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  • The PADI Master Scuba Diver
    By Tamara Collins
    It is refreshing to find recognition in a world where hard work and dedication usually go unnoticed. The culmination of hours spent underwater, training to be at the top of your sport, should be tangible; a sign you have achieved your personal best. PADI has devised a system of diver education where your experience and knowledge are immediately recognizable. With the PADI Master Scuba Diver rating, you can wear your achievement like a badge of honor.The Master Scuba Diver patch you receive at the end of your recreational dive education journey can be placed on a jacket or dive bag. It shows you are an Advanced Open Water diver, with the skills to apply first aid and rescue a diver in trouble.

    The PADI system of diver education is a series of stepping stones that culminate in the PADI Master Scuba Diver rating. The first step is, of course, an Open Water certification. The Advanced Open Water program is your next hurdle, with two core dives, Underwater Navigation and Deep Diving, along with your choice of a host of electives. This certification requires five dives and may be completed in just one weekend.

    Five PADI specialty courses are also required for the rating. This can be a fun way to learn new skills or broaden your interest in an old favorite; choose from Boat, Cavern, Enriched Air and Ice Diver, Underwater Photographer, Search and Recovery and more.

    The final step in the process is the PADI Rescue Diver, which includes the prerequisite of Medic First Aid or an equivalent course. Here you will learn to recognize, prevent and handle diving accidents. This course is an enjoyable, rewarding way to give something back to the sport. You will be promoting safe diving by becoming a responsible participant with the skills to help yourself and others in a time of crisis.

    At the end of this exciting journey of underwater training, you will have met some incredible people and spent hours doing something you love-scuba diving. The real reward for your dedication and diligence may be fond memories and a sense of achievement, but it's nice to be recognized by the organization that has helped you along the way. The PADI Master Scuba Diver rating is within your grasp and you can wear your patch with pride.

    For more information, write to PADI at 1251 E. Dyer Road, Suite 100, Santa Ana, CA 92705-5605; call (800) 729-7234 or (714) 540-7234, fax (714) 540-2617 or visit the Web site at

    PADI System of Diver Education

    PADI Open Water Diver - The first level of PADI scuba certification teaches the basics of safe diving.

    PADI Advanced Open Water Program - This course will expand your diving skills. The two core dives are underwater navigation and deep diving. There are many electives available, including night, boat, drift, multilevel or wreck diving. The certification requires five dives. Those continuing onto PADI leadership training may opt for the Advanced Plus certification, which requires nine dives.PADI Specialty Courses-Specialties include boat, cavern, enriched air, equipment specialist, ice, search and recovery, drift, multilevel, underwater photography, wreck diving and other specialty activities.

    PADI Medic First Aid - This course teaches CPR and first aid, prerequisites for Rescue Diver certification.

    PADI Rescue Diver - In this course, you will learn to recognize, prevent and handle potential diving accidents.

    PADI Master Scuba Diver - This rating is possible after completing the PADI Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver and any five specialty courses. This is the highest nonprofessional credential in recreational diving.

    PADI Divemaster - This is the first step on the professional diving path. It trains you to supervise diving activities and assist with divers in training.PADI Assistant Instructor-This prepares the diver for PADI instructor training by providing hands-on teaching experience.

    PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor - A PADI Divemaster or Assistant Instructor can earn this rating by successfully completing the PADI Instructor Development Course and Instructor Examination.

    Beyond Instructor - This qualifies instructors to teach new specialty courses and earn other credentials, such as PADI Master Instructor and PADI Course Director.