A C card or diver scuba certification card is standard equipment in today’s scuba world, but every once in a while someone doesn’t think they need a card to go diving. After all, dad or a friend is a diver and they will be watching out for me, right? Besides I am an all star swimmer, what could go wrong? Or, they did a few resort courses or even better, they were in the Navy and did a lot of diving. Heck they may have even been a Navy diver.
We can look at an accident like the one in Florida on Christmas day, when a father and son died while testing out the new scuba gear they got for Christmas on a dive in a cave to at least understand a little why we want a scuba certification card. Dad was a certified diver, but the son was not. Even, if they had made the dive with no issues it was way beyond the 15 year old son’s experience and training to be even diving in a cave let alone diving without a professional.
Your basic open water diver card is validation and proof that you have the training and skills to go scuba diving. But, there are limits to this certification level. If you recall from your open water class the entry level scuba certification is for up to 60 feet and in conditions that you were trained in. This means for most of us warm and rather clear water. Makes sense, since most of us did our training dives in the warm waters of the tropics or the crater. We are comfortable and confident in our abilities in such water.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t go deeper or at night or in colder or even murky water. But, we should probably get some training for those conditions or at least go with a certified dive professional. I recall our friend Rock and his first night dive. He was anxious and nervous as he had never done a night dive. After the briefing on the boat, the dive master asked if this was anyone’s first night dive (he knew as we had told him it was Rock’s first) and Rock, like the good sport he is, raised his hand. It was decided that Rock would lead us into the water. Well, since he was at the bow of the boat he walked past all of us to the back and as he was about to make his stride into the water, as he placed his hand over his mask, opps he had forgotten his mask. We all had a great laugh as he walked back to get his mask and we had a wonderful dive. The point is, he was nervous and anxious, but his instructor was on that boat with him for his first night experience.