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

Tender N/A N/A N/A N/A
ERD I Dive Rescue 1 (Only if technician level cert is issued) N/A Public Safety Diver (awareness level only) N/A
ERD II Dive Rescue 2 N/A N/A N/A

ERDI Operations

Testifying in Court N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ice Surface Rescue N/A Surface Ice Rescue Technician N/A Surface Ice Rescue Technician (IRT)
Confined Space N/A N/A N/A N/A
Under Water Explosives N/A N/A N/A N/A
Contaminated Water Hazmat Diving Training Program N/A N/A N/A
Dry Suit N/A Public Safety Dry suit Diving N/A N/A
Full Face Mask N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hull Inspection Special Marine Operations – Hull Search Diving N/A N/A N/A
Ice Diving Ice Diving Operations Training Rapid Deployment Ice Diving Rescue/Recovery N/A N/A
Night N/A N/A N/A N/A
Small Boat Boat-Based Diving Operations Small Boat Rescue & Handling N/A N/A
Swift Water Current/Swiftwater Rescue Swiftwater Surface Rescue Operations N/A Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician
Under Water Crime Scene Underwater Crime Scene Technician II – Technical Series N/A N/A N/A
Under Water Threat Assessment N/A N/A N/A N/A

ERDI Professional

ERD Supervisor N/A N/A N/A N/A
ERD Instructor Dive Rescue 1 Trainer N/A N/A N/A
ERD Non-Diving Ops Instructor N/A N/A N/A N/A
ERD Instructor Trainer N/A N/A N/A N/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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4 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.


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