Which scuba qualifications do I need to work in yachting?

Today you do not need an open water certificate to work on a yacht. The situation has evolved further, even names have been changed from commercial diving to private diving. In this article we will discuss the following scuba qualifications: Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver and Divemaster. We also give a description of what you can use these qualifications for in the yachting industry.

The commercial diving branch seems to have fairly clear regulations, but this isn’t always the case. The problem is that there are no regulations for private diving. Commercial divers must have a rescue diver certificate with them at all times when working on a job, otherwise they are not allowed to do the job. When they need to use additional equipment, such as a closed bell, rebreather or stage cylinders, this is also regulated and defined in the diving permit.

Private divers do not have any of these regulations and will be difficult to point out if they don’t comply with them. Many private divers that work on yachts only have an Open Water Diver certificate, with perhaps some additional certification for deep diving. They do not have the necessary skills to work as a rescue diver (which they actually need to be). This can put them and their coworkers at risk if they would need to take over the diver in case of an emergency.

This article deals with scuba qualifications onecan get before getting a Commercial Diving Certification. We will discuss the following scuba qualifications: Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver and Divemaster.

Open Water Diver

The Open Water Diver is the most common and basic qualification you can get to become a diver (also called OW). The course consists of 3 parts; theory, confined water training and open water training. The open water part is done at a special location, often somewhere beautiful like the Caribbean or South Pacific.

It takes about 3 to 4 days (depending on your previous experience) to complete this course with an instructor, who will teach you everything you need to know about becoming a safe diver. With this qualification you can dive to a maximum depth of 18 meters.

Advanced Open Water Diver

The Advanced Open Water Diver, also often referred to as AOW, is an extension of the basic scuba certification (Open Water). After you have your initial open water certificate a certain amount of dives must be done before you can do this course. You need to have a minimum of 12 logged dives and to be older than 18 years old.

The Advanced Open Water course consists of 3 parts; theory, confined water training and open water training. The open water part is again done at one of the beautiful diving locations (usually somewhere in tropical waters like Hawaii or Malaysia). This is an extension with another 5extra dives.

Theories are done in a classroom setting and 4 confined water dives are done in tanks at your dive center. The last 5 open water boat/shore dives are done to anywhere you want around the world! You may need to have experience with deep diving or navigation, although this is rarely tested.

Rescue Diver

Anyone who has the Advanced Open Water Diver certificate can sign up for this course. When you do your Rescue Diver course you will learn how to perform first aid and rescue unresponsive divers, as well as other emergency procedures such as dealing with electric shock or lost equipment. You need a minimum of 50 logged dives and must be 18 years old to take this course. To complete the Rescue Diver course you need to have a minimum of 4 confined water dives and 5 open water boat/shore dives.


The Divemaster is a qualification you need to work as a professional diver. The training is extensive, consisting of 3 parts; lead instructor, formal training and supervised diving

Lead Instructor A lead instructor is a training given by an organization, which usually takes at least six months to complete. It consists of theory, confined water and open water training. The training is done fulltime with every day filled with lectures, practical’s and assignments to be finished before you can take the next step in your education.

Formal Training In this part you get assigned to a dive center and do the work of a Divemaster under supervision. You get trained on how to conduct Open Water courses, how to lead groups of divers and deal with difficult customers. After that you have to complete open water dives which are logged by your supervising Divemaster.

Supervised Diving This isthe final qualification you need in order to be a Divemaster. You must complete a set amount of dives under supervision and with the instructor taking notes during each dive. These dives will then be evaluated and if everything is in line and according to the rules you are approved as a Dive Master!

This article does not cover all scuba qualifications which can be useful to work on a yacht. However it should be enough to get you started!

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