“The Recreational Diving Service Provider Regulations LN 359 of 2012”, were published in 2012. The objective of these Regulations being, to ensure that all divers in Malta encounter the most pleasurable diving experience under the safest diving conditions possible.
These Regulations aim to:
• Maintain and improve upon, the high level of care already administered by the licensed divecentres of the Maltese Islands. To this end, all dive centres will now have to be licensed by the Malta Tourism Authority, which has defined minimum standards for facilities, equipment and service. Only licensed diving centres will be allowed to provide diving services to the public.
• Achieve conformity with new European CEN Standards for Recreational Diving Service Providers. These new standards provide the basis for the operational procedures detailed in the Maltese Regulations.
The notable differences for divers on their next visit to Malta will be as follows:
Enforcement is facilitated through the Enforcement Section of the Malta Tourism Authority. Diving services are now subject to the Malta Travel and Tourism Services Act which stipulates both fines and possible imprisonment for those failing to comply.
Under Maltese regulations, divers are only permitted to dive independently if they have a diving certification that allows them to dive to a depth of 30m, otherwise they must be accompanied by alicensed instructor.
The following are prohibited:
• Spear fishing with SCUBA;
• Spear fishing or any other form of fishing within the Marine Conservation Areas;
• Spear fishing between dusk and dawn
Only licensed operators are allowed to offer scuba training or other recreational diving services. Qualified Instructors who wish to supervise training or diving for those less than PADI Advanced Open Water, CMAS 2 Star or equivalent, must do so through a licensed dive centre. The Instructor will first have to register with a dive centre, presenting his Instructor qualification and a copy of an annual medical examination by a Doctor specializing in diving medicine.
Divers will be required to complete and sign a medical questionnaire. If any prescribed medical condition is indicated, divers will be required to produce a ‘fit for diving’ certificate, signed by a medical doctor
There are no restrictions on age. The decision on minimum age will be as stipulated by the training agency for those undertaking a diving qualification. Written parental/guardian consent required for all divers under 18 years of age.
The use of Rebreathers, Enriched Air and Trimix are sanctioned, subject to the normal restrictions of training and experience.