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There is little that’s more satisfying or more fun than introducing youngsters to SCUBA and Freediving. Kids have a level of curiosity and sense of adventure that makes being in the water a perfect fit for them. Young divers tend to connect with the fun immediately and, for some, learning about the underwater realm opens up a lifelong bond that never washes away. So, signing up cadet and junior divers is a thrill for them and for RAID dive pros.

However, when teaching minors (youths under the age of 18), there are a few special checks and balances that must be in place.

The RAID General Diving Standards (download the RGDS from your member profile) makes the agency’s policy clear. It contains our ” YOUTH CODE OF PRACTICE, which is based on the relevant ISO guidelines.

    • Look after the child’s health, safety and welfare.
    • Ensure appropriate supervision during all instructional activities.
    • Whenever possible, meet the child’s parents or guardians and share program goals and objectives.
    • Strive to keep parents or guardians involved and informed through verbal reports and updates as often as possible.
    • Treat children, parents or guardians with respect regardless of age, race, gender and religious affiliation.
    • Honor commitments made to children.
    • Discuss disciplinary problems with parents or guardians.
    • Do not engage in inappropriate contact with children.
    • Respect a child’s rights to privacy and intrude only when health and safety demand.
    • Whenever possible, ensure two adults are with children at all times.
    • In all activities follow local, district, federal codes relating to working with minors.
And all that is fine as a general directive from HQ’s point of view, but if you have young customers, at your shop, your boat, your pool, or anywhere you are conducting RAID SCUBA or Freediving activities (sanctioned training or events), you must be sure to have staff and everyone who works with them, conform with local/regional guidelines for safeguarding children. 

These vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but most follow a similar format.
For example, Canada’s human rights and childhood protection guidelines ask that when working with children and youths that companies recognise any threats, respond with full force to infractions, report any incident to the authorities (police, etc.), record all that happens in a safe and secure way since it may be used in legal proceedings, and refer any incidents to social services, health professionals and so on.
So, what that means for you as a DRI professional member is this. You must connect with the regional authorities, such as social services, human rights commision, child protection agency in your area (EU, UK, USA, Canada, etc.) and follow their guidelines.

If you have further questions about what you must do to safeguard kids and young adults in your local region, please contact your RAID Regional Office.