Andrew Capps
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National Licensed Aquatic Facility Technician Course (NLAFT)

Started this discussion. Last reply by Joe Andrews Aug 27, 2012. 3 Replies

National Licensed Aquatic Facility Technician Blended and 2 Day LAFT Course: This course is approved in 26 U. S. States and is the first step in becoming a Licensed Aquatic Facility Technician. This…Continue

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Recreational and Public Safety Diving

I've been asked several times "What is the difference between Recreational and Public Safety Diving"?

The key is in the type of training and scope of training.


Recreational Scuba is just that, Recreational and does not cover any aspects of Public Safety Diving. Recreational diving offers may specialties, and the key word is specialty, such as Underwater Navigation, Rescue Diving, Search and Recovery, etc. but it's primary purpose is on non-hazardous environments and recreational use only.


If you or a buddy lose a fishing pole or boat motor, some of the skills you learn in recreational diving will help you find and bring up your lost item but in what we call ,"An Ideal Environment(s)".


Public Safety Diving has two basic sub-groups, those groups are Fire/EMS and Law Enforcement.


Fire/EMS Divers are normally referred to as Rescue Divers and sometimes Public Safety Divers. Their main focus is the recovery of drowning victims, when no crime is suspected. Their training should consist of Public Safety Diver Training and not Recreational training as recreational training does not meet federal requirements for public safety diving.


Law Enforcement Divers (Police) are almost always referred to as Public Safety Divers. Their function is not only Search and Recovery but also recovery of underwater evidence and underwater crime investigation(s). There again, these divers should be trained to the Public Safety Diver Level. This training allows the LEO diver to dive in less than ideal conditions (e.g. swift currents, contaminated waters, etc.). This training also allows the officer to testify in court as to the recovery and handling of any evidence recovered.


If the LEO diver is only recreationally trained, the evidence can, and most times, becomes inadmissible in court even though it was recovered by a law enforcement officer.


Most departments are under the false impression that, if the person works for them and they are a diver, they can perform public safety diving operations. This is not the case, (NIOSH, OSHA, NFPA, etc.) and other regulatory agencies will not cover the person(s) should they get injured while performing a diving operation (training or orther wise).

There are very few agencies that offer actual public safety programs, so if you are in the public safety field and want to get public safety "Certified", do look at the training agencies credentials.

South Carolina Public Safety Diving Int'l (SCPSDI) has been accredited/approved by several U.S. Police Academies and Police Officer Standard of Training (POST) agencies (26 states +), as well as having our programs taught overseas.

Some of our customers/clients include U. S. Customs, IRS and varying other International and National Government Agencies, and local agencies.

This is a brief description of Recreational and Public Safety Diving. Opinions differ;

S. C. Public Safety Divers Int'l



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