Subsea training facility, The Underwater Centre, is preparing for changes to the prerequisite requirements for experienced commercial air divers, which will come into play in April 2016.
At the moment, candidates looking to take part in the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) or ADAS (Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme) closed bell diving courses need to have a minimum of 50 logged dives totalling at least 50 hours. This will increase to 100 logged dives totalling at least 100 hours—doubling the required dives a commercial air diver must have.
The decision to change the pre-requisites has come from industry agreement, from the IDRCF (International Diving Regulators and Certifiers Forum) and with input from IMCA (International Marine Contractors Association).
Industry agreed to make this change because of feedback that air divers training to become saturation or mixed gas divers sometimes lacked enough diving experience.
Alf Leadbitter, dive training authority at The Underwater Centre, who has been training commercial air and mixed gas divers for over 30 years, and contributed to the working group set up by the IDRCF, believes the changes are a positive move.
“These changes to the pre-requisites are welcomed by us as a commercial diving training provider. The more experience commercial divers have in industry before furthering their careers the better it will be for the divers and the industry in general,” he said. “The changes are being implemented in just a few months and this gives those wishing to train under the existing requirements a small window in which to sign up and complete the course, after which they will have to undertake significantly more logged dives.”
The Underwater Centre is a purpose-built subsea training and trials facility and is based on the shore of a seawater loch, well sheltered by the surrounding mountains. The Centre’s unique location allows it to provide year-round training and testing in a tidal, open-water environment with access to depths of over 100 m. The center has a sister facility in Tasmania, which was originally created to address the demand for commercial diver training in the Asia Pacific region.