CMAS , Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques or known as the World Underwater Federation is a European Dive Certification and standards body formed in Monaco in 1959 with its head office established in Italy, Rome; CMAS forms one of the oldest scuba diving organisations in the world.
CMAS as an organization is divided into three main committees which deals with different areas of underwater activity. The Sports Committee which deals with underwater sports and sport diving, the Technical Committee which governs recreational diving and guidelines to scuba diving, and finally the Scientific Committee to bring into focus the important issues related to the marine environment.
Unlike most US Dive Organizations, CMAS is known to stress the quality of diver education over profit, offering a wider range of diving knowledge and not just focussing on just reef and tropical water holiday diving. This emphasis on diver education has made the CMAS certification levels more respected than many of its fellow agencies. CMAS offers courses geared towards Ice Diving, Dry Suits Diving, Cave, full-face rebreather and even free diving and snorkelling courses.
CMAS has developed a CMAS International Diver Training Certification System that consists of Diver, Speciality Diver, Technical Diver and Leadership Diver Training Standards and which allows divers that have been trained in accordance with the prescribed CMAS International Diver Training Standards, to have their certifications recognised throughout the world in countries that are members of the CMAS family of divers. The Certification map under the CMAS programme is as follows: Divers completing their open water training are termed as One Star Divers, and can progress to the next level becoming two star divers and finally CMAS Three and four Star divers. Following the three star diver level one can opt to become an instructor and follow the one, two and finally three star instructor certification programs. The CMAS levels while often are compared with PADI or SSI equivalents does not truly match. A CMAS two star diver is more of a combination of a PADI Advanced Open Water diver plus a Rescue Diver as the two star course teaches first aid, CPR and how to deal with underwater issues. The Three Star course covers a lot of knowledge areas and skills that are usually covered in a Dive Master course. The emphasis on a greater amount of theory or classroom training makes CMAS training more extensive and produces a better quality of diver.
The CMAS certification is recognized all over the world with diver training schools located on every continent offering its courses.
The CMAS Diver Certification Levels:
- CMAS Scuba Diver – (Resort Course) limited depth, etc. No certification since only pool training done
- 1 Star – “A diver who is competent in the safe and correct use of all appropriate open water scuba diving equipment in a sheltered water training area and is ready to gain open water diving experience in the company of an experienced diver.”
- 2 Star – “A diver who has gained some open water diving experience and is considered ready to take part in dives partnered by a diver of at least the same or higher grade.”
- 3 Star – “A fully trained, experienced, and responsible diver who is considered competent to lead other divers of any grade in open water dives.”
- 4 Star – “A three star diver who has attained a higher than average level of knowledge and ability supported by broad experience. He will be competent to use divers and diving to achieve major tasks or project objectives.”