ERDI Equivalency Chart

Public Safety Diver equivalences from dive training, DRI, LGS, PADI, SSI, IANTD PSDA, NAUI, rescue 3

By Sean Harrison

For the final of our three part installment of equivalencies, here is our review of how other agencies’ certifications, standards, and training equate to our ERDI certifications. We have now released articles that break down all of the SDI and TDI Diver certifications and what the most popular agency equivalent ratings are.  You can view these articles HERE.  The goal of posting these equivalency charts is to provide a resource for divers and dive professionals to help navigate the web of diver certifications.

Lessons learned

The past two equivalency charts have taught us lessons with the feedback we received. This ERDI equivalency sheet is intended purely for divers and instructors who may be certified with one of the listed agencies and want to enter into ERDI training. The equivalencies established by ERDI for ERDI are no reflection on the other agencies listed. They are also not intended to put an ERDI course above or below another agency’s course.

Courses vary slightly between ERDI and other agencies, and ERDI will choose the most conservative; for example if another agency’s course is slightly higher in knowledge and skills than an ERDI course but does not meet the next higher ERDI course, we will choose an equivalent ERDI standard that is fully satisfied. ERDI also does not factor in how courses are taught in the field by instructors or dive centers, we formulate our equivalencies strictly by the standards.

Before we get into the different ratings from different agencies, it’s important to discuss the philosophies ERDI holds for all public safety diver training.  One of those philosophies is based on prerequisites.  Prerequisites, by ERDI’s philosophy, establish a level of experience that the instructor can count on.  This is an important factor on many levels for an instructor: scheduling, costs, other students, task loading, and knowledge development.  Aside from prerequisites, ERDI also strongly believes that each course should be focused on one specific aspect of diving, whether it’s a new piece of equipment (i.e. a full face mask) an environment (i.e. ice), OR extending the diver’s capabilities (surface supplied air) for that specific piece of equipment or environment.  These aspects are NEVER combined into a single course. This is done to keep theory development and task loading in an acceptable range. When too much information is conveyed or too many skills are placed on a person, long term retention decreases. The end goal in all training is to improve safety.

Another major difference when determining equivalencies with ERDI is outside or third party guidelines/standards, such as: NFPA, OSHA, and NIMS. While these third party guidelines are primarily US based, they do provide a good structure that works well around the world. ERDI is NFPA and federal OSHA compliant (state OSHA guidelines need to be determined by the instructor teaching within that state). With this in mind, not all public safety agencies structure their standards the same way as ERDI so therefore may not be equivalent. For example, all ERDI courses have three levels of certification: Awareness, Operation, and Technician.

Not all agencies hold these same beliefs in their training programs which effects where they fall in accordance with ERDI certifications.  When determining equivalencies, there are several factors that are considered:

  • What does the certification qualify a diver to do (total scope and at what level: awareness, operation, technician)?
  • What has it taken to get the diver to that level of certification (prerequisites, course completion requirements)?
  • What does it take to become an instructor at that level (would the instructor teaching the course meet the requirements to become an ERDI instructor for an equivalent rating)?
  • What does it take to become an instructor trainer at that level (would the instructor teaching the course meet the requirements to become an ERDI instructor trainer for an equivalent rating)?

Based on which of these requirements are equal to the ERDI rating, we may consider a diver certification equivalent.  Here’s how we break it down:

ERDI Diver

ERD IDive Rescue 1 (Only if technician level cert is issued)N/APublic Safety Diver (awareness level only)N/A
ERD IIDive Rescue 2N/AN/AN/A

ERDI Operations

Testifying in CourtN/AN/AN/AN/A
Ice Surface RescueN/ASurface Ice Rescue TechnicianN/ASurface Ice Rescue Technician (IRT)
Confined SpaceN/AN/AN/AN/A
Under Water ExplosivesN/AN/AN/AN/A
Contaminated WaterHazmat Diving Training ProgramN/AN/AN/A
Dry SuitN/APublic Safety Dry suit DivingN/AN/A
Full Face MaskN/AN/AN/AN/A
Hull InspectionSpecial Marine Operations – Hull Search DivingN/AN/AN/A
Ice DivingIce Diving Operations TrainingRapid Deployment Ice Diving Rescue/RecoveryN/AN/A
Small BoatBoat-Based Diving OperationsSmall Boat Rescue & HandlingN/AN/A
Swift WaterCurrent/Swiftwater RescueSwiftwater Surface Rescue OperationsN/ASwiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician
Under Water Crime SceneUnderwater Crime Scene Technician II – Technical SeriesN/AN/AN/A
Under Water Threat AssessmentN/AN/AN/AN/A

ERDI Professional

ERD SupervisorN/AN/AN/AN/A
ERD InstructorDive Rescue 1 TrainerN/AN/AN/A
ERD Non-Diving Ops InstructorN/AN/AN/AN/A
ERD Instructor TrainerN/AN/AN/AN/A

As a final note, ERDI wants to give thanks to all the agencies, even the ones not listed, providing valuable and sometimes life saving training to the men and women who provide a much needed public service. We would also like to give our deepest appreciation to those same men and women for all the heart and soul they put into their jobs under some of the most adverse conditions, thank you for being there.

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13 replies
    • Sean Harrison
      Sean Harrison says:

      Thanks Joe. There were a lot more agencies researched and with great programs, they just did not fit into our certifications so unfortunately they were not included. Keep up the great work you are doing. Be safe.

  1. Guri Sejzer
    Guri Sejzer says:

    Nice article, very useful to many. In my humble opinion, the article should also mention that NFPA standards 1670 and 1006 are the ones that originally set the A (Awareness), O (Operations), T (Technician), etc. levels. (It is great that ERDI also adopts them.)

