The joys of diving can change your whole life forever, but diving can also end your life in a few minutes if you get into an unexpected, perilous situation.
Is one course — taken one time — sufficient to ensure we and the divers we dive with are prepared for unexpected, potentially fatal situations? Would you feel comfortable diving with a dive buddy who skills were a bit (or a lot) rusty?
For many of us who dive frequently in a variety of environments, one course may be all we need to get started. We become proficient divers as we gain experience. However, some of us get certified but don’t have opportunities to improve our skills with frequent diving.
It is difficult to argue the fact that skills fade through lack of use. If you become unemployed and can’t find another job within six months, many employers consider your skills degraded.
Yet if you do not dive after certification for six months, a year, or five years, no one will tell you that your diving skills have degraded. The mandatory re-certification camp argues that over time, without additional training:
In addition to safety, there is a financial incentive to require additional training — increasing diver knowledge and confidence means they are more likely to remain life-long divers, which is a financial boost to the dive industry.
Refresher and advanced certification courses are readily available for those who are interested. The problem is that they are optional.
Divers would learn new technologies and re-learn vital safety skills in a mandatory refresher or advanced course.
The other camp wants to make it easy for divers to stay certified once they gain this proficiency. They argue that responsible self-certification has always served the industry well and will continue to do so. The against-mandatory training groups within the industry believe that:
No one wants the “scuba police” implementing a bunch of cumbersome, expensive regulations. Active divers should not be burdened with extra requirements.
The divers who are more likely to become liabilities to themselves and others are the divers who “dropped out” of the sport. Not only is this bad from a safety standpoint, it’s a financial hit to the dive industry.
A simple solution might be:
Why not increase your skills, learn a few new tips, and boost your confidence by taking another course? After all, the more you know, the more relaxed you’ll feel and you’ll enjoy diving even more!
Live in the Dallas area? Swing by or call us (972) 820-7667) at Scuba Toys – we offer year-round courses!
Do you think refresher courses should be required for divers who have been inactive? Let us know in the comments section below!