Does my certification card (c-card) expire? I have lost my certification card (c-card) or have forgotten it on my vacation. It shouldn’t be a problem to dive right? I can just show them a few skills.
These questions often come together. Divers misplace their c-cards and assume they probably have expired. Then they travel on vacation and expect to be able to dive anyways.
I have spent over two decades working in resorts where this occurs every single week. So let’s set the record straight. C-cards do not expire ever. However, that doesn’t mean that since you have not dived since the invention of the internet you should just jump in with both feet. It is highly recommended that you take a refresher course if it’s been a few years since you were diving. This is for your safety, your comfort and the safety and comfort of your dive buddy. If you don’t want to actually take a class, at least jump in the pool and get used to your gear again and see how you feel.
Regarding the “I don’t have my c-card” question, PLEASE DO NOT expect to dive without a c-card, period. You are not able to rent a car without a drivers license, you cannot dive without a diving license. So, here is what I recommend. Put your c-card in your wallet and just leave it there forever. You don’t forget your credit card when you travel, why would you forget your c-card? I never take mine out of my wallet. I also recommend making a copy of your card (just like you should do with your passport) and keep it in your mask case. Make sure you have your c-card in your carry on bag, not in a checked bag. If your luggage and dive gear go missing you can always rent it. You can’t rent a certification card.
Do NOT try to bully the divemaster into taking you diving anyways. They are COMPLETELY liable for you and could be sued or lose their license forever. It is not fair to put that on them when you are the one who made the bonehead move. Please respect this.
Sometimes if the resort has internet service it is possible through some agencies to look up your certification. Some resorts charge for this service if you have forgotten your card and not all agencies have it available. If you are on board a cruise ship, that does not have internet service, it may cost you the price of a satellite phone call @$15/minute. However, do not rely on someone else to prove you are a certified diver. That is your responsibility.
If you have lost your card, get a replacement. Call your certification agency, pay the fee and have one sent to you. Allow multiple weeks for this to happen.
It is truly a bummer to go on vacation and find a great dive spot and not be able to jump in the water. Never assume you will not be diving. I feel the same way about my passport. Anytime I leave my state, I take my passport with me. What if I went to Los Angeles and while I’m there I get a wild hair to go to Mexico? Just like my American Express card, I never leave home without my c-card and my passport.
To your adventures!
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