Each dive centre will have its different policies as to when they require divers to make a refresher course.
Where I worked in the Maldives, a full refresher was not required unless you had not dived for 2 years or more. However they insisted that every diver make a check dive off the house reef. This included performing mask clearing, reg recovery and clearing and an out of air drill before enjoying the calm still water close to the island. This dive was necessary as divers needed to have a chance to get into the water, blow the cobwebs off and check their weight before heading to a dive site which would very likely have strong current. It also gave the dive staff an opportunity to assess the divers and be able to advise them accordingly.
At Master Divers, we recommend that if you haven’t dived for 6 months or more then you should make a refresher. However, there is some leniency here and we do take into account the number of logged dives and the frequency of logged dives too. We also have the option of a private guide taking you to a shallow calm dive site first.
Our policy is different from that Maldivian dive centre as the centers diving process is different. At Master Divers we don’t have a house reef and shallow lagoon we can take you out on. We strongly believe that refreshing your skills is essential for not just your own safety and enjoyment, but also for divers that you are diving with and our team.
Can you imagine for a second, a diver joining your group for the days diving who had not dived in a few years. They might not remember much. They might struggle putting their gear together, not know how much weight they need, have forgotten the crucial safety checks etc.. and this is all before getting in the water! If this diver was to be your buddy it turns what should be a relaxing holiday dive into a worry. What if they forget to check their air or can’t remember how to clear their mask? You can see why we take this seriously for every diver.
Regardless of a dive centres policy it’s crucial to your safety and that of your buddy to keep your skills up to date. When did you last practice an out of air drill? How comfortable are you to remove your mask underwater? Could you take your gear off in the case of entanglement? Can you remember how to check for proper weighting? Most divers only practice these techniques when they learn them on their open water course, a refresher gives you the opportunity to repeat these drills which will make you a more competent and confident diver.
So please take the request to make a refresher with good grace. Look at it as a great opportunity to improve your technique and grow as a diver. Understand that we not only have your safety and enjoyment in mind but everyone else’s too which should say something about the dive centre itself!
A refresher only costs 1500B and can very easily be fitted into your first diving day.
Check out PADI Scuba Review or SSI Scuba Skills update for more info here.