A question we are often asked is whether a medical certificate is required for scuba diving in Spain or not.
What is a medical certificate?
The medical certificate is a government approved paper stating that a person is medically fit for diving.
Diving is a sport that takes place in a hyperbaric environment and although nowadays, thanks to all the scientific advances, it is safe, this does not mean that it is totally riskfree. That is why our state of health is of vital importance and we should know if we have any medical condition that prevents us from going scuba diving.
To be valid, this certifiate must be signed by a doctor / physician.
BOE – what does the law say?
According to the current BOE (the Spanish law), in Spain it is not mandatory to have this certificate, as long as you honestly fill in a medical self-questionnaire with a favorable result. This way you can scuba dive without a medical certificate.
It is important to know that diving requires good physical and mental health. There are some medical conditions that can be dangerous during diving, which are listed in the medical self-declaration. Those who have or are predisposed to any of these conditions should be evaluated by a physician prior to go diving, just in case.
This Diver Medical Questionnaire provides a basis for determining whether to seek such an evaluation before engaging in either Recreational scuba diving, technical diving or freediving. This form is designed primarily as an initial medical examination for new divers, but is also appropriate for divers receiving continuing education. For the safety of each other and others who may be diving with us, all questions should be answered honestly. If you answered NO to the 10 questions on the first page of the questionnaire, a medical evaluation is not required. If you answered YES to the questions with an asterisk, or to any of the questions on page 2, a medical evaluation will be required in order to conduct a diving course. In that case you will need to obtain a certificate and approval from your physician before you can dive.
It is the responsibility of each diver to keep himself/herself in an adequate condition for the type of activity he/she is doing.
If there is any doubt about your ability to dive, you should consult a doctor. Diving centres cannot give an opinion in these cases, as we are not doctors and it must be a professional who decides whether or not you can go diving.
Some of the conditions that may prevent you from diving include the following:
- Diseases related to blood pressure, the heart or the lungs
- Recent surgeries: as there are still open spaces in the skin where bubbles could form.
- Back problems: due to the weight of the equipment
- Taking certain prescription drugs: as they may cause disturbances in response to increased pressure.
- Diseases affecting the ears or sinuses: as they may prevent compensation.
In summary, when diving you must have a good general state of health, but we must take into account mainly ears and lungs as they are the most affected by diving. Also, the back due to the weight we carry out of the water (once in the water we can float).
Diving is a wonderful sport that allows you to discover the underwater world and enjoy breathtaking landscapes. For this reason, we want to prevent any problems that could keep us out of the water or affect such a special experience.