UK Divers Will be Required to Take an EU Diving License Post Brexit
Scuba divers from the UK will be required to re-certify as 'EU Divers' after Brexit, according to an EU spokesperson.
The information came to light shortly before 4pm on 29 March, as Members of the British Parliament entered into an eleventh-hour debate over whether or not the UK would be leaving the EU later that evening - which it didn't.
The new rule applies to UK nationals who were resident in the UK at the time of certification, wherever that certification may have been granted. Divers of other nationalities and who are not resident in the UK will not be required to recertify.
'We can't have one rule for British people and another for EU citizens,' said an EU representative. 'There are standards and regulations for scuba diving in the EU and we must be assured that divers certified in the UK will continue to abide by those standards.'
It is anticipated that the new EU Scuba Diving Certification (EUSD) programme will be a two-day course, with a formal knowledge development test followed by two confined water sessions and two certification dives, to be conducted by an EU-approved instructor. The expected cost of the certification programme is approximately €250. A five-day EU Instructor Training Course (EUITC) will be held in Brussels for UK instructors who will be able to conduct the EU certification within the UK. The first EUITC is expected in 2020, and is expected to cost around €1,500. Non-UK, EU resident Instructors will automatically be granted status as 'EURI's, UK nationals working as instructors within the EU will be granted EURI status after participating in an online training session which will cost approximately €50.
In the interim period, as the new programme is rolled out to dive centres across the European Union, UK divers will be allowed to dive in EU waters but will be limited to entry-level depths and dive sites, regardless of their current level of training.
The news is not expected to go down well with the members of the UK diving public. 'It's infuriating,' said a diver we spoke to at a local dive shop over the weekend. 'I've dived all over the world in some pretty hairy conditions, with over 5,000 dives under my weight-belt,' she said. 'I voted remain and I signed the petition and I marched through London and now, after nearly three years of government squabbling, I can't dive some of my favourite places in the Med. Thanks for nothing, Mrs May!'
We asked a Brexit supporter, who wished only to be known as 'Nige', for his opinion. 'First they asked us to unbend our bananas, then they told us we will have to apply for a visa to visit EU countries, and now we can't go diving there,' he said, 'but all those foreign divers can come over here and dive willy nilly in our UK waters, that we fought to protect from the meddling EU. I got my PADI in the Bahamas last year and I'm going back this year to get my SSI, and damn the European Union,' he said, supping on a pint of imported Belgian beer.
A representative from the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC), who wished to remain anonymous, said: 'It's devastating. It's been almost three whole months since our club last went to Malta. We don't think we should have to get another certification to dive in between our bacon sandwich intervals. Where will we go now for our holidays?'
We tried to contact a representative of the UK government for comment, however, we were told that nobody was available due to an 'unfortunate incident' involving a 'senior member of the House of Commons, a pig's head, half a bottle of gin and a pair of striped kitten heels.'
The EU scuba diving certification is expected to become mandatory on 1 April, 2020.