"Evil" is over the top but how about immoral and irresponsible?...
Marvin S - Instructor/Dive Center Staff
July 19, 2005 at 08:12:12
Lou, before PADI started certifying inadequately trained divers in the stripped-down PADI Scuba Diver course, people "discovered" scuba diving in strictly controlled experience dives with required instructor to student ratios and maximum depth limits. Again, that's requirements, not recommendations. Instructors who break the rules risk losing their instructor's certificate.
That's the way it should be Lou. Turn on people to scuba diving with the strictly controlled experience dives (to enhance safety, we use a one-to-one instructor to student ratio), then move them into the full Open Water training course to make sure they get thorough training in all of the basic skills, especially buoyancy control, which does not come naturally to most people. It takes time and a lot of practice to get it right.
The benefits you describe were all there before PADI Scuba Diver and many divers tell the same story based on their resort dive and subsequent Open Water Course. What's different about PADI Scuba Diver is that it substitutes supervision for thorough and proper training, and puts certified divers in the water who struggle with basic skills and often cannot control their buoyancy, which significantly increases risk of injury or death. But the shared goal by everyone in the diving industry should be to do everything possible to reduce the inherent risks of scuba diving. Therefore, when the industry's largest diver certification agency certifies people who cannot control their buoyancy, it is wrong, it is irresponsible and it is immoral.
Despite all the waiver mumbo jumbo, my guess is that next-of-kin of any PADI Scuba Diver killed in a scuba diving accident could and should bypass the local dive operator and go all the way to the top with a multi-million dollar lawsuit against PADI for certifying inadequately trained divers who require supervision. I'm not a lawyer but I don't see how PADI could successfully defend a product that even some PADI professionals consider defective.