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Thread: Starting DM

  1. #1
    Barracuda Founding Member
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    Starting DM

    Just picked up my Divemaster Crew-pak, start the first class next Wednesday.
    'in media stat virtus'
    Virtue's in the middle

  2. #2
    Grouper bfmorgan's Avatar
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    God luck! It will definitely improve your dive skills.

  3. #3
    Barracuda Founding Member
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    Have fun and enjoy it. For the most part I had a great time doing my DM, met some great divers, made some good friends and learned alot.

  4. #4
    Have fun with it. Feel free to post here if you need help with the theory. You're on your own when it comes to the swimming/trending water work.
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  5. #5
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    Been thinking about moving into this direction maybe.....

    What is involved with achieving the DM? I understand there is book work and I think you help out with some classes, but what else?

    Never really thought about doing this until recently so never really paid much attention to what it was all about.

    Snagel

  6. #6
    Grouper
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    I'm starting mine as well, also on Wednesday.

  7. #7
    One of the upsides of going for your DM is learning the perspective of the dive shop and dive professional. You also learn more about the theory of diving but you can learn that without completing you DM; you just need to buy the books.

    The physical aspect may or may not be an upside. With OW you have to complete a certain number of laps. With DM it is timed. The longer you take the lower the score. Additionally, you don't get an option. I believe there are four different water skills. Each skill can get you 1 to 5 points. Your final score has to be a certain number and I believe the instructor can/will fail you if any one score is way too low. So you might get 5, 5, 3, 2 and all you need is 15. So you would pass. However, if you did 5, 5, 5, 1 the instructor can fail you because you barely passed the last skill.

    The skills are things like swimming 800 yards with gear on, swimming 400 yards in just a swim suit, swimming 200 yards towing someone and trending water. The trending water is more about time and skill. During the last few minutes you have to hold your hands out of the water. If you don't you lose points.

    There is also a swap gear skill. You will do your DM with a buddy. Your buddy should also be someone going for their DM. At some point the two of you get in the water and swap equipment. This can be tricky because you might be wearing a belt and I might have integrated weights. You might need 8 lbs but I need 12 lbs. Only really mean instructors will make you swap wetsuits. The challenge isn't making sure everyone is prepared to do a nice easy swap. The idea is to push you to your limits and make sure you keep your cool. The more you do to make it easy, the harder the instructor should make it. They just want to make it hard enough to challenge you but not make it impossible. It is easy to see the people who are comfortable under the water and those who are not.

    To prep for the swap skill, can you take all your gear off, swim around a bit, put your gear back on all the time staying cool? During pool time I might be floating on the surface talking to someone. Another DM will grab my fins and pull me under. Do I panic? What if I just finished talking and was about to inhale? I should still stay calm, find my regulator, purge it, take a breath and give the other DM the finger.

    This is the sort of stuff a good DM course will prepare you for. A good shop will continue to poke you. Learning the skills then never using them is bad. 99.99% of the time you will never need what you learn in class. It is that one time when you need to draw on all those skills that makes it important you are constantly practicing them.

    If you just want the skills for yourself and you won't be going on to be a DM then this is less important.

    On the downside, you start looking at things like legal responsibility. As a Rescue Diver you are not legally responsible for saving someone's life. You are also covered in many places by a "Good Samaritan" act. When you become a DM you move from recreational diver to a dive professional.

    Some people I have talked to say to being your AOW card with you on vacation. This way you cannot be sued if something goes wrong. My instructor says to bring the DM card but make it very clear you are on vacation. Don't let them pair you with the worst diver. Don't let them make you babysit the diver they don't want to. If something goes wrong, lawyers will investigate everyone looking for multiple opportunities to sue. If you bring an AOW card and the lawyer finds out you are a DM (and most likely will) that does not look good. A judge might wonder what are you trying to hide. Whether as if you say you are a DM and make it clear that you are not on the clock, it puts the onus on the dive shop to tend to their clients.

    You start getting into insurance issues and whether or not you are liable for your buddy when you go on a dive. Essentially, as someone who dives all over the world, even before I was a DM, I now have to look into the legality of diving in say the south of France, Austrialia or even the Caribbean.

    If you get good training, you will also learn to see things building up to an accident and prevent it before it becomes serious. I now have the confidence to tell a fellow diver they shouldn't be certified. When I was just AOW or even Rescue Diver, if I saw a guy who really shouldn't be diving I'd be unsure of myself. I'd wonder if I'm overstepping my bounds by saying the guy really isn't certified to be diving in Ontario (I did see a lot of guys class/pool certified in Ontario but do the checkout in Caribbean who really shouldn't be diving in Ontario). Now, as a DM, I am responsible for giving refresher courses to certified divers. I know when I'm stepping over the line. Having the knowledge I do now gives me the confidence to speak up and tell someone they really need to take their OW in Ontario if they want to dive in Ontario. As good as I am I feel save telling a bad diver they really need to do the refresher with a full instructor who has a few thousand dives under their belt.

    Personally, I think my training prepared me well and I'm happy I got my DM. I also use it to help out in the pool, get free pool time, stay current and get free air.

    P.S. your not totally on your own for the swim skills. We can give you tips on how to be a better swimmer and how to trend water.
    Last edited by scubadiver888; 09-28-2012 at 09:06. Reason: added postscript
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  8. #8
    Barracuda Founding Member
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    Thanks all for the encouragement and comments.. I have been practicing my swimming skills all summer, did 2 ocean mile swims, my problem isn't swimming, it's swimming fast....I'm built more like a tugboat than a speed boat.
    Last edited by cgvmer; 09-28-2012 at 13:02. Reason: terrible typing skils
    'in media stat virtus'
    Virtue's in the middle

  9. #9
    I found it helped to pace myself. I looked at how many laps of the pool I was required to swim. Then I figured out the time for maximum score, second score, etc. I just downloaded the manual. You should have this in your DM kit. Here are the times for the 400 yard swim:

    5 points under 6 minutes.
    4 points 6 to 8 minutes.
    3 points 8 to 10 minutes.
    2 points 10 to 12 minutes.
    1 point more than 12 minutes.

    One length of the pool was 50 yards. So I had to do 8 lengths of the pool. This gave me:

    5 points = 45 seconds per lap
    4 points = 1 minute per lap
    3 points = 1 minute 15 seconds per lap
    2 points = 1 minute 30 seconds per lap
    1 point = more than 1 minute 30 seconds per lap

    The manual today says you get a point even if it takes you 2 hours. You only get a zero if you quit. When I did it 12 to 14 minutes was 1 point. Over 14 minutes was a zero. Regardless, I shot for 4 points on this skill. If I was doing a little better than 1 lap a minute and I felt good, I'd shoot for 5 points. If I was having a hard time I knew I had to try harder or shoot for 3 points and pick up the extra points in one of the other skills.

    You should also check with the instructor. Some instructors give you multiple attempts or they do some skills one day and the rest another day. My instructor felt I should be able to do them all in one go, no rest.
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  10. #10
    Shark snagel's Avatar
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    Interesting stuff. Sounds like if I wanted to do this, I better start gettin' in a little better shape.

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