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Is dive certification really necessary?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Eric Sedletzky, Sep 18, 2020.

  1. ToneNQ

    ToneNQ ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Australia
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    If you combined this with OW, it'd be a longer and more expensive course. I'm really not certain you'd achieve much beyond turning people away that have no interest in diving deep, which is a heap of the people that do reef dives at resorts. All they want to do is take pictures of fish in 3-12m of water.

    AOW cert is more of an 'acknowledgement of attendance', it's not compulsory to progress to rescue diver, which you can do from adventure diver level. Technically it allows extra depth, but in practice people go as deep as they want. The AOW course is an introduction for divers to the specific considerations for a broader range of dives and to practice existing skills specific to each dive under supervision, without adding much in the way of new skills or qualifications. We shouldn't overplay the AOW cert, an OW cert with a few specialties or a dozen logged dives could easily be more proficient in the water.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  2. lermontov

    lermontov Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: christchurch
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    Im sure its the same for everyone - whenever were in a group were all absorbing spoken and unspoken cues as to what the person is made of - gear selection, gear set up, how much they talk ( or dont) if they assemble their gear efficiently and demonstrate competence, if they talk themselves up or express some lack of confidence, do they discuss any sort of plan or run time? It all goes in and we process an opinion before we even get in the water .
    it seems to me theses are the identifiers before any show of cert cards
     
  3. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
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    My experience has been the guy that is doing the most talking about his diving experience, equipment, and where he has dived is the one most likely to be the worst instabuddy and **** up the dive for everybody. I say a guy because I have never seen a woman do that.
     
  4. 2airishuman

    2airishuman ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Greater Minnesota
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    People learn things in different ways. There are many people who benefit from a classroom environment or who need interaction with an instructor to learn. SB self-selects for people who can learn independently; it isn't representative of the real world.

    In a world without c-cards there would be even more use of "show my your skills" dives before operators would take people out on dives that are the least bit demanding. I don't think that would be an improvement.

    As a practical matter DMs play a major role in keeping people safe in their first dozen or so dives after certification. By the statistics these are dangerous dives. They are the dives where people figure out whether they have the aptitude and background for diving, and whether it is enjoyable for them; 80-90% or something leave the activity at that point.

    Some people aren't aware of their own limitations. In diving, C-cards and DMs protect them from themselves.
     
    John C. Ratliff and AfterDark like this.
  5. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
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    AOW doesn't necessarily mean deep diving. Maybe the answer is a limited cert for resort trained divers, that can't be used outside of resort diving. Someone who is a certified diver but needs to be escorted by a DM on a dive isn't a diver, should not be certified as one and outside the control of a DM could very well be a danger or at least a burden to other divers, IMO.

    As far as expense what is the cost of OW and AOW combined? Probably around $500-600? The OW course at a resort is what 2 days? Two days of training and someone is a certified diver for life. Then the next day they are taking AOW for another couple of days. Now they are certified to be let loose in the ocean as an advanced diver. What a training model!

    My original training was by NASDS, 12 weeks 2 nights per week 2 hours per class, 1st 2 weeks classroom, next 4 weeks split classroom and pool time snorkel training and scuba gear orientation assembly, disassembly, handling of a tank etc... The next 2 weeks scuba in the pool drills, drills, drills and more drills. The next week was the written test and pool test. If the student passed then the last 3 weeks were ocean dives, 2 daytime shore dives, 2 boat dives and night dive from shore. After that we were ready to dive safely, confidently and comfortably without a DM because there were no DMs at least that I ever met at that time.

    I took a AOW/nitrox class about 10 years ago to have an AOW card to show operators. It was very boring and I dozed thru most of it, the instructor kept having to wake me up. At test time I aced it all did the dives and got my cards. The only new thing to me were the nitrox tables but those were easy. Everything that was taught in AOW and most of the nitrox class were things I had learned in my classes years ago. Gas laws don't change over time and nitrox is just air with more O2, so really nothing I needed formal training to learn.

    My bottom line is I've always loved diving and even though I'm approaching the end of my diving adventures after 52 years of diving I don't want to see dive training in the hands of politicians to be screwed up and restricted like our guns. If something isn't done to change the training model IMO govt. regulation of diving will happen.
     
  6. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
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    It's allowed to go on somehow.
     
  7. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
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    Yes there are people who need a classroom experience that’s for sure. However now they are doing more and more self study online for the book portion. I did all my certifications before that time so I don’t know much about it. But I did like the social aspect of the classroom.

    I never said to completely eliminate the C-Card. The thread started as a though experiment to discuss whether or not a person could be able to learn how to dive on their own safely knowing that they wouldn’t be able to get on a boat or get an air fill, which wasn’t really the point. The point was about safe self taught diving. The second part of the OP suggested changing how C-Cards are issued and by whom. In my opinion right now the fox is guarding the henhouse with the instructor having full control over who they issue c-cards to. My suggestion was to separate the instruction part and the certification part by having a specific independent agency that certifies people. This would introduce a check and balance system plus eliminate the favoritism and corruption with SOME instructors giving away certs like candy to make a buck. The beautiful part would be that a person could learn to dive through a much broader resource than just an agency instructor, which they could still do if they wanted. In the end the proof would be in the pudding, not what some fly by night instructor says.

    Operators will always have DM’s and will always check C-cards - they should. Read above and you will see that none of that would change. However I believe that some c-cards issued under the current system aren’t worth the plastic they’re printed on.

    Also, this is not any sort of bash on PADI or any other agency. I believe their course materials are very good for general recreational diving. Following the outline and making sure that each and every part is well understood and demonstrating those skills is another thing.
    We need somebody else to do that that doesn’t have a vested interest in seeing nobody fail.
     
    Dark Wolf and AfterDark like this.
  8. Aviyes

    Aviyes Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado
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    So, basically you give no trust whatsoever to the instructors? What's the point in having a trained instructor then? Just let the DMs teach the classes or the guy off the street with 40 dives.
    And who is going to pay for the independent certifier? How would you schedule it for far flung areas? Oh I'm sorry Customer, though you completed the OW class, you have to wait until the 5th of next month because the certifier can only come once a quarter. Customer: But, my dive trip is in 2 weeks.
     
  9. Eric Sedletzky

    Eric Sedletzky Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    4,242
    4,509
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    It’s allowed to go on because there is no check and balance system. Everything is run through one entity so of course it’s corruptible.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  10. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
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    I have told this story before, about an uncertified diver in 1967. I heard it from the diver himself a few years ago.

    He was on a dive boat preparing for a week of exciting diving in Australia in 1967 when the captain asked everyone for their certification cards. He did not have one. He explained to the captain that his father had taught him to dive when he was 7 years old, and he had completed thousands of dives since then. The captain was adamant. It was a matter of his liability. No C-card--no diving. Period.

    Crew members talked to the captain, begging him to make an exception in this one case, and the captain finally relented. As soon as he was back in the USA, the diver went to a nearby PADI office and got OW certified. He has carried that C-card in his wallet ever since, just to make sure he doesn't have to go through that again.

    His name is Jean-Michel Cousteau, who at age 7 became the second human being to dive with a Cousteau-Gagnon regulator.
     

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