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Korea to regulate Scuba...

Discussion in 'Scuba Industry News' started by cerich, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. cerich

    cerich In Goats We Trust Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Georgia
    5,894
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    I saw the following today. Obviously the industry in S Korea are very upset.

    GOVERNMENT PLANS NEW LAW AGAINST DIVING IN KOREA
    The Korean Ministry of Public Safety and Security introduces a new law to regulate diving in the country from June 2015. The Korean diving industry was not involved and rejects plans for the new law.
    I am writing this information in English to inform the many foreign divers who have enjoyed diving in Korean waters in the past and who may not have this opportunity again if this law becomes reality. The protest against the new law is supported by dive shops, equipment manufactures and importers, training agencies and scuba magazines. The cornerstones of the new law are:
    • Divers must apply for diving permits to the authorities 14 days in advance including names of all participants
    • Every diver must pay 12.000 Won per day for insurance
    • Divers (regardless of their training status) can only enter the water in the company of an authorized safety diver
    • A group of divers must have 1 authorized safety diver for every 5 divers
    • If more than 5 divers are diving from a boat, a second ‘safety boat’ must be present at the dive site
    • Dive shop staff have to attend yearly safety training with a government authority
     
  2. KathyV

    KathyV Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Midwestern US
    3,860
    1,946
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    Very interesting! I visited South Korea last November and it was a wonderful trip - but I wasn't there diving - I think that the water must be very cold and I am a sissy warm water diver.

    The 12000 won is only about $11 or $12 US dollars. I don't know why the government has gotten so strict about diving but they have had issues with scavengers grabbing valuable items off of historical shipwrecks so maybe that is the cause for all this sudden regulation?! Or maybe there have been safety issues?
     
  3. scoobydrew

    scoobydrew Master Instructor

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    Well, it's not good but this is a lesson that the wider dive community can learn from. Generally speaking it is us (the dive community) that govern our sport. If we do a bad job then someone will step in and do it for us.

    In my three and a half years spent diving full time in South Korea, I will admit that I saw enough things to make me agree that the dive community there is not doing a good enough job of regulating itself.
     
  4. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,114
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    I have encountered a number of very disrespectful and careless divers from Korea and in some places resorts ban them from diving with them. Of course I have also encountered a few very good ones, but the numbers in my experience go against them. Perhaps this is one reason for the government crackdown.
     
    Wingy and Searcaigh like this.
  5. DivoScuba

    DivoScuba Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Korea
    37
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    Any updates on this? Did the law pass? I'm still seeing dive shops running tours, etc. Trying to get back into diving while here in Korea. My take on this is that Korea is going through some soul searching regarding safety standards. After the Sewol ferry disaster there was a big public outcry about various industries ignoring safety regulations.
     
  6. scubafanatic

    scubafanatic Great White

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    Maybe they are trying to prevent unauthorized North Korean Scuba Commando infiltration by having all legitimate diving scheduled/approved in advance, and unauthorized diving will be considered a potential NK infiltration/attack and dealt with accordingly ?
     
  7. Searcaigh

    Searcaigh Chromodoris gordonii Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai, UAE
    5,232
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    Like Bill above I've seen some mental antics by S. Korean divers in the Philippines to make sure I dive at another site to avoid them as they always kick up enough silt destroying visibility and making UW photography almost impossible.

    Divers must apply for diving permits to the authorities 14 days in advance including names of all participants: That sounds a bit extreme, and would be difficult to work. Where I dive regularly I don't know where I will dive in 14 days time.
    •Every diver must pay 12.000 Won per day for insurance: Nothing wrong with that if the fund is used to treat divers with DCS, pay for rescue services etc., and not go into some dodgy pockets.
    •Divers (regardless of their training status) can only enter the water in the company of an authorized safety diver: Well again most S. Korean divers I have come across may need this, perhaps the level of S. Korean divers in trouble require this cover?
    •A group of divers must have 1 authorized safety diver for every 5 divers: As per my last comment
    •If more than 5 divers are diving from a boat, a second ‘safety boat’ must be present at the dive site: Are dive boats in S. Korea unsafe?
    •Dive shop staff have to attend yearly safety training with a government authority: Nothing wrong with annual safety training.
     
  8. Wingy

    Wingy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Perth West Aust.
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    I concur Sear
     
    Searcaigh likes this.
  9. DivoScuba

    DivoScuba Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Korea
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    This wasn't a law specifically targeting divers. It was a general Maritime Safety law that had implications for local divers. It was passed into law the year following the Sewol Ferry disaster, which caused a huge scandal here when flagrant safety violations were exposed as the reason behind the sinking of the M/V Sewol. It caused the deaths of 304 people, mostly high school students on a field trip.

    The thing is, I haven't seen any mention of the insurance fees or other details prescribed by the law listed on dive sites.
     
  10. DivoScuba

    DivoScuba Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: South Korea
    37
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    I contacted the (former) owner of Big Blue 33 down on Jeju to see if there were updates. The law did pass, but it's being implemented slowly, so there are still regulations being added even now. It has created a lot of paperwork and stress for dive shops. He ultimately sold his shop to some Koreans and moved to Indonesia to start a new venture "Big Blue Indonesia". Big Blue 33 took my calls but didn't mention that they are under new management. A couple of the other small English dive shops, English SCUBA training centres in Korea that I've contacted over the past two weeks have disconnected phone numbers and seem to no longer be in business. So, if nothing else, it seems to have driven out most if not all of the foreign run dive shops and English training options here. That's unfortunate.
     

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