    As for some of the specialties (Full Face Mask, Dry Suit, Ice, etc.) training agencies such as PADI do offer them, just not as a prerequisite or as part of a series of courses related to Public Safety Diver Training. In the case of underwater crime scene investigation, PADI offers distinctive specialies such as the PADI PSD Surface Tender Specialty, PADI Underwater Criminal Investigator, PADI Master Underwater Criminal Investigator through special workshops. UCI -a PSD training agency whose founder help create the mentioned PADI courses, specialty courses and distinctive specialty courses, also offers even more task specific courses such as Evidence Recovery Specialist, Body Recovery Specialist, Vehicle Recovery Specialist, CSI Metal Detector Specialist, Deep Diving Specialist, Ice Diving Specialist, Full Face Mask Diver, Surface Supplied Air Specialist, among others. It´d be nice if there´d be exact equivalencies between different training agencies, but the fact that there aren´t for each specialty shouldn´t be considered that other agencies don´t offer them. -And the table/chart above could be misunderstood as if they don´t offer such specialties at all.

    As for non-diving training agencies, some of them, have much more expertise in non-diving specific specialties such as Rescue 3 International for swiftwater rescue technician courses, whitewater rescue technician courses, flood rescue courses, technical rope rescue courses, etc. Or Lifesaving Resources which specializes in [surface] ice rescue training. It is great RQ3 has been included in this table/chart but by it being a non-diving training agency it could be misinterpreted as they have a narrow range of courses to offer.

    Once again, I think it´s a great initiative to offer an equivalency chart for current and future PSDs! I consider it was done in a pretty impartial way altough if the clarifications made in the text portion of the article (along with observations like the ones I´ve made) could be included in the graphic portion as well, it would prevent misunderstandings -especially if individuals decide to share the image by itself without the article´s text body.

    • Sean Harrison
      Sean Harrison says:

      Hi Jeremy,
      Sorry for the delayed response, I have not checked this article in a while.
      We would not be able to establish an equivalency with CMAS as a whole, given that each federation has slightly different standards. We also take into consideration need, and we have never received an equivalency request for PSD from CMAS.
      Any future communication you can send to and get a much quicker response.

  2. Butch Hendrick
    Butch Hendrick says:

    May be you should REALLY CHECK YOUR FACTS BEFORE YOU POST MISS INFORMATION… The neat thing about the internet is you can say any thing you want and not have to prove it. L G S has 10 levels of tender cert.. L G S instructors are required to asst in 20 classes, prior to being a lead instructor.. There is no certification’s for N F P A or O S H A only compliment and who helped write those standards ?
    How many companies have completed the HOMELAND SECURITY paper work? You Have a SAFE day

  3. Pete Gannon
    Pete Gannon says:

    Sean, WOW Did you get it WRONG, please have someone that is reliable contact our office for CORRECT information
    I know that info for other agencies are also WRONG.
    954 648 7887

    • Dr. Thomas Powell
      Dr. Thomas Powell says:

      Pete, where’s the bad info? It would seem Sean did a business comparison for crossover potential. I’m sure you had someone establish yours for ERDI if you’re going to make this comment right? I’m sorry you’re having a rough day man, but explain your concerns if you are going to tell it to the world. It’s tough making positive changes when folks don’t look you in the eye, and back up their ideas with information and data.

  4. Dr. Thomas Powell
    Dr. Thomas Powell says:

    Wow, certification from NFPA? I missed where Sean wrote that. Could you point that out? Similarly, what’s wrong in the text? Maybe it could be corrected. Sean is typically a reasonable industry leader. That said, when agencies determine “crossover” comparisons, I’ve always seen them performed in-house. My education in business alluded to the idea that letting competitors establish how you match up would probably cause long-term failure. What third-party group established yours? Seems like a unique thing you must’ve had done for you! Still though, all caps, where’s the bad info?

    • Buck
      Buck says:

      So Thomas what ever happened to the water rescue training council.
      Let me help the agencies more concerned with measuring their junk rather than providing training to the water operators . In a cooperative way. Everyone has their standards it’s up to all of use to produce a safe dependable product , no matter the banner.
      But like I operate you can’t point out a problem without a solution to bring to the table. Great arrival for ERDI # we lead from the front
      Thanks for your work Thomas

    • Buchanan
      Buchanan says:

      So Thomas what ever happened to the water rescue training council.
      Let me help the agencies more concerned with measuring their junk rather than providing training to the water operators . In a cooperative way. Everyone has their standards it’s up to all of use to produce a safe dependable product , no matter the banner.
      But like I operate you can’t point out a problem without a solution to bring to the table. Great arrival for ERDI # we lead from the front
      Thanks for your work Thomas

  5. Bear Yates
    Bear Yates says:

    It would appear there is some conflict with the article. And I have to agree. The chart may not be correct. It may not currently represent accurate information regarding equivalencies between agencies. I would praise those that point out this information, such as Butch Hendrick and Pete Gannon. Good job on pointing these things out. I do have to ask some questions though. Why did you wait literally a minimum of 2 years to comment? Of course nothing is going to be accurate. Standards are like anything else, they change every day. It’s called progression. If progression never happened, everyone would still be diving like some of you learned to before Jaques made it popular. And see, I said I would praise you, emphasis on would. But I will not. Issues like the ones you apparently have should be handled with better discretion. Apparently there is some animosity toward hard work and research. From personal experience, which obviously isn’t as extensive as some others here, research takes effort. Putting your name to something publicly, just so others can try to tear it apart, is something that takes a bit of personal courage also. It says that you are willing to risk others criticism no matter what. Now that, I will praise.


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