Re: More opinion of PADI, the first place to look for a dive instructor

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Posted by CalDiver on October 18, 2004 at 16:40:09:

In Reply to: More opinion of PADI posted by Northcoast_diver on October 18, 2004 at 11:15:58:

I'm not crazy about the Scuba Diver concept either, but Iím distressed that the author of this piece seems to take the position that as long as someone lets him get away with something heís not supposed to do, he's not responsible for his own safety. Obviously the DM is WAY out of line here -- what was he thinking? The dive pros with whom I work -- all PADI, but many with additional agency instructional certs -- scrupulously adhere to standards -- heck, they're drilled into our heads by our management -- and so I can't quite relate to that guy, though Iím sure such gross negligence occurs out in the world. Still, I just have to scratch my head at the triumphant "a-ha!" tone of the article, when this diver clearly knows that he is not qualified or experienced enough to do the dive, yet he proceeds anyway because he wants to. Maybe he's just exaggerating and I took the bait, but I have to ask what about his own sense of responsibility?

I personally have only certified a few Scuba Divers, and when I have, I've taken them through the entire class and pool portions of the Open Water Course, taken them on two open water dives, and then referred them out to the folks in the warm water who finshed off their full certs a while later. Thus, my limited anecdotal experience doesn't bear out what the article says, and I think his logic makes some weak links in a few places, anyway. But in any event, I suppose those Scuba Divers could have violated every safety rule of diving, including the written statements they signed promising not to do so, and there's nothing I could have done about it.

Itís been a while since I got certified, but I recently experienced an analogous situation on the consumer level with my own Intro to Cave Ė this approx. 4-day cert. lets me get gear and get into the caves of the Yucatan without getting the approx. 8-day Full Cave cert, meaning twice the training. Iíve talked to cave instructors who worry about that Intro cert, because the Intro diver's left to her own sense of responsibility to abide by the penetration and gas limits of the "pre-entry" style Intro cert. Personally, I've done some drilling with experienced cavers in order to prepare for the rest of the course, which I'll finish when I can clear the time, but I guess I wouldn't have to if I didn't want to take responsibility.

In my opinion, though, bigger problems than that raised by the article above are the people who get certified to entry level under ANY program -- NAUI, PADI, LA Co., SSI, whatever (and we can set aside for a moment the fact that the entry-level training standards under RTSC are more similar than most people realize) -- and them simply stop their education, or worse, have looooong layoffs in diving, then pick it right back up again as though they were riding a bike, not breathing underwater. No matter how extensive last summer's entry-level course was, if you've only knocked out a half-dozen or even a dozen dives, then sat idle all winter, and then you try to jump in the water again the next summer with your unfamiliar rental gear (and a prayer)... how safe a diver are you, really? I say this from experience as well, as I was once a hack diver fitting exactly that profile. The second time round I got a refresher after the long layoff, and that time, I DIDN'T get injured...took some more classes from PADI, LA County, NAUI ... learned lots more, got some great experience and stayed safe. Unfortunately, there's no mechanism by which to ensure that a 4-or-6-dive beginner from three years ago doesn't jump back into a nasty, surgy, low viz or deep dive or lobster hunt or whatever with an equally neophyte diver for dive 5 or 7. I've been around people with lots more dives, too, whose skills have clearly degraded after time out of the water, but who don't bother to refresh their knowledge or practice their skills (let alone get their gear serviced) because they're "advanced" or "experienced" or what-have-you. It's really troubling, especially when you're rescuing them from themselves on the first dive out.

Anyway, I'd love to hear opinions in this forum about the whole refresher/re-certification concept -- unless the discussion's been done before, in which case maybe someone can point me to the posts.

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