Question: What is the difference between a Dive Guide and a Divemaster? 

Both RSTC and ISO describe Open Water qualification as an “autonomous level” qualification.

‘Autonomous’ means that the qualified diver DOES NOT REQUIRE SUPERVISION relative to the level of their qualification.

Consequently, it should be appropriate for a “Dive Guide” to accompany them purely to provide specific local site knowledge and flora/fauna identification.

This contrasts with a ‘Dive Master’, who holds professional qualification and assumes some duty-of-care over the accompanied divers.

“Dive Guide” is a role or job, wheras “Divemaster” describes a professional qualification.

A Divemaster can function in the role of a Dive Guide, but a Dive Guide needn’t be qualified as a Divemaster if accompanying autonomous level divers.

Sadly however, many sub-standard diving qualification courses FAIL to actually train students to a truly autonomous level.

As a consequence, it’s become commonly PERCEIVED that a Divemaster is necessary to accompany divers and fulfill a responsiblity to preserve their safey.

In esssence, a Divemaster has increasingly become the de-facto dive industry safety compensation for the increasing trend to certify incompetent and under-proficient divers, who were not faithfully qualified to operate as autonomous divers.

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