The Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) has announced that all new dive certifications acquired within PADI Asia Pacific and PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will be issued in a digital format rather than the traditional plastic card.
From 15 April 2020, all new students will be issued with PADI eCards upon completion of their training courses, which will be viewable through an updated version of the PADI App. Divers who wish to obtain a physical certification card will be able to order a version made from 70 per cent recycled plastic for an additional fee.
In light of the increased awareness of global plastic pollution in recent years, dive training agencies have been criticised for their continued use of plastic certification cards. The transition to electronic certifications as standard has already been warmly welcomed by the scuba diving community.
PADI’s eCards have been available since 2012, but as optional extras to the plastic cards which were required to be issued with each new certification – and for an additional certification fee. The switch to electronic certifications being issued by default, with plastic versions available as optional extras, is a reversal of the current practice and part of PADI’s ‘Four Pillars of Change’ commitment to environmental sustainability.
Divers with pre-existing eCard certifications will be able to view them on the new app, although the older version of the app will be maintained for ‘a little while longer’. There are no plans to transfer older, non-digital certifications to the new platform, although divers can continue to purchase eCards for existing certifications if they wish to do so.
The new and updated version of the PADI app for iOS (11.0 and above) and Android (7.0 and above) includes some tutorials, a collection of hand signal demonstrations, knot-tying instructions and a checklist for dive preparation. The app displays eCards in Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), German, English, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch and Spanish, and is available to download for free from Google Play and the App Store.