Scuba Diving: Age Limitations
- Children that are 8 years old can start diving with instructors by enrolling safety shallow water programs, that are aimed specifically at young children.
- Starting the age of 10 years old children can be certified as Junior Open Water Divers. Teen-agers aged 15 or older can be certified as Open Water Divers.
- No upper age limits are applied.
Anyway, it is only up to parents or responsible adults to take a decision whether your kid should or should not go scuba diving, even if there are no documented studies demonstrating that diving can be harmful to children. However, some known experts like Larry Taylor, Ph.D, are still strongly opposed to early teaching children scuba dive.
Opinions and recommendations are still varying
The Australian South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society (SPUMS) recommends that all children candidates for recreational scuba diving activities undergo a medical assessment by a doctor specializing in diving (underwater) medicine. The minimum age for entry-level scuba diving activities as seen by SPUMS activities is 14 years old, as provided also by the Australian Standard 4005.1. Younger children do not have sufficient emotional maturity and confidence that would allow them always adequately manage underwater emergencies situations such as running out of the air, being separated from your dive companion, being caught in a strong current or scuba diving equipment malfunction. Any of the said emergencies can result in scuba diver starting panicking and making a rapid ascent to the surface, risking to be exposed to fatal pulmonary barotrauma and decompression effect.
Depending on the behavior pattern observed, some 15 years old children may be recommended to delay their open-water certification course until greater behavior maturity is demonstrated.