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Is dive certification really necessary?

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

  1. NothingClever

    NothingClever ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Red Sea and Atlantic Ocean
    I’m only on my phone ATM so a bit hard to properly digest all 210 posts.

    I’m probably reinforcing what others have opined but I’ll pile on by proffering that training, right now, is more important than certification. I think the long drive to pursue newcomer profit has forced training to take a backseat.

    I think the smaller agencies with tighter control of their QA processes stand to continue finding opportunities amongst those divers beguiled and later disenchanted with their barely-meets-standards Basic and Advanced OW experiences.

    I can’t remember which podcast interview it was but one high performance, standards-based instructor stated (paraphrasing) he is quite happy for sloppy dive agencies to keep turning out unskilled divers because re-training them is a steady business.

    So, do divers need to get certified? Yes, there needs to be some regulatory measures to govern the activity where serious injury or death is a distinct possibility. However, I think the more important question is, “Should we allow careless agencies to continue dominating the overall direction of the industry?” I think it is this current dilemma that prevents a more meaningful re-direction of emphasis and effort in the industry’s future.
  2. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    I am telling you that in that history, they said that the average new OW diver when they wrote the history was a better diver than the average instructor when they formed the organization. They said it, not me. I have no ability to judge, since I was not there then. You apparently have the ability to say they were wrong. Perhaps you should share your knowledge of the average instructor at NAUI's founding.
    ToneNQ and Colliam7 like this.
  3. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    1. ******************************************************************************Old subject, but --Of course you must mean that you have the same % of students that will have trouble with some skills taught neutrally as you will with those taught kneeling. Obviously everyone taught neutrally doesn't easily learn to do every skill. Some skills will be hard for some people regardless of how they're taught.
    I love the way people who have never seen students taught this way know exactly what it looks like and exactly what happens and so can make critical judgments.

    Students learn most of the skills more easily while neutrally buoyant, and they learn all of the skills by the end of the OW session. Don;t you think that someone who is already an instructor might be able to pick up without too much difficulty the same skills that new OW students learn in their first few hours in the pool?
  4. captain

    captain Captain

    Personal opinion. The BC has led to a of problems. I believe the BC should not be introduced to students until they can master buoyancy without it. It is a crutch for poor watermanship.
    Bob DBF and Eric Sedletzky like this.
  5. Outbound

    Outbound Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Michigan
    I don't really have horse in this race, since I'm not an instructor or tied in with any particular training agency in a meaningful way (I got my certs through PADI, but it's not like I'm a PADI fanboy). But, the question you pose above assumes that we currently have careless agencies dominating the overall direction of the industry. What evidence of this do you have? What metric(s) are you using to measure carelessness? I'm not talking about the "a guy I know told me that an instructor he knows gets a lot of badly trained OWD from XX agency" type stuff, which tends to be the usual anecdotal evidence passed around on Scubaboard (and probably within the diving community in general) about a host of things, from training to whether or not a primary donate is better than an octo donate (don't mean to open up a can of worms with that one!). Provide us with hard evidence that OWD with certs from agencies such as PADI have a higher per capita accident rate, death rate, etc. and we can start to have a serious conversation about this issue.

    Just to be clear, I'm not saying that such evidence does not exist. I'm merely suggesting that we all move past anecdotal "data" to something more concretely objective.
    ToneNQ and Esprise Me like this.
  6. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    Not possible, since none of the agencies publicize negative statistics about themselves. The reality is that all you can do is "speculate" in a serious conversation about accidents. Luckily, accidents are only one of many potential data-points in deciding whether certifications are a necessity.

    Wouldn't it be nice if agencies published the data?

    Come to think of it, publication of actual data would be a yuge benefit that would come from government "licensing" of scuba. Probably not worth the cost, but that would be nice.

    Along with government licensing would probably come the National Underwater Transit Safety Agency or NUTSa. They could manage the statistics, and recommend rule changes based on said statistics. :wink:
  7. Aviyes

    Aviyes Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado
    Why the hell would anyone want government "licensing" of scuba? It does nothing but put needless barriers into place for participating in an activity. Look at many of the state boating license requirements, it is useless and only creates a barrier and extra ability to ticket people within a state. It does not produce better boaters. There are still plenty of incompetent boat drivers out there.
    apenland01 likes this.
  8. Jake 10

    Jake 10 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Herndon, VA
    Is dive certification really necessary?
    - Yes !
  9. Outbound

    Outbound Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Michigan
    I'm reading the 2018 DAN Diving Report right now, and a few key takeaways:
    1. There are a lot of overweight and obese divers, just like the population as a whole. DAN specifically states that the BMI data for diver deaths is a cause for concern given the known associations between high BMI and pre-existing medical conditions such as poor cardiovascular health.
    2. There are fewer than 2 deaths per million recreational divers. That's far lower than for many other sports/activities.
    3. Aside from cardiovascular events, panic is an issue.

    I'll add another takeaway, one that DAN doesn't explicitly state but is my personal assessment: stupidity. Take this case report that DAN uses - a diver and his son on the second dive of the day, sharing one tank with two secondary regs descended to 65 fsw for 25 minutes, ran low on air, and made a rapid ascent. The father died and the official cause of death was listed as barotrauma due to acute decompression. Toxicology report found amphetamines in his system, indicating a possible non-diving cause of death due to acute health issue.

    Now, whether or not he died of acute decompression or some underlying health issue, no training agency taught that guy and his son to share a tank for their whole dive and to go down to 65 feet, not watch their air consumption, and bolt for the surface. That death wasn't the fault of poor training, it was the result of very poor decision making. Training agencies give you the information and tools new divers need in order to make diving relatively safe. They can't cure stupidity.
    Esprise Me likes this.
  10. 2airishuman

    2airishuman ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Greater Minnesota
    The state boating license programs don't work because they are too weak to ensure a reasonable level of competence. A program that would work would have these effects:
    • Getting the license will involve real work, not watching a 2-hour video and passing a quiz. There will be a curriculum, and instructors, and a hands on component.
    • It will also involve real money, because instructors and curriculum developers and program administrators all have to get paid.
    • There will be some people who will really struggle to pass and have to take extra classes and get extra coaching.
    • There will be some people who can't pass no matter what they do.
    • Some amount of recurrent training or recent experience will be required for renewal.
    Basically like every other licensing program for activities that adversely affect other people if they are conducted sloppily. Aviation, firearms, driving cars, various professional and trade licenses.

    Organizations representing people who rent and sell boats have blocked these efforts.

    Whether such a program is unnecessary governmental overreach or appropriate safety-oriented intervention, for boats and boaters, is a good question and depends on your point of view. Generally, commercial watercraft operators and people who spend a good deal of time on the water recreationally would like to erect barriers to keep out the WAFIs. More casual users see it as unnecessary overreach and bureaucracy.

    As for SCUBA diving, well, from the government's point of view it's a niche activity that doesn't pose a serious risk to public safety, so why would the government want to be involved?

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