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Getting your PADI Divemaster certification
while volunteering abroad

How to get your PADI Divemaster certification while volunteering abroad

Adding to your scuba-diving qualifications with a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Divemaster certification isn’t something that many divers get to achieve. This scuba diving training course takes you from being a diving enthusiast to a professional diver.

But why settle for the standard Divemaster certification experience when you can gather up your goodies, pick from a range of destinations and get involved in a marine conservation internship abroad? You’ll gain your PADI Divemaster certification while working towards marine conservation efforts. And GVI’s Divemaster accreditation courses give you the chance to contribute towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 14: Life Below Water. 

Travel to Asia, Australasia, Africa or Latin-America, and take part in marine conservation internships that include scuba diving training and will assist you in finding your feet as a professional diver. Our PADI Divemaster programs are based in palm tree-fringed destinations located mere metres away from the swimming grounds of thousands of marine species. Take the opportunity to up your dive equipment know-how, learn and practise new diving techniques in the open water, build on your diving confidence and gear up to start a career supervising groups in dive training and diving activities.

Remember that earning professional scuba diving qualifications comes with many new perks, but also much more responsibility. Since professional divers have more responsibility in the ocean than recreational divers, you’ll need to comply with the following before signing up for a PADI Divemaster certification course: 

  • be 18 years or older 
  • have your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification
  • have earned your Emergency First Response Primary and Secondary Care (CPR and First Aid) training within the past 24 months
  • have a fit-to-dive medical statement signed by a physician within the last 12 months
  • have logged at least 40 dives before the course, and get to 60 dives to complete the course.

If you’ve checked all these boxes then let those sparks of excitement spread. You’re one giant step closer to becoming a professional diver with a PADI Divemaster qualification!

What’s the benefit of getting your PADI Divemaster certification?

After years of scuba diving training, your PADI Divemaster certification comes with some extra perks. PADI Divemaster certified divers can enjoy a range of new responsibilities like:

PADI Divemaster certified divers can dive to depths of 30 metres with the ability to work in the diving industry as a professional.

Get your PADI Divemaster certification on one of GVI’s marine conservation programs abroad

GVI’s award-winning internships offer you the opportunity to add to your Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) qualifications with the PADI Coral Reef Researcher Speciality certification, a qualification that’s exclusive to GVI programs. And if you volunteer on one of GVI’s marine conservation programs for two weeks or longer, the Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality course is automatically included.

This exclusive course offers GVI participants an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the skills and knowledge, planning and organisation, and procedures and techniques needed during coral reef research diving. 

First, you’ll start off with knowledge development sessions that will introduce you to coral reef research diving. You’ll also learn about the skills and techniques you’ll need to perform underwater surveys of coral reefs. Following this, you’ll get the opportunity to put theory to the test with two open water training dives. During these dives, you’ll be assessed on your ability to: 

  • suit up correctly 
  • perform a predive safety check and a buoyancy check at the ocean surface    
  • identify common coral and fish species
  • discuss the need for regular checking of depth and air pressure throughout your dive
  • identify the importance of effective buoyancy control and weighting when performing a safety stop. 

Here are a selection of programs where you can become a PADI Divemaster with GVI.

Become a PADI Divemaster on an internship in Seychelles

Forget about closed shoes and your mainland clothing for a while. Instead, suit up in scuba gear and live your dream of becoming a certified professional diver by joining a marine conservation internship in one of the world’s best dive spots. And you needn’t worry if you're not yet up to speed on your PADI certifications. This internship allows you to land your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification before moving onto your PADI Divemaster certification course. 

Once you’ve arrived on Mahe island in Seychelles, it’s easy to see why Seychelles was once the perfect pirate hideout. The Seychelles archipelago itself is tucked away in a secluded part of the Indian Ocean. Here, the ocean waters twist between 115 different islands and waves roll up to greet the nearly 500 kilometres that make up the Seychelles coastline.

As the biggest island in Seychelles, Mahe is the perfect place to get exposure to the ocean and the marine life within it while adding to your scuba diving qualifications. And, after mastering the theory of your PADI Divemaster certification course, you’ll be placed with a reputable dive centre in Seychelles. Here, you’ll contribute towards marine conservation efforts and lead recreational dive activities out in the open ocean. 

Step into the dive industry on a PADI Divemaster internship in the Indian Ocean

Still need to achieve your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification before signing up for a PADI Divemaster internship? No stress. This is another one of those internships where you can start with your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification and walk away with your PADI Divemaster certification at the end.

Take your time upping your diving knowledge and practise during your training on Mahe Island in Seychelles. You’ll revise your diving knowledge while swaying in the ocean tide, and conduct coral surveys with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean streaming over your skin-tight wetsuit.

Then, you’ll fly to Thailand and start working in the field in a dive centre placement in Phang Nga province. You’ll consolidate your new-found diving and marine conservation knowledge in a professional setting while you get involved in marine conservation research, coral reef surveys and plan and supervise dive activities that include spotting some of Thailand’s marvellous mega-fauna – like oarfish and whale sharks. 

Take on your PADI Divemaster certification on an internship in Oceania and the Thai islands

Why not fit travel to Fiji and Thailand into your PADI Divemaster certification? 

This internship sets you up with an intensive training period on the island of Caqalai in Fiji. Skirting this small island are the warm waters of the South Pacific Ocean. Sink into the first step of your scuba diving training surrounded by the 1,200 species of fish found here. You’ll also get involved in coral reef research that contributes to global marine conservation efforts.

And once you’ve gained all the skills and scuba diving training you need, travel to Phang Nga province in Thailand and put your new-found skills to good use on your dive-centre placement. You’ll get all the experience you could hope for working as a dive-shop employee on a shoreline along the Andaman Sea. 

