Perhaps another point of view (+, long)

Great Dive Trips at Bargain Prices with the Sea Divers

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Posted by NightDiver on October 14, 2002 at 16:35:02:

In Reply to: Help! Need some feedback for my research paper! posted by Desi Torres on October 14, 2002 at 11:37:55:

Desi -

I don't think I qualify as an expert, but here's a suggestion for your research. Try to get your hands on DAN's ( 2001 survey of diving accidents. Essentially, DAN tries to document, compile and categorize the contributing factors to the dive-related incidents that occur throughout the calendar year.

If I recall the survey correctly, I think the largest incidence of accidents was among the grouping of divers who were previously certified, but had not dove in a significant amount of time. I do not recall what constitutes "significant," but I don't think it was necessarily ten years either. I think it was simply an inactive period of greater than one or two years.

Anyway, I would think this would tend to be supportive of an argument for recertification for non-active divers. Another interesting point of reference would be insurance companies. I recently purchased a large life insurance policy and did some advance research with my financial advisor regarding disclosing the fact that I scuba dive. I log roughly 80 dives a year and was concerned that this would negatively affect my insurance rates. Instead, it turns out that infrequent diving (resort/vacation diving, etc.) is considered a higher risk activity by insurance companies than regular diving.

The question (and I think this is what tecdiver is driving at) is whether simply recertifying or refreshing inactive divers is enough to ensure their safety. The answer is most likely no. The simple reason is that anything that they pick up in the refresher will likely be lost the minute an emergency arises underwater. Why? Because they haven't practiced the skill often or thoroughly enough to execute it under stress.

However, and this is where I differ from the preceeding posts, I don't think that refresher courses are necessarily worthless. Frankly, I would rather be paired with a beginning diver, who has recently been certified, than one who was certified years ago and has been inactive for a significant period of time. Again, why? Because the new diver is more likely to "know what they don't know." Essentially, they are still in "learning" mode and are willing to take direction and will seek guidance when faced with uncertainty.

Also, I think there is a greater likelihood that a newly certified diver will be up-to-date in his knowledge of and use of dive gear. This equates to less task loading underwater.

I think the requirement for a refresher course, after an inactive period of diving, would address both of the above points. I would much rather see someone struggle to regain their bouyancy control in a pool than on a deep wall dive. Also, at least they'll have a refresher on how to assemble their rig, operate a dive computer, etc.

Hope this helps a bit. My email is above if you would like to ask more specific questions. By the way, if you are going to discuss a recertification requirement, you're also going to have to cover regulation (How do you enforce this? Who's going to determine whether you have or have not been inactive?).


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