Wondering how to ￼to make scuba diving a career and curious if working in the dive industry is for you? In this article, we will give you valuable insights about why a career in scuba diving probably will not be your dream job.
There are so many jobs within or related to the scuba industry that there is almost a scuba diving career possible for or everyone. Think about it. Yes, the most obvious ones are the Divemasters or Instructors that we have all or will come across as we do our training.
Then there are a huge variety of other jobs available within the scuba industry, from the boat drivers, the technicians that repair the boats/engines the compressors, those that fill or blend the tanks with the variety of gas mixtures we can learn to breath, those that repair the equipment we rely on so heavily on underwater.
How to choose the right SCUBA job?
The list goes on: The guys that sell equipment, design it or take pictures of the few people on this planet that actually look sexy wearing it! If logistics is your thing, ensuring a busy dive shop runs smoothly would be right up your street. The list is long and distinguished, and the scuba diving related jobs above are by no means everything.
But for most of us that would look at this, what draws us is the dream job, the one that takes us places, pays us adequately for doing something we love and as it’s a career, keeps us gainfully employed for more than a month or a year.
Do what you love to do and do it often
A key point in my post-school years came when I realized that I would be doing what I chose to do, for a job, for 5 out of 7 days of my life. This was a bit of an epiphany because it made me realize that I needed to find something I enjoyed doing enough to be able to pull that off.
I had been through school until I was 18 then 3 years of University before I tried SCUBA, and whilst diving off the South West coast of England can be great, it wasn’t enough to get me enthused.
I went to Rescue level and stayed there. The divemaster course did I admit seem enticing, but it just wasn’t enough. That all changed when I dived in the Caribbean, and I saw how good warm water was.
I saved my money and bought gear, booked a Divematwer course in Koh Tao and went off to see what I could make of it. People did scoff when I told them my plans but most praised me for having the balls to follow my dreams.
I didn’t know what I would do exactly, but I thought that there had to be something that would thrill me using SCUBA as a base for a large portion of my working life. I wasn’t wrong!
I left Koh Tao as so many do after completing my Divemaster course and after I became a scuba instructor with about 18 months of working for a shop there, but what I found along the way has actually been how my scuba diving career has branched away from the typical path of DM/Instructor.
I found that I wanted to film underwater. More than anything. I’d never even held a video camera before, but that didn’t matter. I wanted to capture the fluidity of the movement (excuse the pun but it’s true), so I went for it and managed to make it work because that is what I really wanted to do.
Also read: How to become a better U/W videographer
As a testament to that I am still doing it 15 years later where I have my own Media Production company in Palau specializing in Underwater footage and photography.
I never dreamed I would be here when I saw my first Ikelite housing, drooling over how the camera was connected to the diver through spring loaded levers and buttons, but here I am.
In those years since I have worked with many people in this industry and the ones that prevail are the ones predominantly who possess key characteristics:
- A great love for the outdoors, nature and all the incredible organisms we get to share this planet with seems the most prevalent.
- A love of passing on knowledge, sharing experiences and huge enthusiasm is often next and lastly very often, those that are fit and healthy!
Here is your reality check about a SCUBA Diving career
I’ll be blunt and honest, being a DM might look cool and glamorous and a dream job in the brochures and dive mags but let me tell you it’s also bloody hard work. ￼A DM is measured in many ways, how much he or she can carry is one of them because like it or not you will be doing a lot of grunt work.
I think the most I ever carried was when I was working in the Mediterranean one summer: 3 weight belts each with 8kg round my waist and chest, one 12ltr steel tank and BCD on my back, the same on my front, another 12ltr in each hand.
Carried over 500m down steps from our Dive cave to the resort pool and back. It had to be done, and we did it with good banter and lots of sweat. What I’m saying is that if you don’t do manual labor maybe it’s not for you.
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Diving five times every day may seem like the ultimate job, and it is when you start but it will get very tiring very quickly. Your body needs to be able to cope with it. The initial physical tests and questionnaire when you do your first course that ask for instance:
- whether you ever had back surgery or heart problems?
- Mental health problems?
If you answer yes to any of these, then I’m sorry but it pretty much rules out a SCUBA diving career for you. If you are fit and active and don’t have any medical conditions that will stop you from diving congratulations!!
Being a DM or Instructor, Dive shop manager or Boat captain is also a great chance to meet people, all sorts of people, and we have to be friendly to all of them, regardless of whether or not they know everything or whether they know nothing.
The great public will test you, I guarantee it
It’s a real eye-opener. So a career in the dive industry demands that you are a social type that is courteous and patient. I’ve seen DM trainees go from great students to walking out the door because they couldn’t handle people, especially people that were on both a physical and mental vacation.
The public will be rude to you too, they will try and treat you like shit because they think they as the customers are always right, and you need your job. Do not underestimate them, but do always remain professional and do not give them the opportunity to complain.
If you don’t like people, don’t do customer service that well or have a desire to bash heads together bubbling just below the surface, then maybe a DM, OWSI dive shop, Captain job is not for you.
If however you do enjoy wild places, using technology to keep you alive in an alien environment and then sharing your experiences with others in a fluid social setting then I can’t recommend a career in SCUBA highly enough.
Even if you don’t go all the way through to the top of your chosen training agency’s career ladder you will find along the way an incredible variety of options within the industry.
After all, how long have humans been walking around the Earth for? How long have humans been diving in our ocean planet?
The potential for expansion is huge, SCUBA is a very young technology. Recreational SCUBA is only just over 50 years old and much less in it’s structured teaching format we enjoy now.
A whole incredible Ocean planet awaits us as a species and there are so many ways that you can get involved in reaching new frontiers. I can’t advocate enough that if you are interested you go and find a dive club or shop you like and start to learn.
If you find it’s for you, you won’t ever stop learning. Where in the great chain you fit is up to you and your desires and abilities and there are plenty of spaces available.
What are your thoughts about chasing a SCUBA Diving career? Let us know in the comments below