For the last 30 years or so, dive training agencies have been certifying recreational divers as competent to plan and carry out non-decompression and no-stop dives to a max depth of 40msw.
Around 70% of certified divers worldwide have been certified by the single largest training agency. A high percentage of these 70% go from being non divers to become “advanced scuba divers” in less than a week, and with under 10 open water dives under their belt.
According to the standards set forth by the largest training agencies, it’s actually possible to achieve advanced diver certification from non-diver status in as little as four days.
Possibly, in this case, the terminology “advanced diver” should be reviewed, and the number of required days, or dives, adjusted before divers can gain “advanced diver” certification. That being said, the majority of dive operators and diving instructors would not consider running open water students through to advanced diver in four days only. Even so the system is still open to abuse, and in some cases it is.
In the modern day of diver training, fast track training draws in the package tourist who wants to complete diver training, going from non-diver through to advanced diver, within the duration of a short holiday. “Resort courses” are becoming more and more popular as time goes by.
Looking at some of the biggest diving resorts today, ten years ago they consisted of just a few makeshift bamboo huts on the beach, which are now replaced with 5-star hotels, a golf course or two and several hundred dive boats. In the 21st century, this machine needs to be fed! I hope the need to continually review, improve and update diving courses at all levels, has not been lost in the haze of impressive marketing campaigns.
There needs to be a healthy balance. As diving professionals, it is our duty to promote the best method of training—he scales appear to be off balance.
Room for improvement
The fact of the matter is that diver training today could be better if there was a little more emphasis on diver training at all levels and a little less emphasis on developing the shortest possible course and selling it to everyone including the dog.
If more dives and a generally longer more comprehensive advanced course was ...