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I was in a dive shop today and two 10 year old boys were getting their rental 7mm wetsuits for a certification dive for Monterey this weekend. Monterey is cold water, poor visibility and has a good deal of surge. They looked even younger than 10 because they were small children.
I guess PADI approves this but I would not let a 10-year-old dive in the cold Monterey waters. I just find it hard to believe that a 10 year old has the mental and emotional maturity to handle the intensity of scuba diving and dire results of panic or foolhardy behavior of a pre-teen.
I disagree. I have taught more than a few who were absolutely ready and capable of problem solving and being a full buddy.
My daughter was a future buddy at 9, and then took the regular OW course at 10. She was much better than the adults in the class. Since then, she is now 13 and has almost 200 dives and some challenging conditions. She fossil dives in Charleston in the Cooper River, she is night, wreck, and deep certified, and is our guinea pig for new DMC's and AI's going through the instructor course. My son started at 11years old. He is now rescue certified. I trust them in hard situations and have seen them handle potential emergencies. No problems.
Besides her, I have seen more than a few who were imminently ready. They stay within limits better than adults and are solid divers. I have also had those who I would not certify because they were not mature enough or just not ready. The instructor has to make the call with them, just like anyone else they teach.
Don't discount all because of age.
I've allowed some to take the class, I've denied others. If you'd walked in and seen a 22 year old fit male angry because the instructor wouldn't train him, would there be a post saying how absurd that is? Because I've told several 20-30 year olds I won't train them because they don't have the maturity to take the course. It's a case by case basis for me.
He is the Diving Safety Coordinator at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
I read the whole document/slideshow. He seems to have a large axe to grind. His repeated implications that those of us who allow our kids to dive or teach others who are under his chosen age limit, are unsuitable terrible people is rather glaring and ridiculous.
Zendiver is a she, and I have had more than just those positive experiences. My children are no different than any of the many I have chosen to train. I have made every single child take the full adult course, with no dumbing down of the instruction. They were held to the same high standard I hold any other diver to. Some were able to do it, some I did not allow certification or training. Every one was an individual determination, just as I do with over 18 yr olds who want to train.
This article is not inciteful, however. This has all been discussed before.
I have known Dr. Harris for almost 25 years. He is definitely one of the most gifted and smartest individuals I have met in dive training. He is a "noted expert" in diving physics, physiology and "high current diving." His only flaw is that he tells it as it is without any sugar coating. He doesn't care much about agencies so desperate to make money and them lowering their training and/or age standards.
Although it is always your choice to choose what is best for you and your kids but you should study his point of view very carefully.
It should be noted that NAUI still has the minimum age for training children at 12 years old.