The IMCA International Code of Practice for Offshore Diving requires divers to have a valid certificate of medical fitness to dive issued by a suitable doctor. An annual medical is required.
The importance of a full medical being carried out by a doctor who is not only fully qualified as a medical practitioner, but who also has a sound knowledge of diving medicine, hyperbaric physiology and of the scope, nature and organisation of commercial offshore diving work cannot be understated.
IMCA does not approve diving doctors. The Association refers to the independent DMAC scheme for approval of training courses in diving medicine. Consequently, there are no ‘IMCA-recognised’ or ‘IMCA-approved’ doctors, and no doctor may use the IMCA name or logo in any stamp, certificate or other material in this regard.
Certain regulatory authorities have in place systems for approving such doctors (and recognising each other’s approved medicals).
In the absence of a suitable international approval scheme, diving contractors need to identify suitable doctors to undertake medicals of their personnel and whose medical certificates they will recognise for new personnel. IMCA has provided its members with guidance on identifying appropriate doctors, based on their qualifications and experience, equipment needs and key elements in the diver medical examination itself. Details can be found in IMCA information note 428 – Medical examination of divers.
A number of initiatives have seen diving contractors in particular regions agree to mutually recognise certain doctors for the purpose of performing medical examinations of divers. IMCA has publicised such agreements on its members’ behalf.