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Diving Certification Required?

Philadelphia, PA
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191 posts
34 reviews
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Diving Certification Required?

Hi everyone,

I'm a PADI certified Advanced Diver. However, my first dive in 17 years was last year in Akumal, Mexico. I paid for a "test" session in the pool where they evaluated my skills and deemed me good enough to dive. The test session was a run through of a few "underwater emergency" scenarios (mask replacement, buddy breathing, remove BCD and put it back on, etc...). I was deemed "good to dive" and went on two 50ft dives. They lasted ~50 mins each. I would've done additional dives but I ran out of time.

I'm not looking to go on any real technical dives in West Bay. 40-50 ft dives is good enough.Would it be possible to do something like this in West Bay? Am I going to be required to renew my certification?

Thanks

Ankit

Roatan, Honduras
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694 posts
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1. Re: Diving Certification Required?

You will not need to re-new your certification, but they will require you to do a "refresher" of sorts, which is pretty much what you did last time. All reputable dive shops will not allow you to dive without a refresher dive if you have not dove in the past year. Its not only a matter of your safety, but also of the other divers around you. The average cost to do a refresher on the island is $50.00 and it consists of a bit of on land instruction, and then a short shallow dive to assess your skills.

Edited: 30 April 2016, 02:08
Menlo Park...
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2. Re: Diving Certification Required?

I am not aware of the limitations PADI puts on AOW divers who lack recent experience. I'd bet that, being PADI, they are going to want to collect your money somehow.

But you should not limit yourself to 50 feet in Roatan because of the exceptional formations, channels, and swim-thrus you will find everywhere below that depth. You really don't want to miss these.

Having said this, I just spent the morning diving shallow with my brother, who is a beginner, and of course it was fabulous. 7 turtles the first dive, vivid reef tops, tons of fish, and a friendly grouper that swam next to us on the second dive like a big puppy. If puppies swam, that is.

hudson valley
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3,176 posts
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3. Re: Diving Certification Required?

Not to defend PADI, but no agency makes money from refresher courses. There's no instructional materials or card, so the money only goes to the shop. A shop that requires a refresher after only a year without diving is looking out for their own bottom line more than your welfare. Even in the Cayman Islands, where they official policy is that divers should have a nanny and vigilant supervision, the recommendation is just to start with a shallow dive if it's been 18 to 24 months since your last dive and recommend a refresher if it's been 24 to 36 months. It's only after 36 months that a refresher is required. Of course no cookie cutter approach can account for how much experience somebody had before taking time off or how well they retain skills and information.

That said, with the long break and only a couple of real dives since, it would be a good idea to refresh your knowledge and do a bunch of skills practice. Brief practice in pool means you can manage some basic skills when you're calm and everything is going smoothly. It doesn't come close to guaranteeing that you'll react well in a real emergency. You can do take a refresher, or you can study and practice on your own. I'd suggest reading a course book or something like Dennis Graver's "Scuba Diving" and doing some skills practice on several dives.

I'll second the opinion about not limiting yourself to shallow dives, since there's some great wall diving available. In case it's part of the knowledge that could stand to be refreshed I'll also note that shallow dives aren't automatically safer. There's a bit more margin of error for some things, but it's entirely possible to kill yourself doing a10' dive.

Tokyo, Japan
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for Hakone-machi, Minato
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4. Re: Diving Certification Required?

PADI has all the certificate information online. Tell the dive shop your name and date of birth, and they should be able to find you.

To defend the dive shops that ask you to take a refresher if you haven't dived (dove?) for awhile.... 1), it's for YOUR own benefit. Your body (and your brain) may have forgotten the basics and YOUR LIFE could depend on it if something happens, and 2) there's a big thing called LIABILITY. Safety comes first. I've seen dive shops that had to close because they "lost" someone. It's sad for everyone. I don't know if a "refresher course" will make a difference, but if you're not a repeater at a dive shop, they wouldn't have a clue what your ability is, even with AOW.

I've had thorough refreshers (in the classroom as well as in the ocean), and have had lousy ones sitting on the beach, just getting lectured on what to do. The latter was a waste of money as the "lecture" was no different than a briefing before a dive.

Here's a good article.

…about.com/od/scuba101/p/How-Do-Refresher-Co…

Roatan has great places in "shallow" waters. There's no need to go "deep" for your first dive. Why, you could spend 30 minutes at your "3 minute safety stop" just cruising the reefs at 5-8 meters!

Happy diving!

Philadelphia, PA
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191 posts
34 reviews
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5. Re: Diving Certification Required?

Thanks for your feedback everyone. I would definitely take a refresher course. I just didn't want to spend time and money on recertifying since I don't see myself diving more than once a year.

Roatan, Honduras
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2,243 posts
3 reviews
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6. Re: Diving Certification Required?

I wonder how it works if they ask to see a log book and a huge percentage of my dives are solo dives and no one signed the book so then I go and sign my own pages ? Hmmmm, Something to think about.

Menlo Park...
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7. Re: Diving Certification Required?

I guess a shop COULD ask to see your log book just like it COULD snow in Roatan. But I've never been asked for mine. Must be my honest face.

Roatan, Honduras
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2,243 posts
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8. Re: Diving Certification Required?

I have never been asked to show a certification card except for the Bay Islands Aggressor when it was based at Parrot Tree but with these posts I was wondering if things were changing

Philadelphia, PA
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191 posts
34 reviews
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9. Re: Diving Certification Required?

With safety being stressed so much by PADI, the log book honor system never made a lot of sense to me. Very easy to cheat the system. What they should implement is having the dive company update an e-log on PADI's database. However this would add to the already expensive certificaiton process.

hudson valley
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3,176 posts
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10. Re: Diving Certification Required?

As a certified diver my safety is my responsibility, not the responsibility of a shop or instructor (or a buddy, FTM). The job of a dive op is to provide me with a service, and to offer me accurate information about that service. It's up to me to decide whether or not a particular service is suitable for my needs and wants.

The problem with a dive op wanting to see a logbook is that the dive op wants to see your logbook. The only thing worse than insisting on seeing recent entries is expecting those entries to be verified by an instructor or DM. All that does is penalize competent divers who are able and willing to dive without an instructor or DM, while showing that others have gone diving and returned in a condition that allowed them to ask to have their logbook stamped. I expect that most dive ops have similar thoughts on the subject, and that's why divers are so rarely asked for a logbook.

And, for anyone who may not realize it, there are dozens of training agencies besides PADI that instructors and dive ops may be affiliated with for training and marketing purposes. There are thousands of dive charters that aren't affiliated with any training agency. That makes the idea of an internet database even less realistic than expecting personal logbooks to establish competence.