With the PADI Master Scuba Diver rating you reach the highest non professional level in the PADI System of diver education. It means that you have acquired significant training and experience in a variety of dive environments.
The Master Scuba Diver rating sometimes is seen as a card collecting exercise by some without any real merit but it should be one of the most important achievements in diver training and which fully enhance a divers general abilities. With the right choice of specialities and Instructor the MSD rating can also be a great base of skills going into the Divemaster course and to becoming a much more knowledgeable professional.
To complete you have to be a minimum of 12 years of age, complete the Rescue Diver course and 5 specialities with no less than 50 logged dives. It is the specialities that when chosen correctly and with the divers current experience in mind that should be the springboard to a massive swing in a divers abilities across a range of different skill development.
Peak Performance Buoyancy, Deep diver training, Navigational skills, Night diving and Enriched Air for example are all abilities that most divers never master or are not particularly good at. If trained to a good quality these are skills that will open up a range of dive abilities and confidence levels that will enable the diver to conduct far more adventurous and interesting diving.
We have many people that come to us who want to become better and more proficient divers. Perhaps they need to learn a few more tips on good buoyancy control, proper weighting and a better trim. Some want to learn how to be better underwater navigators to enjoy their local diving without having to rely on dive guides. Many are looking to dive deeper and in safety which is where they can integrate the Enriched Air (Nitrox) course for more bottom time at deeper depths compared to diving on air. Night diving is also very popular to fully understand how to correctly hold a torch, perform a range of signals in the dark and to navigate without too much natural navigation to rely on.
During the Master Scuba Diver course a diver will also generally be more comfortable and aware about how to use a dive computer during their dives, especially when diving deeper. Also the student will more than likely have some of their own equipment or be starting to increase what they have. During the course they should be shown how to use it all correctly, how to look after it, how to clean it after dives and how to stow it in the best ways.
With everything considered the Master Scuba Diver rating should not be used by anyone as a card collecting exercise but should be seen and used as a massive opportunity to make a diver into an all round far better and fully self proficient diver. Something that is sadly lacking in so many divers these days.