cope with a group with mixed diving skills/experience
- DMs who do not know the environment they are guiding in
- DMs who just float around looking bored and making no attempt to look for critters for their clients
- DMs who use horns, beeps or tap their tank constantly throughout the dive as though they were in the middle of the Paris rush hour traffic
- DMs who are demonstrably anxious
- DMs who run out of air before their clients do
- DMs who give you a harangue at the dive briefing about care of the coral, then proceed to knock the hell out of it themselves because they have no idea where their fins are or who hold on to live coral when showing clients something interesting
- DMs who are impatient with clients
- DMs who give lousy dive briefings; this includes those who give so much information that nothing is left to chance, surprise and excitement on the dive.
- DMs who allocate a really experienced diver to buddy with an anxious newcomer so they don’t have to look after them themselves (but that can be a pleasure too, when you can provide the novice with a dive that leaves them wide-eyed & bushy-tailed at the end, bursting to get under again!)
- DMs who take a spear gun on a night dive!!!
Undercurrent likes names, so here from my long experience are my votes:
Favourite DM ever: Pauline Feine in Hawaii, escorting dives to Molokini Crater. Pauline was awesome!
Favourite dive charter company: Dive! Tutukaka in Northland, New Zealand. Dive!Tuts has the ability to take 20-30 divers, with experience ranging from first open water dive since their basic course to teckies with rebreathers and underwater scooters, out to The Poor Knights Islands & everyone come home happy after a great day’s diving. Good skippers, competent DMs, flexibility of approach and a determination to ensure clients have a good time, all of which stem from outstanding leadership at the top, make this company the gold standard by which I judge all others.
Editor, Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine
The combined journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society and the European Underwater and Baromedical Society
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Address for correspondence:
C/- Hyperbaric Medicine Unit, Christchurch Hospital
Private Bag 4710, Christchurch 8011
Phone: (New Zealand) +64-(0)3-329-6857 or (mobile) +64-(0)27-433-2218