Why certifying kids should NOT be condoned...
Fred G - Instructor & Tech Instructor/Engineer & business manager
December 14, 2007 at 16:40:59
I have to agree with John B. I too started diving at 12, went on to become a commercial diver and instructor once I was 18. But just because I did it, doesn't mean ANY kid can. That isn't said to be pompous or condescending...it is said as a matter of fact gained in my more than 30 years' diving.
Over that time, I've learned that it is much more than aptitiude, physical ability, or understanding of math and physics that are required of a safe diver. It is maturity, and discipline. All the training and knowledge in the world are useless; if they are not applied appropriately, at the right time, and possibly under highly stressful and adverse conditions. I have myself, watched experienced, knowledgeable, and competent adults, die underwater as a consequence of poor judgement. \
I have met VERY FEW children under 16, that I would consider as having the maturity and discipline to not only plan and execute safe dives, but further to calmly and intelligently deal with unanticipated adversity during a dive, or to have the maturity to make intelligent risk-management decisions. If you had asked me when I was 14, 16 or even 18 years old....I would have told you I was indestructable. That is a very dangerous mentality to have underwater.
I am a proud NAUI instructor, but am disappointed that NAUI too has lowered the certification age under pressure from competition by competing agencies like PADI. In my view, there is more value in being responsible and doing the RIGHT thing, rather than following industry trends.