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What, specifically, should be the minimum training?...

Scott - OWD/Engineer
March 20, 2006 at 18:02:38

I have a significant amount of experience at developing training courses for different types of certification.  Normally, training development begins with agreement on the minimum that must be mastered to be certified at a given level.  Then the course work is built to get the student to the proper knowledge/experience level.

Most of the discussion here seems centered on whether a new scuba diver should have the choice of accepting a "lesser" level of certification. It isn't simply a matter of the right of the new diver.  We don't allow people to fly an airplane or operate a milling machine until they master a minimum set of skills and knowledge. Scuba diving should be no different. It is a matter of safety, not convenience. But, what are the minimum skills?  I don't see anyone discussing what the minimum criteria should be? In other words, what knowledge and skills are "missing" from the PADI Scuba Diver certification that absolutely must be mastered before a new diver can jump in the water?  And, then, what should the restrictions be?

Incidentally, most training organizations make a concerted effort to give certification levels names that do not oversell the level of training. I would offer that PADI could rightly be criticized for using the term "Scuba Diver" for its lowest level of certification.  I think they do include a lot of caveats about this certification on their website, but consumers will typically look for the lowest cost option that gets them the minimum they need.  A consumer could easily believe that a certification called "Scuba Diver" was a full level qualification when they are looking for a course.  Certainly, a name like "Basic Skills Diver" would be more honest if not as marketable.

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