One of the practical assignments of your PADI Divemaster course is to draw a map of a local dive site. This can seem a little bit complicated at first, but with the right tools and techniques, it is actually quite easy!
As a Divemaster, later on in your diving career, you might have to draw maps for briefings or for other projects, so it is important to understand how to map a dive site.
First, you want to find out from your Instructor what they expect. Depending on the site you are mapping and its size, you might need to input a lot or little details. Ask them questions about the site and their expectations, or maybe look at previous Divemaster’s candidate’s maps to see what the end result should be.
What you will need: depending on the area you are mapping you might need various tools. You will obviously need slates to draw on and a compass to help you navigate, as well as a dive computer or depth gauge to record depths. You might also use a measuring tape for a small area, a buoy to mark your map central point, etc. It is usually easier to carry this project with a buddy!
Planning is important. Try to take into account the conditions, how many dives you think you will need depending on the size of the area, the number of people doing the map with you. If visibility allows you can also do a snorkel of the area before you go for the dive.
Communication before and during the dive is also crucial. There are various ways to organize your team underwater, so determine roles before you go down. Who will draw, who will record kick cycles and depths, who will record landmarks such as rocks, corals, sponges, and other permanent features, etc?
Once the dives are done, sit down with your team, put your efforts together and see how good of a result you get! You might need another dive or two to finalize your map or finetune the details.
Here in Bali, we are lucky enough to have a variety of dive sites with different conditions and topography, so there is a lot to learn about mapping during your PADI Divemaster internship!