FAQ Medical policy for Divers

Frequently asked questions about our Fitness Policy

  • Why is this policy in effect?
    • This policy was implemented to address a growing concern for the general health of SCUBA diving professionals. SCUBA professionals can find themselves in very strenuous situations, placing high physical demands on their body. These demands are manifesting in the form of significant cardiac events (as well as other injuries) and with the responsibility SCUBA professionals have, supervising or teaching divers with less experience, it is best to know their body can handle those demands when the time comes.
  • Where in the standards is the fitness requirement?
    • SDI Part 1, #3 bullet point 3.
  • Is a Medical Required for Active Status?
    • No, however we are offering medical tracking in our system, just like with insurance. Your teaching status is not affected by this though.
  • What Medical Sign-Off forms are accepted?
    • The SDI Physician Sign-off form is the best example of what is accepted.
    • Members may also use the RSTC Medical Guidelines
    • There are some other accepted forms: HSE, AAUS Scientific Diver, NOAA Diver, or a copy of Department Fit For Service/Duty Policy (this is for public safety personnel only).
  • When did this policy start?
    • It was announced in the 3rd Quarter 2016 Member Update.
  • How will this affect my teaching status?
    • There is no “switch” that’s flipped as the medical submission is optional. However, just like all SDI/TDI/ERDI standards, the standard itself must be met.
  • Is my medical good for the whole calendar year?
    • The medical is good for 12 months from the date it was signed. If the medical states it is good for a longer period of time, that time will be adjusted in your profile.
  • What happens if my medical sign-off expires in the middle of the year?
    • It will show as lapsed in the system however it will not affect your teaching status.
  • Will I have to get one of these every year?
    • It is recommended but not required.
  • Do I have to go to a diving specific physician?
    • In some cases, yes. This policy is a global policy and, in some areas, diving physicians are required to sign off. In other areas it may not be a requirement, but a “general physician” may not want to sign off on a SCUBA specific medical. There may also be a condition that requires a hyperbaric physician. It is always best to bring the Guidelines for Recreational Scuba Diver’s Physical Examination portion of the medical document with you and let the medical professional decide.
  • What if I am required to get a specific diving medical for my country?
    • Those will be accepted provided they meet our requirements of no restrictions and are specific to SCUBA diving.
  • I am a Divemaster; is this required for all diving professionals?
    • Yes, starting from the first professional level of certification, SDI Divemaster, the fitness clause is required. This is also required for: Assistant Instructor, Instructor, Course Director, and Instructor Trainer.
  • What if I don’t pass the medical?
    • There are a few options and it depends on the physician that conducted the exam. If the exam was not conducted by a hyperbaric physician, you could schedule an exam with a hyperbaric physician who would better understand what you need. If you did not pass the medical and it is for reasons of contraindication, then this medical requirement has served its purpose. This requirement is not intended to be exclusionary, it is intended to safeguard the diving professionals who could find themselves in strenuous situations with a medical condition they may be unaware they have.

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