Seattle Dive Tours

PADI Master Scuba Diver Rating

  • PADI Dry Suit Diver

PADI Master Scuba Diver Rating

The PADI Master Scuba Diver rating is a path towards perfecting your diving skills. Earning the rating means that you have spent significant time underwater learning and practicing your dive skills in a variety of dive environments. To get the most out of your experience, I always recommend charting a course based on interests that you develop during your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver. These could include photography, fish & marine life, or adventure. Having plan for which courses to take will help you to stay motivated and on track to reach your PADI Master Scuba Diver goal.

Last fall, PADI interviewed Northwest diver and photographer Janna Nichols, who talks about earning the PADI Master Scuba Diver rating while diving in the Pacific Northwest, and what the rating meant to her:

As Janna mentions in the video, she had an interest in being an underwater naturalist that helped her to choose which courses to take in order to complete her PADI Master Scuba Diver rating.

Getting Started

To start working towards the PADI Master Scuba Diver rating, a diver first needs to earn the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver. In this class, divers will try 5 Adventure Dives- Underwater Navigator, Deep Diver, plus 3 elective Adventure Dives. The PADI Advanced Open Water Diver allows divers to receive additional training and explore areas of interest within scuba diving, such as fish identification, photography, or search & recovery diving.

After the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course is PADI Rescue Diver, where you’ll learn to prevent and manage problems in the water, and become more confident in your skills as a diver. Additional requirements for the PADI Master Scuba Diver rating are a minimum 12 years or older and have 50 logged dives. If you have fallen behind on logging your dives, now is a good to to start by logging them on ScubaEarth.

Next is the fun part, deciding on which 5 speciality courses to take. I recommend that you decide on your main interest(s) and build a course schedule around it. Here are three groups of courses to take based on some common diver interests:

PADI Dry Suit Diver

Divers completing their PADI Dry Suit Diver course

Naturalist Diver
AWARE – Fish Identification
AWARE – Coral Reef Conservation
Peak Performance Buoyancy
Digital Underwater Photography
Underwater Naturalist

Northwest Diver
Night Diver
Deep Diver
Dry Suit Diver
Underwater Navigator
Enriched Air Diver

Adventurer Diver
Underwater Navigator
Search and Recovery Diver
Wreck Diver
Drift Diver
Enriched Air Diver

Course schedules could also be built around interests such as photography; cold water, ice & altitude; or travel. In addition, popular courses such as Enriched Air Diver or Peak Performance Buoyancy can be substituted for another course or even taken as a 6th speciality.

At Seattle Dive Tours, we can put together a complete PADI Master Scuba Diver program for any diver, taking as little as two weeks or several months depending on the diver’s schedule and interests. Ready to start your PADI Master Scuba Diver rating? Call us at (206) 265-0006, or e-mail to get started today!

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February Advanced Open Water Certification Becomes a Snow Dive

Mike and Eric warming up

Mike and Eric warming up

We took a break from our regular dive tours in mid-February to teach the PADI Advanced Open Water certification course, and even had a rare Seattle snowstorm in the middle of the course. Our divers for the weekend were Mike, taking both the PADI Advanced Open Water certification and Dry Suit Diver courses, and Eric, taking the Dry Suit Diver course.

The first day (Saturday) started off at Redondo Beach, very popular for it’s well marked dive site and easy access. Plus we’ve had good luck finding GPO’s (Giant pacific octopus) and Wolf eel at the site. The day started off cold, but I had brought a propane heater to help keep everyone warm between dives. The first Adventure Dive of the weekend was Dry Suit Diver, which helped Mike & Eric to orient themselves to their dry suits, and also to work out weighting issues and buoyancy. After some snacks, Mike & Eric went back in to try the second Adventure Dive, Underwater Navigator. The dive had Mike navigate out and back to find a small boat on the dive site at approximately 45’, fist using natural navigation techniques, then using his compass. We had gone out to the boat on the first Adventure Dive, so he had a general idea of where it was and what was around it, plus a map for reference. Mike reported after the dive that using the compass was actually harder than using natural navigation, as there was more task loading involved, such as watching the compass & keeping it level, searching ahead, and keeping track of his buddy. Mike finished off the dive with a square pattern underwater, navigating back at the starting point. For divers using navigation, remember the key is to cooperate with your buddy, one diver navigating while the other diver searches. A dive slate can really help with communication underwater as well.

Seattle skyline by Mitchell Tillison

Seattle skyline at Alki Seacrest Park by Mitchell Tillison

After a dinner break we met back up at Alki Seacrest Park (Cove 2) across from downtown Seattle for our night dive. After a dive site briefing, we entered the water under clear skies and a beautiful nighttime view of the Seattle skyline. Playful Harbor seals followed us on our dive, using our lights to hunt for fish & invertebrates. As we surfaced, the weather topside had changed to snow showers!

Sunday morning brought 3 inches of snow to the Seattle area, and we decided to return to Alki Seacrest Park (Cove 2) instead of our original plan of Three Tree Point. First Adventure Dive was Deep Diver, followed by Search & Recovery Diver, and finally a second dry suit dive to complete the Dry Suit Diver speciality course. During the deep dive, Mike got to see how pressure effects gasses, colors, and even thinking and judgement. The search & recovery dive involved learning how to rig and use a lift bag (Mike said this was his favorite part of the weekend), tie knots, and use search patters to find Spiderman and his friends. The dry suit dive had both Mike & Eric practice buoyancy and demonstrate removing and reattaching their dry suit inflator hoses while underwater. We had our post weekend lunch and wrap up next door at Marination Ma Kai, my favorite because of the SPAM sliders & coleslaw.

Congratulations Mike & Eric!

Congratulations Mike & Eric!

Thought about earning your Advanced Open Water? Our PADI Advanced Open Water course is scheduled on the second weekend of each month, plus we can we can teach it any other day (weekends or weekdays) for divers visiting Seattle. Check out our calendar or contact us to set up your own class. We teach all of our classes with as few as one student, so that you can get the instruction you want on your schedule.