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How answer "what is your highest certification level"?

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba' started by Bert van den Berg, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    I will tell them my highest level of certificate but usually just carry my IANTD Tec Nitrox card unless Trimix is expected in the trip.
    A detail log book is also very convincing to the ignorance.
  2. Bert van den Berg

    Bert van den Berg Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: New Zealand
    So after reading your many varied responses (thank you), it appears that there is no consensus about what to say when asked "what is your highest certification level".

    I apologize for not realizing that many people reading my original post are super qualified. I should have been more specific and asked for "relative" rankings of certification for recreational divers (of which I am one).

    PADI says that "Master Scuba Diver Is the Highest Recreational Scuba Diving Certification Level" but it seems to me that the Master Scuba diver certification can be achieved with so many low level activities such as Boat Diver, Fish Identification, etc. as to make that a non contender for highest certification level. A dive operator would then have to ask what courses you did to qualify for Master Diver.

    I am in no way trying to denigrate the Master Diver certificat. Just saying that there are many paths to earning that certificate that dive operators would have to ask additional questions.
  3. RainPilot

    RainPilot OC/CCR Instructor Trainer Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: UAE
    I would say that, generally, the person asking to see your card will have this hierarchy in mind:

    Master Diver
    Dive Master
    OW Instructor

    Note, that isn't necessarily the actual sequence for a lot of agencies, but that seems to be the one that has permeated the industry at large.
    Compressor, Hoag, Hoyden and 3 others like this.
  4. rjack321

    rjack321 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, Washington State
    Charters have asked about my certifications and experience level, but I don't think any of them have asked to actually see a plastic card - even for CCR trimix trips. The only place I have shown a card at all in the last 10 years is Ginnie Springs or Manatee State Park in FL
  5. EFX

    EFX ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: North Central Florida
    Why? If the majority of recreational deep dives offered by dive operators to people showing AOW are done safely, then what's the point in asking for certs or courses above that? If people are killing mosquitos with fly swatters why ask if they own elephant guns! :wink:

    I always offer my master diver cert to boat operators because that is the highest cert I have and I'm proud of it. On one trip that was a negative designation for me. As I was assembling my equipment on the boat before departure, the captain said "Where is my master diver?" I raised my hand. The captain buddyed me up with a newbie who had less than a month of diving. Our dive lasted 15 minutes and I had 1900 psi left in my tank! It was probably a great comfort to the crew that I was paired with such a novice diver.
    Cdncoldwater likes this.
  6. greeniguana

    greeniguana ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    I use my my 1986 Junior OW card as much as I can.

    If a waiver asks for certs, I just write them all down and let the op decide what they think the highest level is :^)
    Hoag, lowwall and tmassey like this.
  7. Manatee Diver

    Manatee Diver Stop throwing lettuce at me! ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Tampa Bay, FL
    Often the counter person isn't a diver, best to keep it simple and show them what they were trained to look for. Thus I present AOW and nitrox for most rec dives. Sure I could present my tech cards, but unless the counter person knows what they are they are going to have to call someone else, which slows things down.
    NothingClever likes this.
  8. napDiver

    napDiver ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: California
    @Bert van den Berg I think @RainPilot is the "list".

    I typically just give them AOW so I don't end up babysitting. I paid to dive, not to babysit for free. Now if people have issues in water, I'll always try to help.

    Once everyone is buddied up, if I'm diving with a DM i'll let them know my experience level so they know not to worry about me too much.
  9. Scott

    Scott Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
    Usually a blank look of, huh. Had that when I used my Altitude Diver card years ago in Cozumel.
  10. tmassey

    tmassey Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Shelby Township, MI USA
    your original question was plenty clear enough.

    For me, that’s a question I absolutely hate. In the recreational world, yeah, it’s fairly (but not completely) linear, and @RainPilot Gave you a pretty good list. But from there? It’s a mess: does cave training “beat” Advanced Wreck? Does tri-mix? How about deco procedures? What about instructor developer? Or course director?

    in a vacuum, there is certainly no answer. Cave training “beats” trimix if you want to dive in a cave. But if you want to dive a 200 foot deep wreck, advanced wreck and trimix “beat” cave.

    If I’m signing up for a boat trip, I do what everybody else does and pull out an advanced recreational cert and my nitrox card. It’s extremely rare for a non-certified diver to ask a question like that, but if they did, I would probably just explain to them the type of diving that I do. Other than boat trip times, the people who ask that question are merely trying to judge me, or put me into a slot. For them, my answer is usually something like “I don’t know, does a straight beat a flush?“ They then usually look at me confused, and that gives me an opportunity to ask why exactly they’re asking, and what information they’re trying to gain. Sadly, it’s usually some sort of contest in their mind.

    Which is why I hate that question. :)
    umhlangan and RainPilot like this.

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