The debate on the opening of the exercise of the profession of recreational dive instructor in France to instructors certified by American federations (PADI, NAUI, SSI, …) rages for several months in Polynesia. The defenders of the state certification see in this possibility a gap that can give ideas to other French territories Outremer or closer.
In May 2017, through the article “Polynesia: the situation that is disrupting the French scuba diving environment … and the rest of the world continues to dive” (which I invite you to read again), I asked the following question:
“If the quality of the official training (state certification) is essential to be a good dive instructor in a commercial structure, why are we leaving in the (non-profit) associative structures the responsibility of all trainings to instructors who do not have the state certification ? Why this question arises only for instructors working against remuneration? “
Although the article was seen several thousand times in a few days at that time (which showed how sensitive this question was), no user could answer this question!
Obviously, arguments of safety, quality of training, … were evoked without anybody being able to explain why these arguments were valid only for the professional world and did not touch anything the associative world of the diving in France which represents many graduates.
With my exterior gaze, not linked to any French or American certification agency, this question seemed to me to come from a single cultural and / or historical exception without any current foundation anymore, except for the sport code acting as law and therefore I asked myself its relevance in 2017.
As I have a particular love for Polynesia and for the teaching of diving in general, I was very attentive to debates that followed the first interrogations of the beginning of the year, there, in these islands of end of the world and that may finally be an answer to my questioning.
On 9th November, by a large majority, the Assembly of Polynesia adopted a law modifying the conditions of exercise of the profession of leisure diving instructor.
An Act to facilitate access to the profession of Polynesians (and job creation for locals!) Who until now had to go to mainland France for a long and expensive training.
If the Ministry of Sports and the Directorate of Youth and Sports had already validated in October the mentions of lagoon activity guide and underwater guide, this law seems to be a real breakthrough in the world of diving professionals even if these same professionals are still waiting for the publication of the law.
Be that as it may, the process of change in the world of diving in Polynesia is well known and in progress.
We have to wait for the practical applications of this new law that will most likely affect thousands of dives made in Polynesia, for the most part by tourists holding international dive certifications.
One of the declared objectives of Polynesia is to reboost tourism decreasing in recent years by sticking more closely to the reality of the expectations of mainly American and Asian tourists who are not interested in French certifications.
Although I still have not got an answer to my original question 😉 and I understand that those who have invested time (and money) in their training will oppose it, I think this question of opening the market to non French certifications agencies is likely to arise in the rest of all French territories … with a reform of the sport code to the key?
Wait and see …
Want to share your experiences, comments and questions on the reform of scuba diving in France ?
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Good bubbles and do not forget to be happy 🙂