Many people who are interested in becoming scientific divers, expedition leaders, or otherwise make a career in underwater science or marine conservation find that a useful step on the way is to become a divemaster – often through PADI (although other recreational dive agencies are represented as well.) The philosophy is, that while PADI divemaster training has an end goal of getting candidates ready to take the role of a recreational divemaster, and handle in- and out of water supervision of inexperienced divers and non-divers alike, there are certain minimum standards to the course ensuring an understanding of dive safety, physiology, physics, logistics and in water supervision which are useful. In lieu perhaps of other relevant training to prove competency, the PADI divemaster course has become the de facto standard for diving personal in marine expeditions and academe outside of the jurisdiction of OSHA and scientific diving regulation.
To many considering divemaster training for the above reasons, the realities of a commercial dive shop can be disheartening. Greeting, selling to and catering to holiday-makers on their discover scuba diving experience can be exhausting and feel far removed from the end goal of employment in the field of conservation.
About the organisation
Marine Conservation Philippines (MCP) is a registered non-profit NGO, that offers divemaster internships and training with a different focus. Although the PADI training requirements have to be met to honour certification standards, the focus is oriented on scientific diving, technical diving and leading teams of researchers and organising and conducting work underwater in jobs ranging from conducting various survey protocols, salvage and construction of marine protected area infrastructure to removing ghost nets and documenting impact or siltation damage on coral reefs.
About the programme
During the divemaster course you’ll be introduced to a wide range of various skills you need to earn proficiency in. You’ll learn how to map a dive site, you’ll practise your rescue skills, you’ll lead divers in a controlled environment accompanied by your instructor and you’ll assist on a number of PADI diving courses. You will also need to learn how to demonstrate various scuba skills (such as clearing your mask, donating air etc.) to a professional demonstration level. That means doing it so slowly and exaggerated that by your example you can teach divers what to do.
The idea is that you’ll learn to demonstrate skills to such a good standard during your divemaster course, that you’ll be ready to enrol in a PADI instructor development course should you so choose.
The HQ of Marine Conservation Philippines is located in Zamboanguita in the province of Negros Oriental. It is a municipality of some 30.000 inhabitants. On the outskirts of the municipality you’ll find our base inside Siit Arboretum, a beautiful botanical garden with samples of both endemic and international flora, some three hundred meters from the water, as the bird flies. If you cannot place Negros Oriental on a map, this movie may help.
Zamboanguita is situated below Mount Talinis, amidst rice paddies, egrets and buffaloes. Although there are some dive resorts in Zamboanguita, it is still relatively unexplored by tourists, and offers an authentic Filipino experience for tourists who venture further south than Dauin, the much better known neighbouring municipality renowned for its incredible diving. The better known dive destinations like Apo Island, Siquijor, Bohol and Cebu are still within easy travel distance by bus and/or boat.
Minimum duration is 8 weeks.
- 8 weeks – If already rescue diver and with 40 logged dives
- 10 weeks – If already open water diver with at least 20 dives
- 12 weeks – If non-diver or diver with less than 20 dives
Marine Conservation Philippines is aiming to become a resource and training centre for research into the mesophotic range. As such MCP values when divemaster candidates stay long enough to learn deep decompression diving and put it into use. We offer technical diver training and diving to divemaster candidates who can commit for longer periods of time.
Discounts available for extended stays:
- 4th Month – 400 USD weekly – Free TEC 40 Course
- 5th Month – 300 USD weekly – Free TEC 45 Course
- 6th Month – 200 USD weekly – Free TEC 50 Course. Trimix courses available too, but you must pay for gasses
Costs and pre-requisites
The MCP base is in a remote location, and so the cost of doing a divemaster internship with Marine Conservation Philippines takes into account that you will need food and accommodation as you train. The fee is 500 USD a week. This covers full gear rental, three daily meals, free tea/ coffee/snacks, accommodation, marine park fees, transportation etc. Additionally, you will need to commit to a minimum duration based on your past dive experience.
If you don’t bring your own training materials with you, you can purchase manuals at base cost with Marine Conservation Philippines. Materials and certification is Open Water 85 USD, Advanced Open Water 85 USD, Rescue Diver 85 USD, Divemaster 240 USD (crew pack materials only, certification payable directly to PADI).
Prerequisites to start the Divemaster course:
- 40 logged dives
- PADI Rescue Diver or equivalent
- PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent
- EFR Training or similar first aid certification within past 2 years
- Signed Medical Clearance
- Two Free scuba courses (certification fees apply)
- Complete scuba gear rental
- 80-100 dives in 8 weeks
- Airport pick-up
- Free use of snorkelling gear when off
- All marine park fees paid
- Tuition and lectures
- Participation in extended training
- Support and supervision
- Shared accommodation
- All meals
- Free snacks, water, tea and coffee
- MCP t-shirt
- Letter of completion
How to apply