Fill your days planning dive activities, scouting for the best dive spots and assisting with the day-to-day activities of the dive shop. You’ll share the ocean with many endangered marine species – like dugongs, devil manta rays and four different types of sea turtles – and even get involved in marine conservation efforts that could land you a qualification in Biological Survey Techniques.

Clock up dives with a PADI Divemaster internship in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea

Work towards upping your scuba diving qualifications by doing a PADI Divemaster internship on one of Fiji’s smallest islands, Caqalai Island. You’ll catch up on the theory and part of the practice you’ll need to earn your PADI Divemaster certification in the territory of hawksbill turtles, mantis shrimps, banded sea snakes, different types of sharks and a whole host of coral species. 

And once you’ve been dazzled by the scenes below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, travel to Mexico’s Caribbean coast where you can follow the sounds of the sea to your place of work each day. 

Make an impact on a PADI Divemaster internship in Mexico

Add to your scuba diving qualifications while on a PADI Divemaster internship in Mexico. Find out how to identify different fish species and conduct surveys on the world’s second-largest coral reef system – the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System – while scuba diving in one of the most sought-after dive sites in the world.

Once your training is complete, you’ll be placed with a popular dive centre along the coastline of Puerto Morelos. Find out what it’s like to work in the diving industry while catching glimpses of the great barracudas, yellow stingrays and bottlenose dolphins that call Puerto Morelos’s coastal waters home. 

Work as a professional diver on a PADI Divemaster internship in Fiji

Make Fiji’s Caqalai island the birthplace of your professional diving career. Start off with a marine conservation expedition that tackles the diving concepts you’ll need to know to earn your PADI Divemaster certification. Take a dip below the water and spot the sea snakes that slither in the crevices between coral outcrops, 

Then move over to your work placement at a Fijian dive centre where you’ll work as part of a team and assist with the daily tasks of a dive shop. Prep dive boats and dive gear, plan and lead recreational dives, monitor marine environments and even spend time getting to know more about the culture of Fiji from the local staff and community members you’ll interact with every day.

Who does GVI partner with for PADI Divemaster internships abroad?

Since our PADI Divemaster internships look to make a long-term, positive impact in marine conservation, we work with the most reputable local and international partners towards realising the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). These are some of our partners involved in PADI Divemaster internships abroad:

  • The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). GVI is an authorised PADI educational facility, meaning that all of our PADI courses comply with PADI standards, rules and regulations. PADI is the largest recreational diving membership in the world and PADI instructors have been teaching and supervising dives for over 50 years. 
  • XTC Dive Center offers a 5-star-rated PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) along the Riviera Maya in Xcalak, Mexico. In partnership with XTC Dive Center, GVI offers instructor training opportunities that are top class and located in one of the world’s best dive sites.
  • Divers Alert Network (DAN) is an international organisation committed to promoting the safety of dive activities. They’re the leaders in providing expert medical information that benefits the diving public, assisting in the event of an underwater emergency and working to prevent injuries and promote diving safety. By partnering with DAN, GVI ensures that all of our PADI Divemaster internships prioritise diving safety in the best way possible.

These are just a few of our international and local partners that you could get to collaborate with on a PADI Divemaster internship abroad. Check out our partners page to find out more about GVI’s partners.

How does GVI ensure participant health and safety on a PADI Divemaster internship?

All-round support on every PADI Divemaster internship abroad

GVI provides support before, during and after your PADI Divemaster internship. This means that your health and safety is factored in from the very beginning. So, if you're not sure what to consider when selecting your PADI Divemaster internship, or you're wondering how our programs cater for dietary preferences for those with food allergies, make use of our support channels as soon as possible.

Dedicated and trained staff on base 

You can be sure that our staff members are fully prepared to deal with your health and safety concerns. Why? Because all of GVI’s in-country staff are our own. This means that they’ve been through our rigorous background checks, completed child-protection training, are Emergency First Response (EFR) certified and have undergone detailed safety training. These dedicated staff members oversee every aspect of our PADI Divemaster internships abroad and follow a strict staff-to-participant ratio of one to six to ensure that they can manage all activities safely and competently.

Risk mitigation on PADI Divemaster internship

GVI shows its commitment to in-country health and safety by: taking all of the necessary steps to comply with international safety standards, doing regular risk audits and working with in-country local partners to keep a constant eye on the situation on the ground. 

We also have regularly updated Emergency Action Plans (EAPs), crisis management plans and evacuation plans in every location. 

Our clear communication channels – which includes our 24-hour emergency desk – gives participants round-the-clock access to our trained health and safety coordinators and senior management. 

Personal health and safety of PADI Divemaster internship participants 

GVI covers all the bases when it comes to your health and safety, and you can swim into your career in diving with only the water on your mind. We prioritise your personal safety while you’re at your work placement or on base by:

  • documenting all relevant medical and dietary requirements before you take part in your PADI Divemaster internship abroad
  • ensuring that all participants and staff have received health and safety training
  • providing medical support through vetted local medical professionals
  • providing secure storage facilities for your personal belongings on base
  • providing participants with the option of signing up for GVI-specific international health insurance.

You can dive to depths of 30 metres with a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, PADI Master Scuba Diver and PADI Divemaster certification. This is important to keep in mind when arranging or updating your diving insurance. Insurance providers may not cover you for accidents that happen at depths greater than 30 metres unless you have completed your PADI Deep Diver Speciality course. 

Our support staff can fill you in on diving-specific factors to keep in mind when planning for your PADI Divemaster internship abroad and to assist you with your preparation.

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