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View Full Version : What are the rules for dive operators and certification level?



bversteegh
09-13-2007, 23:18
I became certified back in the dark ages (1979 to be exact) when they still taught buddy breathing and dive computers were a dream. I took the class as a college credit (so had probably 15 - 20 hours of pool time practicing skills) so had significantly more instruction than a typical class today. I believe my original c-card was open water. Anyway, I lost my C-card several years later, (late 80's) and PADI decided to give me a new card with a certification level of basic scuba diver - I don't know why it wasn't still an Open Water. I also have a NAUI Nitrox C-card. I am a relatively experienced diver (around 450 dives), have done day, night, drift, warm, cold, deep, shallow, shore, boat etc. - but I only have an electronic log book (on my laptop) to verify experience.

Anyway, my last trip to Coz the divemaster said I was limited to 60 feet max depth because of my C-card Basic rating (didn't have my Nitrox card with me at the time) - he didn't care how many dives I had. I have never had the issue come up before, so thought I'd ask the DM's out there what the rules really are.

Guess I should get off my duff and just take the AOW class, but it still chapped me off. So what exactly are the rules - and does experience matter?

somewhereinla
09-13-2007, 23:51
You should try to start logging your dive in a regular log book, since this is the only reel way a DM can have an idea of what your experience is... doing you AOW is also a good idea if you want to make sure the DM let you go over 60ft deep.

Zenagirl
09-14-2007, 07:37
Have you called PADI and find out what's up with not issuing you an OW card? If they won't correct the error and send you an OW card, then just carry your nitrox card and use it as proof of your certification.

Log books are only as good as the paper they are written on....it's very easy to forge them, so that isn't a guarantee that a DM will consider it as proof of experience.

ScubaToys Larry
09-14-2007, 08:20
That was probably a very rare thing. I have seen folks in Cozumel do 100+ foot dives when they had only a few quarry dives before in their lives. Normally, they don't care much it seems. I remember when I first started diving... many, many years ago, I went to a place in the Bahamas, and they wanted newer divers to do the first day on easy shallow reefs, but if you had good buoyancy and looked comfortable in the water, they'd let you do any dive the second day... or the rest of your time there.

And I've been to places where they never looked at cards at all and didn't care what your level was... so it really depends on the operator you are dealing with. There actually no laws concerning this - it's just what they want to enforce for safety and avoiding lawsuits.

awap
09-14-2007, 09:10
The card I use in Cozumel is the PADI entry level certification which is "Open Water Diver". Padi say it is good to 60 ft. With about 20 trips to Cozumel, I have never had an operator limit my depth. I'm not sure whether PADI screwed up or the operator you dove with screwed it up. Check with PADI and find another dive operator in Cozumel. Who was it anyway?

CompuDude
09-14-2007, 10:42
Technically, that is PADI's depth recommendation for the level of training indicated by the card, but it's extremely rare for it to be enforced.

That said, it's worth getting AOW just for the few idiots who can't understand the difference between a card and an experienced diver.

And actually, once you have AOW, it's worth considering Rescue, which is one of the best courses you can take. Well worth taking, no matter how many dives you have.

nightdiver
09-14-2007, 10:46
My first dive in cozumel was right after my OW, so I'm only certified for 60'. The operator never asked to see our cards or log books and the first dive took us to 80'.

bversteegh
09-14-2007, 21:23
The card I use in Cozumel is the PADI entry level certification which is "Open Water Diver". Padi say it is good to 60 ft. With about 20 trips to Cozumel, I have never had an operator limit my depth. I'm not sure whether PADI screwed up or the operator you dove with screwed it up. Check with PADI and find another dive operator in Cozumel. Who was it anyway?

Sand Dollar at the Reef Club - it was a couple years ago. It was actually the "manager" at the dive shop that said I couldn't go below 60 feet - but he did tell the DM on the boat to not let me go deep on a wall dive. I only dove with them that day and moved my business elsewhere the rest of the week.

I try very hard to not be a blowhard - nothing I hate worse than some prima donna bragging about what a great diver they are, and then not knowing how to assemble their gear, control bouyancy, and tear up the reef. When the diveshop manager brought up the depth limitation (which wouldn't have been a big deal if we weren't scheduled to dive a wall), I offered to do a check dive and demonstrate I know what I'm doing. But he said it didn't matter, they only let people dive to their certification level.

