Divemaster versus instructor

Our dive instructor who guided us on our dives was amazing! Our divemaster took us in the pool to teach us how to scuba dive. Nothing sounds wrong with this, right? Your right, it all sounds pretty cool! Whether you call us instructors or divemasters, we won’t get offended. If you really want to look into the details though, then there is a difference.


Climbing up the certification ladder, whether it is PADI, NAUI, SSI or one of the many organizations out there, we all strive to get to the next level. Not one is better than another, but they do mean something different.

When climbing the PADI ladder, your first step is to become a PADI Open Water diver. Once you have achieved that one, then the PADI Advanced Open Water and PADI Rescue diver are next – besides doing different specialties and obtaining the Master Scuba Diver rating, that is as high as you can go as a recreational diver.

That doens’t mean it stops there though. You can continue and enter the world of professional scuba divers. The first professional PADI level is PADI Divemaster, then PADI Open Water Instructor, followed by Master Scuba Diver Trainer to Staff Instructor, Master Instructor and finally Course Director. The most common for professionals taking you diving will be up to MSDT or Master Scuba Diver Trainer. Anything after that you will be spending more time in the classroom teaching people to become instructors. Not always though…

So what is the main difference between the guides who will be taking you diving?
Everyone starts out as a Divemaster. As a Divemaster you are allowed to take people out diving, assist in courses and do refresher courses with certified divers. The key is that your divers have to be certified (with a couple of exceptions). Our PADI Divemasters here at Sunchaser Scuba are Shon and Devin.


Once you are a PADI Open Water Instructor you can of course still guide certified divers, but on top of that you can also teach people to dive. You can teach courses from Bubblemakers and Discover Scuba Diving all the way up to PADI Divemasters. Michael and Ryan are Sunchaser’s PADI Open Water Instructors.

Lastly, Master Scuba Diver Trainers, (MSDT) can also teach certain specialties, such as Enriched Air Nitrox Specialty or Deep Specialty and make people Master Scuba Divers. Ben and Kay are our Master Scuba Diver Trainers.


Divemaster, Instructor, or whatever we are, our passion is diving and we definitely have that in common. Whether we are guiding divers, teaching people or assisting in courses, all that matters is that we are in the water, showing our guests what an amazing, new world it is down there!