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Certifying experience/ability of a diver when booking a dive

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by blackwhiteroyalairforce, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. chrisch

    chrisch Solo Diver

    Any idiot can scuba dive. So some people that dive are idiots. Anyone that can find a way of reliably identifying this sub group of people in any activity; paid, unpaid, leisure or occupational will soon become a millionaire and deeply unpopular with the world's many idiots :D
    KWS and northernone like this.
  2. northernone

    northernone Instructor, Scuba Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Waskaganish (Cozumel currently)
    Applying your expertise from another field to this one is welcomed! It's easy for us to be comfortable in the status quo in how things are done so an external perspective can be helpful. I suppose my cautions could be summarized as a notice not to discount or dismiss the cumulative decades (centuries plperhaps) of experience the replies you received provided. There might not be consensus but there is quality pieces provided. I'm no authority among the other replies myself. But some people's lives, families and livelihoods have depended on getting the right combination of public service and safety to allow their businesses to survive and they've shared some important components.

    I look forward to your continued forum participation. Hope your ear allows you to get underwater again soon. I lost years of diving to a blown ear drum (reverse block freediving) it is was wonderful to return.

    All the best,
  3. sigxbill

    sigxbill Tech Instructor

    1. How are you going to know this? Professional level certified divers are often included in lawsuits they had nothing to do with - they were just on the boat - or randomly assigned to a buddy. So it is in the best interest of the professional level diver to not disclose their professional level (DM+) when signing up for a trip. So how are you going to know they are a DM+ then?

    2. I have seen plenty of DM+ divers that weren't skilled to the level I think you are assuming they are. For example, I have video from a recent dive that shows an OW student, an AOW+ diver, and an instructor swimming along together. When I ask people to pick out the instructor in the video, they always pick the AOW+ diver - because the instructor looks almost like the OW student!

    3. There have been times I have tried to pre-arrange advanced dives, and even though I disclosed my professional levels (when disclosing my advanced diver levels didn't seem to be enough), the operator declined to take me.

    4. most dives I prearrange usually result in conversations that make it clear to the operator what my level is, so they often don't bother asking to see any card when I get there. Since I am usually hiring them as a guide / outfitter / logistics manager / transportation provider anyway, they have the opportunity to asses me along the way - which essentially results in a checkout dive that progresses into something more advanced.

    5. I think your project is making a huge assumption - that the motives of all operators in qualifying an unknown diver are only to verify that the unknown diver meets the minimum standards of the dive they are attempting to sign up for. There are other motives ...

    There are probably centuries of experience in this thread so far, and I agree with the overall emerging theme that I profiled in my earlier post - that procedures are varied - in part because of the varied standards used to quantify a diver's ability in a cert (does the card indicate the criteria for certification of the certifying instructor or the agency? and can you quantify the variation between the instructors and agencies?). It seems that pretty much the only certs that can be relied upon to accurately define a diver's level are not how high the cert is (including professional certs), but rather those issued by gue and utd.

    One last thing - I know of many certs at all levels that were bought and not earned ... how do account for that?

    good luck
    northernone likes this.
  4. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Great White

    I'm sure as a professional software developer you know there isn't a way to verify any information I type into a web form, there's only "I agree" button which may or may not be later found legally binding, both ways, if it comes to a lawsuit.

    Secondly, as everyone else says, the motives differ. In popular vacation destinations the goal of pre-booking dives is often so the op has an idea how many people are coming on a given day and can plan out the boats and DMs and rental gear. They are not very interested in your skill level at this point. Liveaboards are different, and technical dive trips are different still.

    Make sure you don't come up with a conservative improvement that neither side universally wants, nor needs. :wink:
  5. Edward3c

    Edward3c Instructor, Scuba

    The problem with relying on dive qualifications is they don’t always line up.

    Just comparing BSAC v PADI

    Ocean Diver > Open Water/Advanced Open Water
    Sports Diver > Rescue Diver
    Dive Leader > Dive Master
    Advanced Diver > No equivalence
    First Class Diver > No equivalence

    I'm BSAC Advanced and have been asked a few times if I wanted to continue my training by doing the Rescue Diver course. I usually, change dive operator at that point.

    In addition, Nitrox is taught as a core skill not a separate course. Similarly, dives with mandatory deco is taught in Sports Diver.

    BSAC is not unique there are other agencies with similar grade name ambiguities.
  6. blackwhiteroyalairforce

    blackwhiteroyalairforce Angel Fish

    Hi guys,
    sorry, have been swamped with other projects and had no time to come back to this with a reply.
    I believe there is space for improvements, but probably it is not exactly where I was hoping for it to be (in the booking section).
    You all raised points that either confirmed the doubts I already had or added extra points worth of consideration.

    1. Up to the user to disclose it. The booking system would collect anyway the cert details (and an automated system could be put in place to sort the level out automatically). Helpful or not in terms of qualifying a diver experience, it is still a basic bit of info worth collecting.
    2. This is one of the main problem that I will have to deal with, as surfaced in this thread.
    3. How much do you think that this point is related to point #2? What are, in your opinion, the reasons for the decline despite proving professional level certs?
    4. That is another point I initially wasn't evaluating. Logistic support only vs full dive guidance.
    5. Would be great if you could let me know more about this point. If there is more to it, then I am probably working on the wrong side of the project.

    Avoiding useless approaches is the motivation behind starting this thread and asking to people with first-hand experience!
    Note that my desire wasn't directly to avoid lawsuits. If there is a lawsuit, it means that something went wrong in the process. Would be better to fix that possible problem ahead if possible.
    My goal would be to make the entire process easier for both sides (see point #3 above), taking out as much uncertainty as possible from it. Of course I have to tune my hopeful expectations to the real world.

    Valid concern, but I believe that equivalence tables could be drawn in a more or less granular way (more or less the same you did in your post).
    Keeping certs at the center of the picture, I am way more concerned about certs bought or anyway not earned as pointed in previous posts.

    For this reason probably certs would have a marginal weight in such a process.
  7. Bogtrotter

    Bogtrotter Nassau Grouper

    But your certification card is your license to dive- it's central, what level you have determines what you should be qualified for. What is the point otherwise?
  8. Edward3c

    Edward3c Instructor, Scuba

    There are two 'standards' already for comparing diver qualifications.

    1. the out-dated CMAS star system. (It started to fall apart after CMAS entered the training market in competition with the bodies it portrayed to give standards to, hence the ISO Standard).
    2. ISO accreditation as held by PADI, GUE and BSAC (there must be others)
  9. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Great White

    Nobody can stop someone from obtaining every piece of equipment required and doing $THING they are not qualified for. FVO THING including but not limited to owning firearms, driving vehicles, diving, flying, ... For diving in particular the point is we're largely self-regulating: my brain is what determines what dives I am not qualified for, and that is why attempts to help me by inventing "safer" universal procedures may be met with distrust, rejection, hostility, and in some jurisdictions: deadly force.

    This was your friendly public service warning shot.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
  10. Bogtrotter

    Bogtrotter Nassau Grouper

    I'm not for more rigorous vetting by operators, I'd much prefer more rigorous training in the industry at the front end. However many if not most divers rely on operators/boat owners to get to their desired dive locations and safety concerns and some degree of vetting seems to be their core concerns these days. The problem stems from the popularization of diving and insufficient standards- this was started within the industry not meddling by some evil external entity.

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