Oh, C'mon people...
David - Master Scuba Diver/Professor
June 29, 2006 at 10:06:04
Many of the responses on this forum sound like my grandfather, "Why, when I was young, we had to walk 5 miles to school. We should all go back to the old days..."
There are good divers, and there are bad divers. There are good instructors, and there are bad instructors. The PADI vs NAUI vs SSI vs ? discussion is really moot, they pretty much cover the important stuff. The difference is whether the diver learns and retains, and can use the material. And, that is up to them.
When I first got certified, the instructor added little; though I would have classed him as one of the GOOD instructors. It's just that the materials (syllabus, books, supplements) are nearly idiot-proof. IF (and it's a BIG "if") you do your homework, you can pass the exams. If you practice, you can learn the skills. And if you don't, you wont'.
The problem comes when the student, who never really "got it," gets certified anyway. Instructors need to learn to say "you failed," and refuse to sign the C-cards of any one who does. But, this is human nature. Instructors feel sorry for students who paid, and showed up, so they pass them anyway.
When I got my OW cert. there was even a student who HAD to be RESCUED during the second checkout dive. He never completed the others and the instructor signed him off, anyway. Is that a problem with the certifying agency? Of course not.
The "Scuba Diver" certification looks like a small step above a Resort Course. NO ONE who ever took only an hour or two in the pool had enough skills to actually dive, but they do successfully, anyway. They are limited to diving at shallow depths, and with a professional buddy. How does that differ for the "Scuba Diver" certification, except that they have (comparatively) much more training? Relatively, it only says that the novice doesn't have to repeat the onshore part of the resort course every time he or she wants to get wet. Beyond that, it is simply a permanent resort card.
I have seen many potential divers not get involved because the 4 (or 3) days of classes, followed with tests and pool work, seemed like real barrier in front of not even knowing that they want to dive. How does a person know they like it, if they never do it. And if they can't do it without first sitting through 20-plus hours of classes, many will opt out.
This program will give more novice divers the taste, under VERY controlled circumstances. Many will follow with the higher levels of education when they find they want to go deeper, or go without a babysitter.