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Diver standards - Are standards high enough?

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Just a poll to see if people think that the standards required of students for a BASIC CERTIFICATION are good enough.

I'm talking PADI Open Water, BSAC Ocean Diver (is that out of date?) etc. Are these new divers, supposedly certified to dive without supervision, fit and safe to dive? Would higher standards put people off? Is diving getting dumbed down at the risk of peoples lives?
 

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Personally, with regards to PADI OW, I feel that it is too soon to assume that a person can dive independently after completing just this course - I was far too nervous to venture with just a buddy and made sure I did quite a few dives before completing my AOW which I felt gave me the confidence to dive without a guide/instructor.

I think the limits should be raised on when you can strat training as a professional/instructor - at the moment, there are too many people throwing themselves into instructor courses when they only have a limited amount of experience under their belt.  This does not fill me with confidence at all!
 

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Ah.... it depends on how standards are deployed, for instance in my old club new divers , the old Club Diver which is equivalent of Ocean Diver (yes, BSAC have chopped and changed titles a bit over the past few years) was most definately NOT allowed to dive without supervision and had to be buddied with a dive Leader. Only as Sport Diver level were they ok'ed to dive with equivalent or higher grade divers, even then it would depend on the site, depth & experience.
IMO & IME (no rucks please) the typical OW is no where near as capable as a CD/OD, AOW is more like it, I think OW is really only a "resort" grade, which is very useful but very limited

Steve
 

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Hi Jason,

I've just completed my Open Water qual with my local BSAC club. Our club Dive Officer told us we're not allowed to dive unescorted, i.e. with another OW diver. The minimim qualification we're allowed to dive with (in the club I'm a member of) is experienced Sports Diver or Dive Leader. I think Ocean Diver is now called Open Water Diver, and Club Diver is now called Sports Diver, although I'm sure some kind person will correct me. Perhaps one of the Senior Divers on YD, who has experience of both organisations would care to elaborate?

Dave C  
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ Aug. 08 2003,14:24)]Ah.... it depends on how standards are deployed, for instance in my old club new divers , the old Club Diver which is equivalent of Ocean Diver (yes, BSAC have chopped and changed titles a bit over the past few years) was most definately NOT allowed to dive without supervision and had to be buddied with a dive Leader. Only as Sport Diver level were they ok'ed to dive with equivalent or higher grade divers, even then it would depend on the site, depth & experience.
IMO & IME (no rucks please) the typical OW is no where near as capable as a CD/OD, AOW is more like it, I think OW is really only a "resort" grade, which is very useful but very limited

Steve
Don't know to be honest Steve,  just because I have not had experience of diving with CD or OD...  But I don't doubt it for one moment.  

One of the problems is that the OW divers do not have experience of diving for divings sake (If you know where I am coming from on this)...  AOW does give them the opportunity to do extra dives that are if you like proper dives while still under supervision to some degree.

I think that many newly qualified OW and even AOW divers could benefit from getting at least an addition dozen OW dives in with another experienced diver.

But we must not lose sight of the fact that the OW qual trains people to dive in conditions similar to those experienced on their OW course....

The car driving test analogy is a very good example IMHO.

Daz
 

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I completed the BSAC Ocean Diver course in May or June. I don't have the manual here at work but I remember that Ocean Diver qualifies me to dive no-stop to 20m with a person of the same or higher qualification under the supervision of a Dive Marshall. So there are limitations.

In our club they almost always try to mix the pairs so that a more experienced diver is with a less experienced one, or someone who knows the site is with someone who doesn't, or in whatever way is best to make up for any "deficiencies". This suits me as I get to go diving, and I get to play with my mates - brilliant!

It's very difficult, imho, to judge an entire training regime when so much depends on individual instructors and individual students. There are some who think that 5 minutes with their head in the kitchen sink qualifies them to dive in the English Channel - other, wiser, people progress slowly from the sink to the bathtub (
)

The best thing that our course taught us was that there was no need to take any chances. The sea will still be there tomorrow.

tas
 

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I think it's a tricky one - given that basic certification doesn't actually certify you to leap into the water and do whatever dives you like whenever you want, it's very hard to say it needs to be better.

Basic grading just means you're capable of going into the water and coming back up without doing anything stupid.

BSAC insists on you diving with more experienced divers and having the DO's approval when you're newly qualified.

PADI says you must only dive in conditions equal to or better than what you trained in, and tho it tends not to be pointed out often, PADI divers are trained with two or more rescue divers with them at all times - so technically have to have rescue divers watching over them them on any dive they want to do.

