By Nkechi Williams-Sanderson

Have you ever dreamt of diving into the deep blue sea, swimming alongside multicoloured fishes, exploring fabulous reefs and other subsea formations, or investigating unusual species that live in that underwater world? Scuba diving can make these dreams a reality!

Scuba diving is a form of diving which utilises a Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) to enable the diver to breathe under water. There are many types of scuba diving, but recreational diving is the most popular and is considered the most fun for obvious reasons. Recreational diving, though undertaken purely for enjoyment, must take into consideration the necessary safety precautions to ensure that the diver’s life and limb are not endangered in the pursuit of adventure.

The Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) has partnered with the Tourism Development Company (TDC), the Division of Tourism and Transportation – Tobago House of Assembly (THA), and the recreational diving fraternity to develop a national standard for operators offering these diving services. The standard, which is in the final stages of development, sets out the minimum requirements for safety and operational procedures, organised and guided dive tours, equipment provision, care and maintenance, training and education, and responsible marketing. It is important to note that this standard does not apply to operations offering ‘snorkelling only’ activities or to commercial diving operations. The Recreational Dive standard also does not apply to speciality diving services such as underwater hunting, commonly known as spear fishing.

While the standard is intended for use by a wide range of stakeholders, the standard can also be used as a conformity assessment tool under the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Industry Certification (TTTIC) programme. This programme is administered by the TDC and THA. TTBS provides third party auditing services.

Once the standard has been declared and is included under the TTTIC programme, dive service operators can obtain this certification to prove their compliance to the diving standard.

So, if you are interested in going scuba diving, or you are a dive operator, we advise you to get a copy of the National Standard and review it before scheduling your next dive.

 

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