If you’re here, I'm assuming that you've decided to take the plunge to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver (MSD), or are debating it. Well… I'm super excited for you! Do it, do it, do it! It's an amazing opportunity to prove yourself as an outstanding diver and to develop personally, learning new skills. Within this blog, I'm going to cover everything that you need to know about becoming an MSD from what it is, to the path you will be taking to achieve the prestigious rating. 

So, what is PADI Master Scuba Diver?

It's essentially the ‘black belt’ of diving. The MSD rating makes you stand out from the crowd with fewer than 2% of divers achieving this status. You gain this rating through a significant amount of experience and scuba training that you have accumulated over your diving lifetime. It is also the highest certification that you can acquire before going pro!

How does it differ from PADI Divemaster?

There's two main routes you can take as you progress on your diving journey. You can dive to your heart's content as a recreational diver, building up experience and adventures as you go, or you can become a diving professional. The PADI Master Scuba Diver is perfect for those who want to earn recognition for their commitment and enthusiasm for diving, but they don't necessarily want to go down the professional route.

A PADI Divemaster is someone who has taken their first foray into the world of professional diving. With a DM cert, you can start earning money and developing yourself for an amazing career. PADI Divemasters are the life and soul of the party. It's their job to make sure their divers are well looked after and having a good time. They're the guides and the extra pair of eyes and ears as they assist instructors.

Of course, you can also do both!

The path to MSD

The Core Courses

To begin your path to PADI Master Scuba Diver, you must start with the basics. You'll need your PADI Open Water Diver certification where you'll learn scuba diving basics and be trained to dive down to a depth of 18 metres.

You then need your PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification where you add onto your skills from Open Water and learn new skills such as navigation. You can now also freely go down to 30 metres. Awesome right?!

Following the Advanced Course comes the PADI Rescue Diver certification requirement. This is a bit of a different course. You'll learn how to tackle potential issues that may arise during diving. You learn how to respond to emergencies, grow your confidence as a diver and become the best possible buddy that you can be. This is a super fun course which most divers describe as their favourite.

The Specialties

Now you have all of the core courses under your belt, it's time to expand your repertoire. You need 5 PADI specialties to qualify for MSD. There are absolutely loads of specs that you can choose from to compliment you as a diver and spark your interests. If there's something you love, we guarantee there'll be a specialty course about it! Ranging from things like environmental awareness to technical diving, there's something for everyone. Our favourites here at The Fifth Point are  Dive Against Debris and Sidemount - but you can choose any and personalise as you wish.

Every spec course will teach you new skills and knowledge. But, there are some specialties that give you an extra "license" and without being able to show your dive centre your cert card, your diving adventures are restricted!

  • PADI Deep Diver - qualifies you to 40m and gives extra training on planning emergency procedures
  • PADI Enriched Air - allows you to use nitrox and you'll be able to analyse your tanks and plan for extended bottom times
  • PADI Dry Suit - teaches you to dive using a drysuit and the different buoyancy characteristics
  • PADI Wreck Diver - trains you to assess wrecks for hazards and also to penetrate them safely using lines

If you combine all 4 of those specs.... you'll be having some serious adventures here in the UK! Going inside a deep wreck and being able to stay down there longer while being toasty warm?! Yes, please!

The Dives

PADI Master Scuba Divers need 50 logged dives. Building this up is where the real fun begins! Here's a quick breakdown of the number of dives you'll probably have racked up as part of your core courses....

  • Open water:  4 dives (5 if you did your dry suit course at the same time)
  • Advanced: 5 dives
  • Rescue: probably about 3 - this course is a weird one as there's a lot of role play, surface work and quick dips down

At a minimum, you'll have about 12 dives and then it's time to hit the water as much as possible to build up that logbook. A great way to do this is to join Submerge, our diver subscription. Think of it like a gym membership but for scuba diving! You'll get out diving regularly with our little family and the team will be on hand to look after logistics and guide you round the sites! You can also join us on diving holidays. We often spend long weekends in Scotland diving as much as we can. When we go further afield to stay on liveaboards in the Red Sea or Norway we literally eat, sleep, dive, repeat. We log about 20 dives in a week!

How The Fifth Point sets you up for Master Scuba Diver success...

If you train with The Fifth Point, we've built core course packages that are complimented by specialties. 

During your PADI Open Water Course, you will also complete the PADI AWARE course which teaches you how to be an environmentally responsible diver as you venture out into the big blue for the first time. If you're hoping to do a lot of UK diving, you might also want to complete your Dry Suit course at the same time.

Our Advanced Open Water Divers complete the PADI Dive Against Debris course so that they can make every dive count in the battle against marine debris. The Advanced course is actually pretty cool as each of the 5 adventure dives you'll complete actually count as the first dive of the corresponding specialty course. So for example, if you love navigation, you could use the nav dive you'll complete as part of AOW to credit towards the full Underwater Navigator spec.

This is how we've built our famous Advanced Course weekends. You can pick a theme for your training and we'll go away for a long weekend and complete multiple courses at the same time.

Last but not least, we combined the PADI Rescue Diver Course with the Emergency Oxygen Provider course. You'll be completely tooled up for any scenario you might find yourself in.

So, after completing your core courses with The Fifth Point, you'll already have at least 3 specialties under your belt... with a potential for many, many more! We've made it as easy as possible!


To achieve the dizzying heights of PADI Master Scuba Diver you will need...

  • PADI Open Water
  • PADI Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Rescue
  • 5 PADI specialities
  • and 50 logged dives.

If you've got what it takes to become a PADI Master Scuba Diver then give us a shout and we'll kick start your journey!

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