I am very glad to be able to correct this article concerning PADI. It has taken several months to get an answer from PADI concerning this requirement but finally - PADI states that they have no such requirement for seniors and the dive shop has misrepresented their position. The only time PADI requires a medical certificate is when you take a training course with them. Even then it is a standard medical report downloadable from their website which has no stipulation regarding age at all. PADI is a fine organization supporting divers and diving issues. I am leaving the following post online so there will be no mistakes as to what was said. Unfortunately it took several months to elicit a response from PADI so this could be cleared up.
The Original Article Follows
As a senior diver myself, I am not pleased with the PADI decision to discriminate against all divers 70 and older. I just returned from Cozumel and was told I couild not dive with Dressel Divers because of my age. I am 73 and have 4000 dives behind me and this is the first time this has ever come up. I lost two days of diving since I had to go to the local hospital and get a doctor’s certification that I was fit to dive before I was allowed to go out diving. They didn’t like my blood pressure so I had to go back the second day. Fortunately, I passed and was ALLOWED to go diving for the remainder of my trip. Also fortunately I was there for two weeks and still got in 21 dives. If I had been a normal traveler with only a week’s trip, I would only have been allowed to dive for two days when you consider I lost my arrival day and the next two with the doctor, and not being able to dive the day before departure. Hardly worth the trip.
No person, or organization in this case, has the right to dictate whether or not someone is to be allowed to dive based on their age. There certainly is no legal basis for such discrimination. PADI has decided to mandate not only whether or not you will be allowed to dive on the basis of a doctor’s report, but how you will be allowed to dive as well. You are considered unsafe for a variety of medical reasons determined by PADI and may not be allowed to dive with a PADI facility, and you should be limited to 70 feet for YOUR safety. I asked the owner why this sudden change in requirements and was told first that it wasn’t new and secondly for insurance reasons dictated by PADI. Strangely enough I was in Cozumel a year ago diving with their next door neighbor (also a PADI facility) and there was no such requirement. Next I was told that it was for my own good since they had to be sure I was capable of saving myself in an emergency situation. That alone says to me that they just don’t want to be bothered with older divers who are going to cause them more trouble due to any special consideration they might require. True, some of us over 70 do require a little extra help with tanks and gear as we’re not quite as strong as their favored 30 year olds who don’t require any extra time and assistance, but then that’s why this website was started - to seek out those facilities that want our business and show us the help and respect we want.
I dive all over the Caribbean several times a year and at many PADI facilities. This is the first time I have incurred this rule. The medical form is PADI’s standard Medical Statement and nowhere mentions age as a factor of permission to dive. You also will not find this on either the PADI or the Dressell websites. They only promote the standard questionaire which is silent on this requirement. So, when you arrive at your destination to dive - SURPRISE! I was told that had I booked ahead online I would have been told I had to bring the doctor’s certification with me and that was supposed to solve the problem. I wish I could say ‘quit diving with PADI’ but we all know how futile that is. We senior divers are a large part of the diving community and generally better economically able to travel. Perhaps PADI needs to wake up and stay out of the nursing home business.