So as basic qualifications, I think they're fine. But if you mean are they good enough to give the newby the knowledge and skill to be able to plan and execute a dive in safety on their own, then no, of course they're not.
 

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Hi

I voted couldn't care less, as its the instructor who decides the standard of the pupil. Qualifying on holiday and then bimbling about on a reef dive is different to a 20 mtr wreck dive in March at Farnes. Our BSAC club still matches up club/ocean divers with Dive leaders until they have built up some experience, despite the qualification, and this pretty much takes place until they have reached sports diver stage. So I don't really care what the agencies say, as our club has a sensible policy, and I will only dive with those people who are able to do the dive IMO.

As for holiday diving they are following the dive leader and in my experience most divers have been OK as they are still focussed on what they have learnt, its the experienced divers who get complacent that end up screwing up.

Just my balanced opinion of course


Andy
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (dcrampt @ Aug. 08 2003,14:31)]Hi Jason,

I've just completed my Open Water qual with my local BSAC club. Our club Dive Officer told us we're not allowed to dive unescorted, i.e. with another OW diver. The minimim qualification we're allowed to dive with (in the club I'm a member of) is experienced Sports Diver or Dive Leader. I think Ocean Diver is now called Open Water Diver, and Club Diver is now called Sports Diver, although I'm sure some kind person will correct me. Perhaps one of the Senior Divers on YD, who has experience of both organisations would care to elaborate?

Dave C  
Slight confusion of agency terminology BSAC is Ocean Diver, Sport Diver, Dive Leader, Advanced diver then First Class Diver
PADI is Open water, Advanced OW, then Rescue diver,(not sure where MFA fits in) DiveMaster, and IIRC Master Scuba Diver
http://www.bsac.org/techserv/salt1.htm

But I agree with WL, instructor not the agency, plus influences from your regular "environment" ie buddies and their general attitudes/inputs. My view on the OW qual was based on seeing the Uni kids who've learnt in Thailand/Phillipines etc, often doing their (AOW too) then they join the Uni club and it's a total shock (quite literally folks), no ruck intended, Daz good point about the qual for that environment.
Right, enough of talking about diving, boss is on holiday, it's 3.30, it's POETS Day!
See yers!
Steve
PS Tim will ring you tonight either pre or post dive
 

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PADI OW certification qualifies you to dive to a maximum depth of 18 m under conditions similar to those under which you trained. Assuming the instructor does his/her job, a newly qualified PADI diver should be quite capable of doing just that. I trained here in Sweden, in the middle of a very heavy toxic algae bloom – it has gone down in history owing to extensive fish death – and was, in my opinion, capable of diving safely here under those conditions. A diver who had trained on holiday in Australia wouldn't have been.
Judging by the incident rate – we have "only" 3 or 4 fatalities per year although it is estimated that we do about half a million dives per year – the training can't be too bad. I do think the schools should do more to persuade students to go on and do the RD course, though.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Steve W @ Aug. 08 2003,15:21)]PADI is Open water, Advanced OW, then Rescue diver,(not sure where MFA fits in) DiveMaster, and IIRC Master Scuba Diver
MFA is/was a prerequisite for Rescue Diver, now been replaced by Emergency First Response.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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Lots of interesting replies. I just posted the poll as I've recently been diving with lots of fairly novice, but qualified, divers off the west coast and was to be honest shocked and terrified by the general standard.

I agree that a lot is down to the instructer etc., but this was bad. I saw both BSAC and PADI divers, not just with entry level qualifications, with no knowledge of the most basic procedures- 3 incidents occurred in 2 dives as a result with me performing 2 rescues - and I wasn't in any way responsible legally or otherwise to even be there. Not much fun. (and not even a thankyou!)

Now I accept that you have to offer a competetive package to beginners with regard to cost and investment of time. But surely there has to be some basic level of ability that is absolutely vital to dive safely?

Should basic qualifications focus more on self-reliance with regards to dive planning? Perhaps if divers were instilled with an ability to judge the conditions at a site and to decide if their up to it, and to always err on the side of caution. Skills come with practice, and judgement and confidence come with experience - but there has to be a level of cert. that says 'this guy can make his own decisions and take responsibility for them' Or maybe I'm wrong. ?
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (dcrampt @ Aug. 08 2003,14:40)]I'm I right (or wrong) in thinking PADI allow divers to go from one course up to the next or is there a minimum number of dives you have to complete to qualify for the upgraders course?
Mostly right

An Open Water Diver can start their Advanced straight away, in fact I started mine the same day I finished my Open Water. IMHO it was a good move as it gave me experience of doing a drift dive, diving deeper, night diving etc all whilst still under supervision. You don't need any qualifying dives to do Rescue Diver either.

