Should Scuba Refresher Courses Be Mandatory?

Scuba Refresher Courses
14 May 2019

Should Scuba Refresher Courses Be Mandatory?

Of the 23 scuba diving fatalities in the U.S. and Canada in 2016, more than half were certified beyond the basic Open Water Diver level. Experience doesn’t mean you’re safe but if it’s been a while since your last dive, you might be a bit rusty. A scuba dive refresher course will help you make sure you haven’t forgotten the basics as well as bring you up-to-date with any changes.

Signs You Should Consider a Scuba Dive Refresher Course

If you haven’t dived for a while, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need a refresher. There are a few signs that you should take as a warning though:

  • You can’t find your certification card.
  • It’s been six months or more since your last dive.
  • You’ve been out of the water for a while and will be taking your kids diving.
  • The thought of getting in the water makes you nervous.
  • You can’t remember how long it’s been since your last dive.

If any of those signs apply, it’s up to you whether you take a scuba refresher course. Most experts recommend you do but once you’re certified, you’re certified for life. The question is, should refresher courses be mandatory?

Arguments for Mandatory Refresher Courses

Scuba diving can be a dangerous sport if you don’t follow the proper procedures and being out of practice makes it a lot more likely that you’ll make a mistake. Mistakes can affect your dive buddies, the divemaster, and your instructor so many experts believe refresher courses should be mandatory. Scuba diving is a perishable skill – the longer you’re away from it, the more likely you are to forget things. There are many other skills and professions that have mandatory re-certification periods, such as first aid training and other medical professions. Scuba divers are venturing underwater using life-support equipment so why should they be any different? Scuba gear is constantly improving as well, like any other type of high-tech equipment. Something you learned 10 or 20 years ago might not apply today.

Arguments Against Mandatory Refresher Courses

Nobody thinks a scuba refresher is a bad idea if you haven’t been in the water for a while. But many experts don’t think they should be mandatory. One of the main arguments against making them mandatory is the cost. Scuba diving is already an expensive sport and adding another mandatory cost will only make it worse. Putting an arbitrary time frame on a mandatory refreshers course could end up costing divers more, and they won’t all need it. The more dives you do, the more instinctive the skills become. If you’re a rescue diver with hundreds of dives under your belt, you’ll be able to go for longer periods between dives than someone who has only dived a handful of times. Many experts also question whether adults need this level of hand-holding. If you’ve been out of the water for a long time and decide to go diving, you’re responsible for your own safety. If you choose to dive without refreshing your skills, you’re the one who’s taking the risk.

Mandatory or Not, Refresher Courses Are a Good Idea

If you haven’t dived for a while and feel the least bit out-of-practice, a scuba dive refresher is a good idea. Whether it’s an open water review or in a local pool, an instructor can make sure you know what you need to be safe. Scuba Guru’s team of expert dive instructors can help you get back in the water. We offer the full Open Water Diving certification if you want to re-certify or you can contact us if you’re looking for a refresher.