Never happened before or since (and my c-card has no restrictions listed on it other than alternate air source required) - but it has bothered me ever since it happened.

greyzen
09-14-2007, 23:16
sounds like a dive shop guy who either had something to prove, or has dealt with issues like this in the past.

ertechsg
09-14-2007, 23:24
It's mexico... My first blue water dive out of OW was COZ did a wall dive looked at my compu when we were back on the boat 96ft Less then 20 dives. Like Larry said RARE

Zenagirl
09-15-2007, 07:41
Good grief, a friend of mine did a DISCOVER scuba dive to 100' and through a swim thru in Cozumel (can never remember the site, but I know someone here will know it). He was the only discover scuba diver on the boat and the DM just told him to stay close. When he told me that story (before he got certified), the hair on my arms curled!! When HE got certified and realized what the risks of that dive were, the hair on his arms curled!!

diverdad
09-15-2007, 18:45
On my first blue water dives the only thing said on depth was that we were to stay above the dm. We hit at least 80 feet. And i had less than 20 dives.

Flatliner
09-15-2007, 19:00
You did the right thing. You voted with your $$$.

awap
09-15-2007, 19:13
Sand Dollar at the Reef Club -

I have always avoided Sand Dollar more than unknown water sources in Cozumel.

Flatliner
09-24-2007, 21:41
Sand Dollar at the Reef Club -

I have always avoided Sand Dollar more than unknown water sources in Cozumel.

I love the things I learn here that I wouldn't ever get from a travel site.

Theepdinker
09-24-2007, 23:31
First time in CZM I was diving with my wife, son & his GF (both in thier 20's).
I had my AOW card with me, they had BOW cards.
First & second day of diving we showed ourselves capable & the DM said we could name our dive site the rest of our visit.
Third day there we dive Devil's Throat.
I was good with it.

Theep

DevilDiver
09-25-2007, 00:04
sounds like a dive shop guy who either had something to prove, or has dealt with issues like this in the past.

Something to be considered....... I agree with the response to the problem. Complete your scheduled dives and move your business elsewhere.

Possible they could of had a accident of some sort at this shop close to the time of your visit and were being sticklers to prove they are a safe operation.

robanna
09-25-2007, 17:19
A friend of mine said she did Devils Throat on her first dive after she got certified.

tbuckalew
09-25-2007, 17:31
Alot of it may come down to liability. In today's world of legal wonder, its amazing we all aren't getting sued every day!

From a legal standpoint, 60' is an easy to manage depth for most people and was common when I was cert'd back in the late 80's. If you took it upon yourself to exceed that depth and get into trouble and hurt yourself, you couldn't go back and sue the cert agency saying they didn't train you properly. Or the DM (if he attempted to enforce it) could get sued saying he let you go knowing you were only cert'd to 60'.

Of course, in Mexico, all gloves are off anyway. Could be he was just being conservative.

The suggestion to get an AOW (and then Rescue) course was great advice for any diver though.

quasimoto
09-25-2007, 20:22
Well it looks like they are rather relaxed in Coz or I have only ran into dive shops that are strict. I just did a boat dive in the Great Lakes and they required at least AOW with at least a 100' dive in the past 12 months or deep certification. Also did one in FL that AOW was also required. Didn't have the card you didn't get on the boat.

Rockhound76
10-02-2007, 14:08
Interesting information. I was certified NASDS OW in '76. I went on to take their OWII class, which involved a few dives below 60' (one below 100), an out of air ascent from 50', night dives, nav dives and several rescue simulations. I've since been told by several LDS's, including one SSI (they have the NASDS files, at least SOME of them)....that my card is only equivalent to a "Basic OW" certification.

While in Florida over the summer, I tried to sign up for a deep dive I've done many times. The LDS manager looked at my old card, held together with packing tape, and declared that I couldn't go because I wasn't "qualified". I offered my log book, but he wouldn't look at it.

Funny thing, on most of my trips in that area, some from that same shop (under different management), I ran into 'AOW' divers who were outright menaces. No experience. No concept of tables or how to manage diving from a moving boat ( ed.:as in rocking, not leaving-sorry) and absolutely no nav skills.

I wasn't too upset, as it was to be a "side dive" and I was not sure I wanted to hook up with an insta-buddy after a bad experience there the year before.

So, I spent the entire two week trip beach diving with my 14yr. old son. It was great. He has a reasonable 60' Jr. Cert. depth limit, but where we went that was fine. We had a fantastic time. Next year, he'll take AOW as part of his Jr. High School P.E. credit. After that, I guess he'll be able to dive places I can't....

btw, his NAUI instructor went over my logbook and suggested I go aheand and sign up for Rescue. The signed off skills in that old thing were the same as AOW. My wife wonders why, but I guess I'm going back to dive school.

Also, on my first trip to Cozumel in '82 or '83, the local guide I hired took me down through a "black coral tunnel" that popped out of the wall below...well, below any reasonable depth and certainly below my "basic" certification level.

I've gone there many times since, but it's still been over 8 years since the last time. Now I wonder if I ought to think twice about heading down or at least check with a few local operations first.