What’s the Difference Between PADI Master Scuba Diver and Divemaster?

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Master Scuba Diver, Divemaster, Master Scuba Diver, Divemaster… sometimes it all sounds the same, doesn’t it? You may ask, what’s the difference? While these two diving qualifications seem comprised of the same words, they are quite different.

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a PADI Master Scuba Diver (MSD) and a PADI Divemaster (DM), let us explain.

Think about the relationship between a great home cook and an apprentice chef. Both know a lot about cooking and both can make a delicious meal, but one prepares meals as a hobby, and the other is a chef in the making.

PADI Master Scuba Diver: a Recognition Rating

If someone is a Master Scuba Diver, that means he or she has significant experience and scuba training.

Fewer than 2% of divers ever achieve this rating, which makes them an elite group.

  • At least 12 years old (12-14 year old earn Junior MSD)
  • PADI (Junior) Advanced Open Water Diver certified
  • PADI (Junior) Rescue Diver certified
  • Earned five PADI Specialty Diver Certifications
  • Have logged a minimum of 50 dives
  • Complete application

PADI Divemaster: a Professional Dive Leader

Divemasters help instructors teach scuba courses and can have leadership responsibilities that result in payment. Getting paid for scuba diving means you’re a dive professional.

Prerequisites to take the course:

  • At least 18 years old
  • PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certified
  • PADI Rescue Diver certified
  • EFR Primary and Secondary Care completed within past two years
  • Medical Statement ‘fit to dive’
  • 40 logged dives before starting the course
  • 60 logged dives when finishing the course

What you can do once you are an authorised PADI Divemaster:

  • Supervise training and non-training related diving activities
  • Conduct dive briefings, scuba reviews, and skin diver course
  • Assist in Discover Scuba Diving programs and lead additional dives
  • Lead Discover Local Diving programs

What you have to do to get this rating:

  • Complete eight Knowledge Development sections
  • Pass the Divemaster Final Exam
  • Pass water skills exercises, workshops, and practical assessments

Now you know the difference between these similar sounding names. As you can see, both qualifications indicate highly experienced and knowledgeable scuba divers.

PADI Master Scuba Diver is as far as you can go as a recreational diver, and PADI Divemaster is the first rung of the professional diver ladder.

The PADI Course Flowchart

PADI Course Flowchart