Diver training standard

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A diver training standard is a document issued by a certification, registration regulation or quality assurance agency, that describes the prerequisites for participation, the aim of the training programme, the specific minimum competences that a candidate must display to be assessed as competent, and the minimum required experience that must be recorded before the candidate can be registered or certified at a specific grade by the agency.[1] A standard is a description of a way of doing something that has usually been derived from the experience of experts in a specific field. The purpose is to provide a reliable method for people to share a reasonably consistent expectation regarding the scope and quality of the service.[2] Training standards allow objective comparison between the training provided by various agencies and the competence indicated by certification or registration to the specific standard, though in most cases, training and competence may exceed the minimum requirement much of the time, and variation between newly certified divers can be considerable, partly due to differences in the training, and partly due to qualities of the candidate. Training standards may narrowly prescribe the training, or may concentrate on assessment of exit level competence, and allow recognition of prior learning based on various forms of evidence.

Contents of a diver training standard[edit]


The prerequisites for diver training are basically of two types. For entry level training the primary requirement is that the person is medically fit to dive. Further requirements are usually of the type that indicate a high probability of success in the specific training programme, such as reasonable to excellent physical fitness and swimming ability, competence in the language of training, and basic numeracy.

For advanced training the prerequisites are generally continued medical fitness and a certification of competence against a specific training standard, and may include additional experiences in terms of number of dives, hours of dive time or something similar.

Aims of the training programme[edit]

The detail of most diver training standards is in the description of the equipment which may be used and the conditions under which the certified diver may be considered competent to operate, and the required exit level knowledge and skill competences that provide evidence of ability to operate safely in these conditions.

Training methods[edit]

The training methods may be specified, but more often the result is considered more important than the methods, and instructors may be free to adapt their methodology to suit circumstances, particularly for theoretical knowledge. The reliable performance of critical motor skills under stress is often easiest to achieve by overlearning by repetition under varied conditions to develop muscle memory. This is usually more emphasised in professional diver training, and is also generally left to the school to ensure that skills are sufficiently practiced to be well retained. Complex skills are learned by incremental practice starting with the component actions and when mastered, combining them in more complex combinations. Stressors may be added later to further develop and test the reliability of response. This may be covered in the training standard by specifying both simple the and complex skills.

Minimum acceptable competence[edit]

Requirements for experience[edit]

Some skills and knowledge are not safety-critical. The learner is expected to have some reasonable working understanding of the theory and techniques and can hone their skills at the worksite. For these skills it may only be specified that they must do the exercise satisfactorily once or twice. A minimum number of hours at various depth ranges and a minimum number of dives is also a common requirement, as experience has shown these requirements to be fairly reliable at turning out reasonably competent divers.


Recognition of prior learning[edit]


The training standard may specify the procedure for applying for certification of registration, or this may be specified elsewhere such as in a code of practice or an instructor's procedures manual,

Agencies publishing diver training standards[edit]

Recreational diver training standards

Professional diver training standards

International and inter-agency harmonised standards[edit]


  1. ^ CMAS Technical Committee (December 2010). "Introduction". CMAS International Diver Training Standards and Procedures Manual. CMAS International. p. 5.
  2. ^ "What is a standard?". British Standards Institution. Retrieved 27 April 2019.