On Friday 2nd November our maritime archaeologist, Nicole Schoute, qualified as a commercial diver following a practical diving exam at the Dutch navy harbour in Den Helder, the Netherlands. In this blog she outlines the exam process:
This diving exam was part of my commercial diving certification, so that I would be allowed to do commercial SCUBA diving worldwide, including the Netherlands. In 2015 I got my commercial SCUBA certificate in Denmark, where I studied Maritime Archaeology. This certificate is valid worldwide, except in the Netherlands due to stricter regulations. When I would pass both a theory and a practical exam, my certificate would be valid in the Netherlands as well.
In December 2017 I passed my theory exam, which included diving illnesses and how to recognise and treat them, line signals, Dutch diving regulations, physics and all other aspects that are important to know for commercial diving. Then, finally, in November I could do the practical diving exam. The practical exam consisted of two parts. For the first part I had to prepare the dive set and then descend to 15m, using a specific diving table. Once I had reached the bottom, I had to give a signal to the surface and ascend to 3m below the surface, as part of a decompression stop. After a few seconds I could ascend to the surface and get out of the water, getting ready for the second part. The second part of the practical exam consisted of a rescue dive, where I had to rescue someone from 9m depth, following his communication line. During this part it is important to remain calm, and communicate every step that you take. You have to check whether the diver is conscious or not, if he is still breathing, the air left in his tanks, whether he is tangled in something, and so on. The most important part, however, is to bring the diver up while making sure his head is leaning back, so the airways are free and the diver can keep breathing while being rescued. Once I saved the diver I had to clean up the dive set and wait for my results. And I passed! So now I am very happy to say that I am officially allowed to do commercial SCUBA dive work worldwide, including the Netherlands!