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Why are certifications valid forever?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by TN-Steve, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. TN-Steve

    TN-Steve Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Clarksville, TN, USA
    I'm sorry if you misread my original post to suggest that I felt that there should be a scuba police or that I was advocating for government regulation on the activity. That wasn't the intent, it was to clarify my knowledge. Having read, pondered and evaluated the various posts here I was incorrect in viewing the c-card as a "permit" and not simply as a "Statement of Training Completed".

    I hope you never have to quit, self-regulation is a great thing, and I certainly wouldn't want to see that changed. Life is too short to deal with excessive layers of bureaucrats.

  2. CarlGH

    CarlGH Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New Hampshire

    I also have a ham license - renew yes, but there is no test or recertification required.

    Motorcycle license - same as car license and it's just an addendum on the car license plus a small additional fee on top of the car license. Yes, it can be your primary license but almost never is.

    But again, this is because both of these come under some government control. Driving is because it affects other people - you share the road. Amateur radio - because you share the RF spectrum with other amateurs and often have secondary allocations in many of the VHF and UHF frequencies.

    I guess you could technically say you share the ocean :^) but it's really not the same thing. There's not quite the same amount of danger to anyone else as when you're driving a car and you really can't interfere with as many people as you can if you're a bad amateur.

    So, there's a big difference.

    Model airplanes - no certification, but almost every club requires you to belong to the AMA to fly there (it covers you with insurance). That's an annual renewal.

    Martial Arts - To be an instructor you have to register in New Hampshire, but not to practice Martial Arts.

    Music - no license needed there.

    Technically, you do NOT need a certification to go diving, there is no legal requirement for it. You can buy your gear, and as long as you can find someone to fill your tanks, or, you can buy a compressor, you can go diving on any beach you want. You might have a hard time finding an operation to take you out on their boat though.

  3. evac93rd

    evac93rd Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Conyers, GA
    Actually we do have a form of re-certification in the recreational SCUBA world...if you go on a boat dive or dive with certain commercial operators, they usually insist on certain minimums like Advanced Open Water or a dive with in 2 years w/o a refresher course.

    To be honest, in my other job, a physician we have re-certification every 10 years in my specialty. While this may sound like a "good" thing it is merely a useless money-grab that wastes the doctors time, provides jobs for a bunch of worthless mandarins at several dozen specialty certification boards and does absolutely nothing to help insure patient safety. Trust me Steve, you really don't need a mandatory recert, the "market" will take care of things.
  4. MikeFerrara

    MikeFerrara Instructor, Scuba

    But you don't need a license to ride a motorcycle. You need the license to operate it on a public roadway where your mistake can hurt me.

    In the US, licensing has generally been about restraining one person from causing harm to another. There are all sorts of legal ways for folks to cause harm to themselves.
    AfterDark and nimoh like this.
  5. FinnMom

    FinnMom Divemaster Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Finland
    I agree with the general idea that laws do and should only restrict you from causing harm to others.

    But all these good reasons aside, I suspect one additional reason the basic open water scuba cert does not expire is that it would be that much harder to sell.
    drrich2 likes this.
  6. String

    String Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Grand Cayman
    Because myself and anyone else can forge a log book entry in minutes. Especially if there is motivation for doing so such as being allowed on a dive or avoiding a costly re-training fee.

    The systems are already in place as far as rec. level diving go anyway. Any decent operator will talk to you about experience and if they think its needed will suggest or in some cases demand a checkout or review dive.
  7. Wetsuit Pirates

    Wetsuit Pirates Angel Fish

    Like others have hinted at, its much more like taking a course and graduating. Once you get your diploma nobody is going to take that away from you.
  8. bobfmdc

    bobfmdc Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Falls Church, VA
    Interesting perspective. I also started diving long before cert cards were required. My understanding is that there is no legal requirement to have one--it is now just an industry standard. My recollection is that it started as a dive shop initiative to make people take courses and thereby generate revenues. I wonder if the insurance industry really did have a hand in it as a risk mitigation factor for them. Whoever brought it about, generating a higher cash flow was the root cause.

    I recall that at various times in the past, the dive industry (principally the dive shops) have attempted to establish a new standard--the expiring certification. So far, thank god, they have failed. In other areas, they have been successful, like their lobbying to get the feds to require visual inspections on aluminum tanks so they could tell people the feds are making them do VIPs on all tanks (steel and aluminum) every year. Not so, of course, but it works unless you have your own compressor.

    Expiring certifications are yet another screw the customer (the diver) idea. Stay tuned.
  9. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    Not at all.

    The first true certifications were issued by Los Angeles County. It was part of the government services for the county. The Los Angeles county dive instructors saw a need to expand their program beyond those borders, but they could not legally spend tax payer dollars outside those boundaries. They ended up forming an agency called NAUI for that purpose. The man who was the director of Los Angeles County became the first director of NAUI. They were a non-profit organization surviving (barely) chiefly on donations. The YMCA was also instructing, but it was not truly unified; each YMCA was acting more independently than you think of with an instructional agency. Dive shops around the world were teaching students how to dive so that they could sell the equipment for it, but they were not issuing certifications. My cousin learned that way. He took some lessons at a local sporting goods shop and dived with the equipment he bought there, but he was never certified and eventually gave it up. It was independent dive instructors across America who came together for several training sessions that agreed upon the standards under NAUI and unified instruction beyond the Los Angeles area.

    In its earliest years, NAUI had to face the question of how they could attract new students to be certified, as did everyone else. The YMCA focused on forming dive clubs to attract students, and NAUI decided the way to do it was by teaching classes through universities. Neither approach was in any way associated with retailing.

    An organization was formed to help these sporting goods shops sell diving equipment. It was called the National Association of Skin Diving Stores, or NASDS. After several years they realized that the best way to get customers to buy gear was to offer classes in the proper use of that gear. They therefor created a certification program and changed their name to the National Association of Skin Diving Schools, retaining the NASDS initials. Years later NASDS merged with SSI, and the NASDS leadership then bought out the SSI leadership, so NASDS is now essentially SSI.

    After several years, the Chicago area NAUI group became at odds with the new NAUI leadership, which had made a decision to focus their work on the west coast. They split off and formed a new agency, PADI, and they agreed with the NASDS notion that the way to meet new students was not through clubs or universities but rather through dive equipment retailers.

    So, the certification process did not at all begin with retailing, and it was a number of years before they became interwined.
    captain likes this.
  10. xlow

    xlow Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Central Connecticut. Close to Portland Quarry.
    I believe that the first certification course exam should be a must. However I would definitely require much more than 2 dives to get certified. Maybe 6-10 in different conditions, temperatures and visibility. But then... why would anyone require me to pay again for already pretty pricey hobby?! Every 5 years??!!! If someone is an idiot and dives into the trimix depth on air (or even worse Nitrox), then... it is solely his fault and his life. Why would I need to be punished for such irresponsible behavior of certain individual? (lat. Volenti non fit iniuria which means "to a willing person, injury is not done"). Enough said!

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