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'Maximum' dive depth based on certification

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by ggunn, Jul 27, 2019.

  1. rsingler

    rsingler Scuba Instructor, Tinkerer in Brass Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Napa, California
    In my opinion, this whole silly thread (which seems to resurrect itself a couple of times per year in the perennial PADI bashing) arose from @Snoweman 's reading of the puff piece below. Sorry, @Snoweman , I'm not picking on you.
    A careful reading of the article will show that it was just a blog article by a young instructor trying to help non-divers decide between OWD and Scuba Diver. Her mistake was in listing "Maximum Depth" without elaborating. It was just an ad disguised as an article, for Pete's sake.

    As most everyone should know, when you actually take a PADI course, you find out that recreational limits are 130'. You also are told repeatedly to seek further training or experience before venturing below your 60' OWD training depth. But interestingly, even PADI publications admit that additional experience might be in the company of other experienced divers rather than a training course.

    In recommending additional training before going deeper than training depths, PADI is no different than any other certification agency.

    Can we just relax for another six months, now? For the record, yes - PADI recommends 60' for new divers. But PADI's course material also notes the recreational scuba limit is 130'. Choose your personal maximum.

    There are no scuba police, just dive ops that may or may not allow you to do what you want for liability reasons. I had been diving for 20 years before I got my Advanced Open Water cert! And I only bothered because on a boat dive in Hawaii one year, I was told that I couldn't do their deep dive because I didn't have the card, all my experience notwithstanding. 130' being the recreational limit notwithstanding. So by the next year, I got the card. Big deal. Their boat, their rules.
    Seaweed Doc, arew+4, BlueTrin and 4 others like this.
  2. Snoweman

    Snoweman Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    Actually, I found the article to back up what I was told in OW and Rescue classes. You are correct. There are no scuba police. There are scuba lawyers, though. (In fact, I think there's one on the site named ScubaLawyer). I suspect that the boat in Hawaii either had gotten a suit when someone was injured or died diving deeper than what their card said for which they were trained. Or, there insurance said they wouldn't be covered if they took someone deeper than their training depths, and an injury occurred. Either way, my point has been (and subsequently ignored) that operators may open themselves up to a liability if something happens and folks start looking at the dive computer(s).
    BlueTrin and rsingler like this.
  3. GrafCanuck

    GrafCanuck Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: London, Ontario
    All experienced divers that I know do not get hung up on dive depth and usually focus on the underwater experience in the moment. If you are certified, (regardless of level or agency) and know your limits and a safe/smart diver then I say go for that 115 feet dive to see that special wreck. I'm finding that my sweet spot is in the 40-60 feet depth. I prefer the reef and the life around it versus a deep dive to a wreck. But each to their own. Find your comfort zone. Always DiVe safe. Cheers.
  4. BlueTrin

    BlueTrin DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: London
    I invoke ... @Scuba Lawyer ...
  5. Scuba Lawyer

    Scuba Lawyer Barracuda

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Laguna Beach, California
    Someone invoke my name? That will be $500 please. :)

    My students back in the 70's (when I was assisting with classes) and in the 80's (when I was teaching classes), would invariably ask how deep is too deep for their level of training and experience. My standard response would be that anything over the feeling of having two martinis or two shots of 1800 tequila would mean you are too deep so plan your dives accordingly. I guess I wasn't that great of a teacher, but we had a ton of fun. :)

    cc: @Sam Miller III
  6. Christi

    Christi PADI MSDT/Dive op owner ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Cozumel, MX
    Sorry Snoweman - this really is not the case. I'm curious how much real world outside of the dive shop experience your rescue instructor has that he/she would say that because it is not an accurate statement.

    Here's a few things to ponder which may help put this in perspective.

    If in fact there were hard depth limits for OW certified divers, with Cozumel's competition and the newly formed dive shop association, don't you think shops would be more discreet about "breaking the PADI rules"?

    Or wouldn't shops that are PADI resorts be enforcing limits if that were the case - because PADI resorts operate by the book, otherwise they don't keep their "status." Every dive shop in Cozumel averages 80 - 100 feet for the first dive because those are the appropriate depths for the features of those dives. If this was a standards violation, we would have NO PADI shops on the island. Even so, as has been mentioned, the recreational depth limit is 130ft, not 60 feet. I can speak for PADI and there is nothing anywhere that says you are limited to 60 feet as an OW certified diver. This is only a hard rule with OW students. If your rescue instructor claims this, then I would suggest he or she needs to study their standards manual again.

    There is a training and standards department you or anyone can call to ask PADI directly about this.

    I'll also add that it is each divers responsibility to diove to their comfort and ability. Each diver is responsible for their dive, including how deep they go. Divemasters are not "responsible" for whether someone dives to 60 feet or 130 feet. They give the dive plan which usually has a max depth for that dive based on the currents and attractions of that dive. They are guides and not responsible for divers actual depths.

    PADI would not even consider this an infraction or a standards violation UNLESS you were an OW student.
  7. Manatee Diver

    Manatee Diver Manta Ray

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Tampa Bay, FL
    Aren't AOW students also limited to 100ft per the standards?
  8. JoeFriday

    JoeFriday Photographer

    Accepted basic recreational certification (OW) depth is 130 ft.
  9. JoeFriday

    JoeFriday Photographer

    Students implies a training course. Training courses have depth limits.
  10. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
    Money drives the operation of depth limitations. It doesn't make sense to let ow's go deep when the rec range is to 130 ft and the courses that cover the skills for that depth range is all 3 classes of OW AOW DEEP. How does it make sense to say with the beginner OW and nothing more, you have the skills to do 130' ... If it were true that OW makes you good to 130 they why do the other courses exist????? Once there was one course that did it all OW to Master,, you left with the conbined training to do 130. now you don't but like a pit bull in the industry tries to protect the idea that a beginner course is equal to the older fully inclusive combined courses. You have to have an instructor to sign on your ability to go to 30' but you can sign off your self to go to the 130 limits using the experience crutch.

    Next. This is a equal to the OW thing. why do you get a tech 40 card or a tec 65 card. Why should not a tech beginner card be good to go to the bottom of the limits of the tech range.

    Finally You need a card to get air. You need a card to get nitrox. you need a card to get O2. Why no card to go to 100 ft when the agency itself recommends not to go deeper than 60'. Why not take OW's into ship engine rooms with an RB with the OW card. That answer lies in the liability insurance coverage. As such any limits is not imposed to protect the diver it is there to protect the operators and agencies.
    pauldw likes this.

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