Is it possible to work as a divemaster full-time?

5 min readApr 24, 2020


Of all the questions we get asked, this one seems to be a universal inquiry. It’s no question that working as a divemaster is a sick job. You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t already know that. The next question after this realization is usually: Can I work as a divemaster full-time?

It’s important to have a basic understanding of the industry before exploring the different job options out there. So we’re going to try to break it down for you here and answer this question.

Here’s how it works

Yes, being a divemaster is a sexy and exciting job. No, it is not a luxurious nor relaxing job. It isn’t always sunny days and sunset beers. Although that’s definitely part of it, these are the rewards for all the less fun stuff you have to do on the job. You should know that being a divemaster is a physically and psychologically demanding job. After a third dive of the day, your head is ready to hit that pillow until your alarm goes off at some ungodly hour the next morning.

It’s mentally challenging in the sense that you’re in charge of divers underwater and expected to always have a positive attitude. You’re also required to be very organized in terms of scheduling guests and preparing all of their gear. This can get exhausting during high season with having to interact day in and day out with new customers.

Being a divemaster is the most fun diving job because you’re there to guide people who already know how to dive. You get to take people under your wing and show them the sites you’ve come to know.

The flip side is that a divemaster doesn’t make as much compared to instructors. Even though the pay is better, teaching is much different than guiding, and teaching isn’t for everyone.

Who gets to work as a divemaster?

In most places in the world the divemaster position is filled by locals. One of the reasons is that locals will have grown up and learned to dive on the local dive sites. So when it comes to being able to identify every fish or coral formation, they’re hard to beat.

Another is that the divemaster certification is more accessible to locals, due to the expenses of the instructor course. This is why the instructor role is more often filled by foreigners.

Divemaster jobs on liveaboards

If you want to better your chances of getting hired on a liveaboard, having other skills to bring to the table is a necessity. For example, if you can work as a cook, are a videographer, have your instructors or a marine engine mechanic, you become much more employable.

Speaking many languages is also a super strong asset when it comes to finding a job in the scuba diving industry and makes you a much more likely candidate for getting hired on a boat.

Doing your divemaster with 3W

Now that we’ve covered some basics of what it means to be working as a divemaster, we’ll explain what 3W’s Divemaster Internship has to offer and how it will help you along the way to working in the industry.

3W offers an internship rather than just a course, meaning you’ll spend a lot more time on your training and in return gaining much more experience. By spending 4 months doing your training, you’ll have the time to really become a part of the team and see what it’s like to be working at a dive shop.

3W strongly believes in the importance of time spent underwater, so you’ll have access to unlimited diving and accumulate as many dives as you can. You’ll form close relationships with your instructors and gain real experience working with guests. You also experience life on Gili Air and what it’s like to live in a tight-knit expat and diving community. The internship itself does not create a job but offers 4 months of training and valuable experience you get to take with you as a dive professional.

Can I work as a divemaster at 3W?

The 3W vision of the divemaster internship is to train divemasters that are “work ready”, and that’s why the core of the internship is based on real-life experience. Like most other places, the divemaster position at 3W is filled by locals. We don’t offer jobs to our dive master trainees once they’ve finished their internship.

The purpose of our program isn’t to guarantee a job afterwards, but to offer valuable experience working alongside our 3W local divemasters, including guiding divers and preparing dives for guests.

You’ll see what being a divemaster is actually like, learn how to be organised and leave the internship work ready. This is why we offer the possibility of staying up to 4 months! We want you to get as many dives under your belt as possible and of course to learn the tricks of the trade by integrating you into our tribe on the operational side of things.

The essentials

Hopefully, we’ve answered your question, and to wrap it up here’s what we want you to take away. Essentially, if you want to make a living in scuba diving, you should think of doing your divemaster as a step toward completing the instructor course. Being a divemaster is a professional activity that can become an amazing job that takes you all over the world, or here to Indonesia to start. But most of the time it’s not financially sustainable as a full-time job, so it can make a really great seasonal job that you can do for periods at a time.

We also want to stress the importance and advantage of knowing multiple languages in this industry. As a dive professional who knows at least 3–4 languages, it makes finding a job much more attainable. Again: instructor + languages = job (most of the time; experience is important too but we all have to start somewhere).

3W’s divemaster internship offers 4 months of unlimited diving, which is worth… well you do the math, and a look into the life of a divemaster. You get real experience with real guests and get to know the dive sites in the Gilis. This gives you a huge advantage if you want to find a job as an instructor, and there is always a chance to be hired later if you decide you want to do your instructor course afterward. Ultimately, if you’re interested in gaining more experience diving, it’s a perfect fit.

by Margot McManus




Live the island live as you are doing a Divemaster Internship or Marine conservation works with 3W Dive center