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New Rebreather Diver Training Organization looks to move into North American Market

(DiverWire) – Recently the scuba diving organization RAID (Rebreather Association of International Divers) has started to move into the North American market. We talked to the organization’s founder Barry Coleman about RAID. Read our round-up of that conversation:

Rebreathers have developed a reputation that one requires extensive open circuit experience in order to learn to dive them. This, amongst other reasons, has fueled the interest – and more divers with less open circuit experience are learning to dive rebreathers.

From an instructional point of view, it has been found that the divers with less open circuit experience have a tendency to grasp rebreather diving far easier, having inherited less “open circuit auto response”.

With this in mind RAID has assimilated the best skill development training, together with the benefits of the internet and merged both into the most comprehensive diver training available.

When was RAID launched?
In 2008 – Rebreather Association of International Divers  was launched to meet the needs of Closed Circuit Rebreather recreational members, from Divers and Instructors to the Dive Centres and Resorts.

How is RAID different from other rebreather training?

Breaking away from the traditional is the RAID system of rebreather certification, building along the theme of continued education. The progressive levels of rebreather education expand the divers’ knowledge and depth limits whilst encompassing the unique specific information applicable to each rebreather, in individual Speciality courses. Two ’C-cards’ are issued; the core level certification and the Speciality certification.

The two courses may be taken together or individually. This allows for RAID certified divers to cross over and learn new rebreathers without repeating the common knowledge already gained, concentrating only on what is to be learnt; i.e. the details of the rebreather.
Generally rebreathers are more demanding than open circuit and thus require more time in recreational depths. This extra time also prepares the divers for the more rigorous demands of technical courses if they decide they want to go this route.
Can a person learn to dive on a rebreather?

At this stage only the Mk6 Discovery is within limitations, for divers to learn to dive, all other rebreather Speciality courses require varying and sometimes limited open circuit experience.

Do students really learn anything with the RAID e-learning?
The course content is very comprehensive and detailed, with multiple quizzes and exams pulled from an extensive data base to ensure varied questions for each and every subsequent test. The ability for the Dive Centre to view the students’ on-line academic progress and at the same time appoint an individual instructor to work with the student during the student’s academic and practical training is unique.

Quality for the student is enhanced with the knowledge that all in water skills mastered are signed off on-line upon mastery, first by the instructor and then confirmed as accepted by the student.  Following this the RAID dive centre completes the final certification, each through their individual login.

This sort of in built quality control can only be implemented thoroughly through the internet, making the RAID on-line training system the most comprehensive web based programme in the world and not just in the diving industry.

How are people accepting this?
Like anything new there is always a reluctance to change and there are people who find it difficult to adapt to new methodologies.

The RAID system requires the student to read / refer to the manual, in order to pass the tests.  There is no video content at this point. The instructor can personally login and see how long (minutes) the student took to complete each test and view their results. The instructor can make contact and follow up, requesting the student to attend a traditional lecture if deemed necessary.

Before the practical in water training, the student has to pass another quick written quiz, to ensure the students’ understanding and knowledge. With the academics completed, the instructor can get started directly with the in water training.

The intention of the RAID system is to spend more practical in water training than lecturing. With traditional programs, instructors would receive students with little or no knowledge and have to start from the ground up, spending valuable time lecturing.  Generally these courses are completed within 4 – 5 days, with no previous instructor/student contact.  With the RAID system the students will have the same number of days with their instructor face to face plus they have the added benefit of on-line communication and learning prior, which ensures a strong relationship and training development.

As we all know, the lecturer cannot transfer all the required information before the student’s concentration waivers.  The RAID self study system combined with practical instructor led learning has generally shown that information is better understood and retained.

The RAID system facilitates the modern self study student, supported with detailed short specific lecturers and practical instruction. The system allows flexibility with built in quality control, combining the new with the old.

To-date this approach has imbued hundreds of candidates with the necessary skills/understanding and ultimately, the confidence and certification, to become an active and ongoing member of the dive fraternity.

What other training does RAID provide?
Due to demand from RAID Dive Centers and divers, open circuit Nitrox courses from beginners to instructors were launched in May 2009 making RAID the first complete recreational open circuit and rebreather e-learning training program in the world. The RAID certifications include Nitrox and deep as part of the basic training and not offered as additional speciality courses providing divers with the information before they dive without the training, which most people do.

Is RAID international and is the certification accepted at dive destinations?
RAID has dive centers all over the world, especially since we provide training in Mandarin and soon the Spanish language, following with German and Russian, making RAID truly global. RAID’s head office is in Sweden; with branches in Mexico, Taiwan, Florida USA and South Africa. RAID is still developing and with future plans for other courses and further development of our web site.

For more details about RAID, go to


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