Accusing ‘Scuba Diver’ PADI Cert as unsafe.

I came across
this article which effectively says
that the PADI Scuba Diver certification is completely unsafe and they should do away with it.  The author
essentially argues that the certification is a waste because it completely fails to prepare divers. As part of the
reasoning, the author suggests that scuba limits are not enforced and divers rarely continue their education. I’d
really be interested in hearing people’s opinions on this, so please please comment. My own view follows.

I?ve always had a problem with the way scuba certifications are handled. Frankly, a few days in a pool and two days
in the ocean shouldn?t be enough to become certified. It?s just too easy. Of course, it?s meant to be – or no one would
do it, PADI wouldn?t make much money and that would be the end of it. I agree with the author that the Scuba Diver
certification should be done away with. I?d also like to see the other certifications modified.

Open Water Certification – In my mind, this should take a minimum of ten open water dives, to progressively deeper
depths, bottoming out at 100ft.  At that depth, the person should be able to complete all the drills. Why? A few
reasons – most dive shops completely disregard suggested maximums depths for open water certified individuals anyway.
You can?t force every dive shop in the world to follow them, so I propose that you instead train the people who will be
diving to learn some level of comfort at that depth. The other reason? People who train in 40ft and suddenly go
plunging down to 100ft tend to forget their air consumption. At those depths, you have to watch it.

Advanced Open Water – For staters, loose the term Advanced. Anyone who can complete an open water course followed
directly by an Advanced Open Water  and come out with about a dozen open water dives under their belt shouldn?t be
considered an advanced anything. I?d rename this Open Water Level II. I?d also loose the non life saving options in
this course (i.e. fish identification or photography) – make those speciality courses on the side – focus instead on
things such as dealing with a runaway BC inflation, free flowing regulators, loss of weight belt, panicked buddy,
etc.  I remember having my BC power button get stuck once during a dive. I damn near panicked as I watched it
continue to inflate while I shot to the surface. Equipment malfunction happens. Train for it. I remember another
instance in Roatan. I was on a boat dive with about six or seven other people – mostly new arrivals. The divemaster
asked around about experience to try and pair up buddies. One of the arrivals was open water, and one was ?advanced?.
She paired them. Seemed logical. Once in the water, the ?advanced? diver panicked during the descent and froze, hands
clasped completely around the descent line and refused to move up or down. She froze. Completely. The open water diver
lost his weights, but managed to recover them. As it turns out, the open water diver had a few dozen dives under his
belt and the advanced open water diver had completed an open water and advanced course back to back. She had a total of
12 dives I think. Loose the advanced term.

Open Water Level III and IV – Create these more specialized courses that focus on safety and dealing with
unpredictable diving conditions as stepping stones to the existing Rescue and DiveMaster levels. Include things such as
visually inspecting tanks for wear (I?ve got a story there!), testing for air quality and maybe even touch on gear
related topics such as regulator maintenance and care.

So that?s my view. What?s yours?