Two new ISO standards will make scuba diving training programmes safer for both newcomers to the sport as well as more experienced divers have been recently published. The standards are aimed, respectively, at introductory scuba experience training programmes to non-divers and advanced programmes that deliver enriched air nitrox (EAN) diver certification.

The passion for outdoor activities and the motivation to discover the most preserved natural environment possible make scuba diving an increasing leisure activity worldwide.

International Standards ISO 11121:2009, Recreational diving services – Requirements for introductory training programmes to scuba diving, and ISO 11107:2009, Recreational diving services – Requirements for training programmes on enriched air nitrox (EAN) diving, answer the needs of this expanding market where competent training is essential.

The recently published ISO 11121:2009, specifies minimum programme content requirements for introductory scuba experiences of recreational scuba diving. These requirements are used to introduce a non-diver to recreational scuba diving by means of a supervised, controlled dive experience, and to encourage participants to seek further training.

An introductory diving programme does not result in certification, but is intended to provide an experience of the sport. Participants are taught only what is required of them to experience scuba diving under direct supervision.

ISO 11121:2009 applies to programmes that include participants being taken into an open water environment. Such programmes should ensure that would-be divers can  to participate safely in an introductory open water dive. An annex in the standard gives an example of an information sheet for medical screening.

For more advanced divers, ISO 11107:2009, Recreational diving services – Requirements for training programmes on enriched air nitrox (EAN) diving, specifies the level of competence required of a scuba diver in order to be awarded an enriched air nitrox (EAN) diver certification by a training organization.

These two International Standards also specify the conditions under which training is to be provided, supplementing the general requirements for recreational diving services specified in ISO 24803:2007, Recreational diving services – Requirements for recreational scuba diving service providers.

Eduardo Moreno Cerezo, Chair of ISO technical committee ISO TC/228, Tourism and related services, which developed the standards, says: "By implementing the requirements of these ISO standards on recreational scuba diving, training organizations and divers will be able continue practising scuba diving in safe conditions and thus enjoy their sport with the minimum of risk."

ISO 11121:2009, Recreational diving services – Requirements for introductory training programmes to scuba diving, and ISO 11107:2009, Recreational diving services – Requirements for introductory training programmes to scuba diving, are available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). They may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, respective prices 58 Swiss francs and 50 Swiss francs, through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing & Communication department (see right-hand column).