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Diver Training Certificates – IMCA Acceptance Criteria

IMCA recognises that professional divers are trained for a wide variety of purposes.  IMCA will only accept training that is open to all and is directed towards the development of divers for offshore operations.  IMCA will not recognise diver qualifications developed for other purposes e.g., military diver training. 

The acceptance criteria for diver training certificates to be recognised by the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) for offshore diving under IMCA D 014IMCA International Code of Practice for Offshore Diving are as follows:

  1. An independent national health and safety regulator must oversee and inspect the health and safety regime operating within the diver training school.
  2. There must be credible independent government or government appointed oversight of the training regime for the qualification with a single point of contact.  In some cases, this may be the independent national health and safety regulator if it possesses the necessary competence.
  3. The independent government or government appointed bodies must undertake regular inspections/audits of all diver training schools delivering recognised offshore diver training.  Competent inspectors/auditors must be satisfied that:
    • The diver training schools have suitable arrangements and sufficient trained staff in place to respond effectively to foreseeable diving and non-diving emergencies (emergency response plans).
  4. The diver training certificates must be issued by the national government or government appointed agency (the certifying organisation), not the training facility and be verifiable.
  5. For surface supplied diver training, the training must cover the minimum training requirements as set out by IMCA (see Information Note No. 1384IMCA Minimum Criteria for Surface Supplied Diver Training). 
    • Note: IMCA’s minimum criteria for surface supplied diver training can be met by observance of the current International Diving Schools Association (IDSA) Surface Supplied Offshore Air Diver (IDSA Level 3) training standard.
  6. For saturation diver training, the training must cover the minimum course requirements contained in the current International Diving Regulators and Certifiers Forum (IDRCF) document entitled Closed bell diver training.
  7. The certifying organisation must either:
    • Be a member of the IDRCF; or
    • Be a member of another international commercial diver training standards organisation recognised by IMCA; or
    • Be recognised by IMCA itself.


  1. In-water diver training schools intending to teach courses leading to qualifications recognised solely by IMCA will need to be successfully audited by IMCA prior to recognition of the qualification and periodically thereafter.
  2. IMCA has made some special diver certification arrangements for unregulated areas of the world (see IMCA Information Note No. 1394 ­­– Diver and Diving Supervisor Certification).
  3. Not all the qualifications listed within IMCA Information Note No. 1394Diver and Diving Supervisor Certification may be recognised in all countries of the world.  In regulated areas of the world, national legislation may specify the need for persons to hold particular diver training certificates before they can be permitted to work as commercial divers on diving projects.  Such national legislative requirements must always be observed.

Revocation of IMCA recognition

IMCA reserves the right to suspend or withdraw its recognition of a diver training qualification at any time and the single point of contact will be informed.  Examples of reasons IMCA may decide to revoke recognition of a diver training qualification include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes to a training regime that in IMCA’s opinion make the training/qualification unsuitable.
  • Evidence that divers are being issued with IMCA recognised diver training certificates but have not been trained/assessed to the standard required.
  • Evidence of inconsistent standards of training between schools training and assessing an IMCA recognised qualification which could affect the safety of diving.
  • Failure of the government appointed bodies to undertake suitable periodic inspections/audits of diver training schools delivering recognised offshore diver training.
  • Evidence that diving equipment used for the training of offshore divers fails to meet the requirements contained within relevant IMCA DESIGN documents.
  • Evidence of unsafe practices at schools training and assessing IMCA recognised qualifications.

The qualification may be reconsidered for approval if it can be demonstrated that appropriate remedial action has been taken.

For more information, please contact [email protected]

IMCA Contact

Ali Macleod
Technical Adviser - Diving

Information Note Details

Published date: 24 March 2023
Information note ID: 1385

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IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.