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#1712
Fit to Dive
slippin2darknezz - 2/05/2011 6:59 AM
Category: Health & Safety
Replies: 13



Diving is an active sport requiring a certain level of physical fitness. DAN has written several articles on the topic and has a section dedicated to staying fit. I am sure every diver has been on a dive trip and seen at least one diver which they questioned that persons level of fitness to dive. Since each level of diving, OW, AOW RD, DM is a life time certification, should divers be required to conform to the same standards as commercial divers and be required to take an annual/ biannual dive physical and swim test to maintain certification?
#5050
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diverray - 2/05/2011 10:03 AM
I didn’t know commercial divers had to pass repetitive physicals.
I think it depends on what type of diving you are doing. If you are training inexperienced divers for pay, maybe you have some professional obligation to prove fitness? If you are diving for fun, it is really between you and your buddy. You could refuse to buddy with someone who appeared physically unfit, but that is not as easy to tell as you might think. Could a dive master refuse to lead a diver that looked unsafe? Again, you can’t always tell by looking. It is usually more obvious after the dive is underway. You could make a similar argument for poorly trained/ inexperienced divers.
#1789
tmac_diver - 2/05/2011 2:17 PM


Hi There, this is a great topic. This idea, although a very good one, is/will not be recieved well by the general scuba diving public. I am afraid that most will disagree with the idea of being forced to re-qualify by demonstrating certain pre-set physical skills or endurance, even if the physical skills/endurance level was skewed based on age and experience. The reasons that I have heard are: we need as many scuba divers as possible; all scuba divers dive different ways, some very relaxed and safe and others very stressed and take great risks, therefore it would be very hard to come up with some sort of guideline or standard that would be fair to all; we dont need any scuba police. My opinion is that it would be a good idea for certifed divers to have the opportunity to re-qualify if they want to. If they wanted to test themselves and see how they manage by having some sort of skill/endurance test, they would be able to. Of course, most could do this on their own, but I think it would be a good idea to offer some sort of cert, beyond a refresher course that would show that someone has done a re-qualify course.


I am pretty sure that this idea will flamed by other divers. There are divers who refuse to practice good safe dive habits, apparently because they dont want anyone telling them how to dive, regardless of the sound logic of the safe scuba diving habit and how accepted it is in the community. I am certain these people will not be in favor anyone judging there fitness/skill level. My opinion is that it is a good idea to offer it as an option if someone wanted to test themselves.
#1639
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SeaGoat - 2/05/2011 7:40 PM


I’m not too keen on the idea of forcing people to recertify and fitness varies greatly according to the person and the type of diving they want to do.


However, this is always a topic that comes up with my dive students. I teach a lot of military people and they are interested in incorporating diving into their fitness routine and vice versa. (Personally, I like to do a little strength training and cardio. I’ve also found that regular yoga practice helps with air consumption.)


I always make sure I talk to them about diving within their limits and if it has been a while, to be up front with their buddy or dive master. Most importantly, I give them permission to be judgemental about the skill/health/sanity of the people they dive with. Their life depends it!
#3237
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daz88 - 2/06/2011 8:03 AM
Why would a recreational diver be forced to conform to the same standards as a commercial diver? Is the rec diver working long hours and doing stressful work under the water? Is he getting paid for it? NO. If the water is rough, or viz is no good, or whatever reason the rec diver can skip the dive and go drinking or whatever. The guy working underwater doesn’t have a whole lot of choice about going down just because the viz isn’t that good. (or whatever)
People should dive to their physical level as well as their diving skill levels. And if they don’t…..oh well, I guess they would be diving long. You can’t fix stupid. I don’t have the same physical level (on lots of things) as I did when I was younger, but I have a higher skill level on many things than when I was younger. Hopefully my brain has improved over the years as well. If not, oh well……I won’t be around to make stupid decisions. Too many laws out there already just to protect the stupid people! Lets thin out the herd a little. J
#28701
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RAWalker - 2/07/2011 1:53 AM


When using a commercial dive operator for your recreational diving under most circumstances the dive op with require each diver to sign a medical release form. It’s a fairly standardized form and is used to scan for divers that may not be physically fit to dive.


