Physical Performance Requirements are the required skills that must be performed for certification. This is the way Diver Training Agencies such as PADI ensure consistent training that produce safe comfortable divers. The HSA is a Diver Training Agency and our Performance Requirements are specific for divers with disabilities.
They are not easier requirements, they are in fact among the top Performance Requirements in the Diving Industry and include 'additional' requirements to ensure HSA divers are completely trained and ready to safely join the diving world as fully qualified Scuba divers.
Based on the student's ability to successfully challenge the HSA Physical Performance Requirements, the HSA developed the Multilevel Certification. This is a performance-based method of assessing and accommodating the disabled diver's specialized needs.
It is important to note that only the Buddy System is affected by this certification procedure. All other sport diving requirements and activities are the same for any diver.
The Multilevel certification system is for the protection and safety of ALL members of the dive team. That is, the third dive Buddy in the dive team is NOT for the B or C Level diver, they are there for the other A Level or above dive buddy.
Level A: The student has successfully challenged all of the HSA Physical Performance Requirements, demonstrating that he or she can safely SCUBA dive, solve basic personal emergencies, help another diver in distress, and perform basic rescues. They have shown, by successfully challenging these Performance Requirements, that they can perform the skills required to be an effective Buddy and are certified to dive with one other certified SCUBA diver.
Level B: The student has successfully challenged those HSA Physical Performance Requirements that demonstrate their ability to safely SCUBA dive, and to solve basic emergencies. However, they are unable to successfully challenge those Performance Requirements that demonstrate their ability to help another diver in distress.
Therefore, the LEVEL B diver is certified to SCUBA dive with two dive buddies who are certified Open Water Level A or above. In the case of an emergency, this system will provide an effective dive buddy for all members of the dive team.
Level C: The student has successfully challenged those HSA Physical Performance Requirements that demonstrate their ability to safely SCUBA dive. However, they are unable to successfully challenge those Performance Requirements that demonstrate their ability to independently solve basic personal emergencies, or to execute basic scuba skills, such as swimming underwater, and operating their Buoyancy Control Device to descend.
The skills that must be performed for them, such as operating their BCD to descend, require the Assisting Buddy to have professional skills. They are certified to dive with two dive buddies, one certified Level A or above, and an HSA Dive Buddy or, at a minimum, certified Rescue Diver.
Training programs for people with disabilities have a high margin of safety and patience. HSA uses teaching techniques developed from more than 30 years of continuous research and feedback. Disabled students are trained and certified according to HSA Physical Performance Requirements and Multilevel Certification system.