Skill Level Rating System

NOVICE

Equipment – Requires basic freedive or scuba/snorkel type equipment including freedive or scuba wetsuits, weights may be required, no descent lines but surface floats for dive flags and standard safety equipment such as SMB, knife/line-cutter and light.

Activity – Basic level freediving applications of depths from surface to 20m/66ft with breath-holds in the 1-minute range, basic surface intervals required, accessible by shore (via boat).

Environment – Shallow, ledge above 20m/66ft feet, no or manageable currents, no overhead or underwater obstructions, no entanglement issues, provides depths shallow enough to stand up in. Lights not required.

ADVANCED

Equipment – Requires advanced equipment, waist and neck weights preferred, freedive bi-fins in composites or mono-fins preferred, DPV's helpful and ‘technical freediving’ procedures useful, standard safety equipment and surface float required with marked descent line preferred. Handheld light a requirement.

Activity – Advanced freediving applications with depths into the 60m/200ft zone with breath-holds under 3-minute to reach primary target depth, accessible by boat. Primary/secondary safety with ‘counter-balance’ recommended.

Environment – Target Depths in the 40m/130ft to 60m/200ft, moderate currents and timing required, possible overhead with ambient light, or moderate obstructions and or entanglement issues. Mid to deeper zones will require lights.

INTERMEDIATE

Equipment – Requires freedive specific equipment such as long-blade fins and low volume masks, with freedive wetsuits, waist weights, surface float with descent lines recommended. Standard safety equipment required. Lights may be helpful.

Activity – Intermediate freediving level diving applications in the 20m/66ft to 40m/130ft depth range, under 2-minute breath hold to reach primary target depth, calculated surface intervals required, accessible by shore (via boat). ‘Direct supervision’ and ‘one-up / one-down’ buddy system.

Environment – Target depths between 20m/66ft and 40m/130ft, manageable currents, no overhead or underwater obstructions, no entanglement issues, may provide depths shallow enough to stand up in dependant on tides. Deeper zones may require light.

EXPLORATORY/EXPERT

Equipment – All advanced level equipment plus scooters and technical freediving equipment.

Activity – Advanced to expert level apnea diving applications with depths into and greater than 60m/200ft, 3-4 minute plus breath holds to reach primary

target depth, accessible by via boat. Primary/secondary safety with deep scooter recommended including counter-balances.

Environment – Deep, below 60m/200ft, may include blue water with no visible ocean bottom, may present strong unpredictable currents, may have overhead or underwater obstructions, may present certain entanglement issues.

These skill level ratings were created by EDSBC members who maintain a diversity of professional qualifications and tenure. The rating system was created using systemized analysis and is subject to change. The dive sites explored are rated according to their relative complexity in comparison to other cold water dive sites on the west coast of Canada. 

The rating process takes into consideration the elements necessary to conduct a dive safely and competently. These elements include the experience and qualifications necessary to dive the sites, taking into consideration the environmental factors, the necessary equipment, and the nature of the activity. These are known as the ranges of diving activity, and are extended as the complexity of the dive extends, hence extended range diving. 

These skill level ratings were based on a spectrum of elements relevant and specific to cold water environments only. Dive site complexity is subject to change and influenced by the dynamic nature of the environment. These ratings provide only a baseline and do not take into consideration the subjective experiences and personal limitations of each individual diver, including a diver's physical, physiological, emotional or mental disposition.