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.
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:
Third Party Initiatives
A number of initiatives have seen diving contractors in particular regions agree to mutually recognise certain doctors for such purposes and IMCA has publicised such agreements on its members’ behalf as follows:
- Medical examination of divers: Asia-Pacific initiative
- Medical examination of divers: Italy initiative
- Medical examination of divers: India (Oil & Natural Gas Corporation)
- Medical examination of divers: Middle East & India initiative
- Medical examination of divers: Central & North America initiative.
Training in Diving Medicine
IMCA refers to the independent DMAC scheme for approval of training courses in diving medicine.