Renewal of diver medic certification during the COVID-19 pandemic

IMCA recognises diver medic training courses provided by a number of establishments (listed at https://www.imca-int.com/diver-medic-courses) which have been audited in accordance with guidance note IMCA Scheme for Recognition of Diver Medic Training – Guidance for training establishments (IMCA D 020). These establishments issue IMCA recognised Diver Medic Technician (DMT) certificates which are normally valid for a two-year period and therefore diver medics are required to undertake DMT refresher training at intervals of two years (see information notes IMCA D 05/13 and IMCA D 10/13 for more information).

‘Renewal’ is normally required as follows:

  1. Within the final three months of validity, a refresher course can be carried out and the validity date of the new certificate will run for a further two years from the expiry date of the old certificate.
  2. For up to eight weeks after the expiry of a certificate, a refresher course can be undertaken. The validity date of the new certificate will run for a further two years from the expiry date of the old certificate.

These additional eight weeks are to allow for unforeseen circumstances that prevent a refresher course being undertaken during the final three months of a certificate’s validity – it is not recommended that individuals plan in advance to undertake the refresher course during this period.

  1. After eight weeks following expiry of a certificate, the full course should be undertaken again.

However, owing to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that many diver medics will be unable to attend a DMT refresher course within the two-year interval through no fault of their own. Given the current unprecedented situation, the IMCA Diving Division Management Committee (DDMC) has therefore decided that for IMCA recognised DMT certificates issued on or after 01 February 2018, the period of validity for such certificates can be extended to 30 September 2020.

All those wishing to extend an IMCA recognised DMT certificate issued on or after 01 February 2018 should contact the training establishment which issued the certificate and request a temporary certificate of extension to 30 September 2020. The training provider may levy an administration charge for this service. The extension certificates may be issued electronically but are only valid when presented with the original certificate.

Once a temporary certificate of extension to 30 September 2020 has been issued, the renewal process set out in points 1, 2 and 3 above will then need to be followed. After a refresher course has been undertaken, the validity date of the new certificate will run for a further two-years from the expiry date of the original certificate i.e. the one that was issued prior to the temporary certificate of extension.

IMCA is aware that two training establishments which taught IMCA recognised diver medic courses – Hyperbaric Training Associates (Honduras) and The Underwater Centre (Scotland) – both ceased trading some time ago. However, persons holding IMCA recognised DMT certificates issued on or after 01 February 2018 by these training providers may still obtain a temporary certificate of extension to 30 September 2020. In order to do so they should forward a copy of their certificate through a training establishment which currently teaches IMCA recognised diver medic courses to IMCA for verification. Once the certificate has been verified by IMCA, the training establishment will issue a temporary certificate of extension to 30 September 2020.

It should be noted that IMCA is responsible only for the approval of diver medic courses and, as part of that, defining acceptance criteria for individuals to be able to sit initial and refresher courses. Individuals unable to undertake a refresher course within the validity period of their IMCA recognised DMT certificate will need to check with their employing contractor and, where appropriate, with the relevant national authority to check on the acceptability of working as a diver medic without a valid in-date certificate.

The spread of COVID-19 is a dynamic situation and so the extension date in this Information Note of 30 September 2020 will be kept under review i.e. if necessary, a further period of extension may be introduced in due course.