I’ve been dealing with these forms since my OW certification. I do answer the questions honestly and this requires a doctor’s sign off statement for me to dive. I take a copy of the standardized form with me each year for my annual physical and have my doctor sign off on my diving. For any dive OP that may require it I keep a copy with my gear. So in effect unless all your dives are private ventures with your buddies then you should be required to have a physical withing 1 year of a dive.


I’m 48 and have been diving 4 years. I am now a DM and am headed towards Instructor in the near future. I’m actually in better physical shape now than when I became a DM but far from being an athlete. Yes, Diving is a physical sport but it is also one of skills and risk management. It is more important to properly judge your own limits and make decisions based on them. If you are taking on a dive that may be close to your limits be conservative and communicate the risks with your divebuddys.
#5919
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SCUBASMITTY - 2/07/2011 8:57 AM
From daz88: Why would a recreational diver be forced to conform to the same standards as a commercial diver? Is the rec diver working long hours and doing stressful work under the water? Is he getting paid for it? NO. If the water is rough, or viz is no good, or whatever reason the rec diver can skip the dive and go drinking or whatever. The guy working underwater doesn’t have a whole lot of choice about going down just because the viz isn’t that good. (or whatever)
People should dive to their physical level as well as their diving skill levels. And if they don’t…..oh well, I guess they would be diving long. You can’t fix stupid. I don’t have the same physical level (on lots of things) as I did when I was younger, but I have a higher skill level on many things than when I was younger. Hopefully my brain has improved over the years as well. If not, oh well……I won’t be around to make stupid decisions. Too many laws out there already just to protect the stupid people! Lets thin out the herd a little. J



 

DITTO ;; LET THOSE WHO DIVE DECIDE !!!
#109
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bubblesup - 2/07/2011 3:38 PM


Simply no. The vast majority of divers understand their limitations, seek skill updates when rusty and dive accordingly. I’m more concerned about the new diver making bad decisions than someone who may be out of shape.
#2901
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AOW_dude - 2/15/2011 12:50 AM
Say, if I were an instructor maybe I wouldn’t object too much to get an annual physical to proudly maintain my cert. In your survey you kinda lumped instructors and ’regular’ divers together. Instructors are somewhat similar to commercial divers in that they’re also making big bucks off diving (okay, I’m obviously kiddin’ here). Point is, a higher level of responsibility might just warrant a higher level of physical check-ups. A commercial company doesn’t want their divers to screw up and cost them big bucks, that’s why they check them annually. You’d think that a diver training organization would also require their instructors to get an annual check-up so as to not possibly cost them embarrassment or even lives of students in the worst case scenario. Yet, they do not have such a requirement, I guess there are other factors at play here, ask PADI.
#299
impilcature - 2/15/2011 4:22 AM
Brace yourself:

Fat people dive too. Smokers dive. Drug addicts and drunks dive. People with mental disabilities dive. Some people dive while doing all of the above.

If you are my dive buddy and you look like you are itching to play with a shark, or you look like you won’t be able to kick against the current I WILL ask to be reassigned.

Physical fitness is a lifestyle. Diving is a lifestyle. If diving is made into even more of an elitist society the boom that is recreational diving will start to die. I am required to maintain a weight and physical training standard because of my job. I don’t mind at all if one gets put in place. When assuming your own risk while diving recreation-ally there is no need to single out people that know they aren’t perfect with a piece of paper. Unsafe divers know they are unsafe. Instead of requiring fitness tests lets all use our best judgment and tell someone if they make you feel uncomfortable.
#255
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brixn - 3/03/2011 3:45 AM
I agree with DAN entirely ! - They are struggeling to convince a recalcitrant recreational diving industry, e.g., PADI, NAUI, SDI, SSI etc.
#255
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brixn - 3/03/2011 3:52 AM
Yes, - commercial divers - in industrialised western nations, (European Union, Australia. Norway, New Zealand), and I believe, in parts if not all of the US - undergo an annual and very thorough medica examinationl; - no pass = no job. The diving contractors (employers) are bound to do this in order to comply with govenment OH&S regulations. . . . and probably also complying with their insurance policy terms & conditions.
#255
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brixn - 3/03/2011 3:58 AM
tmac_diver: You are right on target !