The silly thing is though that with just 20 dives (including all your supervised ones) you can start your Divemaster. That does seem blatantly riduculous to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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And you can be a fully qualified, working PADI instructor - certifying people to go off and dive without supervision - after only 100 dives. Is that enough experence to teach someone? Is that even enough experience to be responsible for someone?
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (LesleySS @ Aug. 08 2003,14:19)]I think the limits should be raised on when you can start training as a professional/instructor - at the moment, there are too many people throwing themselves into instructor courses when they only have a limited amount of experience under their belt.  This does not fill me with confidence at all!
I'm with you on that. Last year whilst on hols on Tenerife there was a trainee Divemaster who was at 30 mtrs with 50 bar in his single 10 ltr with 5 mins and growing deco on his computer.

I think the training (talking PADI here + I did mine 20 years ago) was fine. For holiday learners MUCH more emphasis should be placed on the fact that conditions are much harder in UK (etc) than in clear warm water etc.

I also agree with doing a certain number of dives before moving onto the next "badge".

I liked the PADI approach and it didn't seem as restrictive (not quite the right word but close enough) as the little bits I have seen of the BSAC club method. Having said that there is a lot of common sense in the BSAC approach (once again from the little bits I know).
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (sprozman @ Aug. 08 2003,15:49)]The silly thing is though that with just 20 dives (including all your supervised ones) you can start your Divemaster. That does seem blatantly riduculous to me.
Yep the great let's fast track to Instructor 100 dives minimum for certification.....

hmmm

And I do know of Instructors passed their IE abroad with just over 100 dives and only about 20 were in the UK and then they return to teach  


The problem is that people want to learn to dive quickly and cheaply, the OW achieves this..  One of the main problems is that people qualify with PADI and then do not have a club where they can gain experience - Their route is to fork out more dosh for more training (Some clubs exist but they are few and far between).

BSAC has the club route but many clubs cannot provide the training quickly enough for many people.

Daz

Shameless plug :-Actually if anyone is interested in the Bristol area, we are looking at setting up a informal club, where people can meet and arrange dive trips.  Any agency BSAC, PADI any qualification, any experience).  PM Wacker or me.  (Actually it was Wacker's idea)

We already have at least a dozen people who we dive with regularly and we are planning trips to Porthkerris (Aug bank holiday and October) + looking at trips next year to Farnes, Abbs and maybe Red Sea.

Obviously all trips will be posted on YD.
 

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Learning the basics of non deco diving in a branch.
There is lecture material, most of it you won't remember and a lot of it you never needed to know.:D
There is water skills that after you learnt the basics, just take practice to get the hang of.:D
When you can demonstrate how to: assemble kit, clear your ears, clear a mask, clear a reg, control buoyancy, air sharing, life saving procedures your no longer a trainee and the club will be needing you to instruct in the pool.:D
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (daz @ Aug. 08 2003,16:14)]Shameless plug :-Actually if anyone is interested in the Bristol area, we are looking at setting up a informal club, where people can meet and arrange dive trips.  Any agency BSAC, PADI any qualification, any experience).  PM Wacker or me.  (Actually it was Wacker's idea)

We already have at least a dozen people who we dive with regularly and we are planning trips to Porthkerris (Aug bank holiday and October) + looking at trips next year to Farnes, Abbs and maybe Red Sea.

Obviously all trips will be posted on YD.
Nice one daz.  But why don't you just get those folk to join YD?  Getting people together from their own and different regions was what we wanted to do with YD in the first place...
 

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<font color='#000080'>This is inevitably fringing on the BSAC v PADI thing, but unavoidable given the subject matter.

As a PADI trained diver I cannot comment on BSAC but must say that from the outside it's always looked like it produces the more competent divers - eventually.

Daz hit the nail on the head though by pointing out the usual lack of club structure for PADI novices. This then leads to too many divers only ever going diving when they're doing a course. Before you know it they're instructors themselves having never gone on a dive just for fun.

I tried to avoid this by going only as far as AOW with the training and then just getting on with the diving. Three years later I'm going to start looking at Rescue Diver.

I think YD can have a huge role to play here in helping novice divers get out and dive. I've done almost all my diving this year through these boards and met many members all far more experienced than me. I've always felt welcome and never a hindrance - a real friendly attitude that I've found absent in some of the clubs I've had contact with.

So, if you think the novices are struggling a bit, don't moan about "standards slipping".

Take them out - Help them out!
 
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