The History of FSDA "Scuba Training Committee"
and the transition to IDEA.
IDEA was established in 1952 as the educational division of the (FSDA) Florida Skin Divers Association. IDEA was known as the FSDA "Scuba Training Committee". FSDA was and still is a power house group of politically active dive clubs. FSDA has been the voice of the diver since 1952. IDEA is proud of its past affiliation with FSDA. We highly recommend that any new or existing Florida based Dive Clubs join FSDA. FSDA is a power house and has been a positive influence in protecting the divers rights and environmental concerns since its formation in 1952.
In the beginning Instructor training and entry level scuba certification was handled by FSDA Scuba "Training Committee". Many new instructors were from out of state or had moved out of the state. The instructors produced by the FSDA "Scuba Training Committee" were spreading throughout the continental U.S. By early 1976, there were more FSDA instructors outside the state of Florida than there were within. We had also spread to the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, the Antilles, and Barbados. It was at this time the FSDA "Scuba Training Committee" members decided that the FSDA "Scuba Training Committee" Instructors needed to separate from FSDA. Selection of a new name, a new logo, and a new direction was forthcoming. A new name was approved by the members of the FSDA “Scuba Training Committee". A vote was taken on several names and the majority selected the name of International Diving Educators Association. IDEA was born.
In February of 1976, Jim Hollis owner of Jim Hollis Scuba Worlds was voted in as the National Training Director of IDEA. Under the leadership of Jim Hollis the membership voted to expand, and reorganized the "Scuba Training Committee" to an international certification agency, based upon the same principles they has used as the FSDA "Scuba Training Committee for training scuba divers safely . The group wanted to maintain the principle concept of creating and presenting an entry level scuba training course that was based on academics and proficiency.
As in the past IDEA was to be based on academic and proficiency based training methods. Between 1952 and 1971 our old method of training a scuba diver was based on the training style of U.S. navy divers. IDEA wanted to eliminate the military approach. Many of the skills were either dangerous or considered obsolete. Passing the old "Scuba Training Committee" scuba course was almost as tough as going through the navy scuba diver program. The swimming test was a real problem. Many students were washed out by failing the swimming skill. You do not have to be an excellent swimmer to be an excellent recreational sport diver. IDEA realized that any individual that had moderate swimming skills and could be an excellent scuba diver if trained properly. The idea and concept that we voted on was to be an academic and diver proficiency based program of instruction. In 1976 IDEA was totally reorganized and in 1979 incorporated in Florida as a for profit scuba training agency. IDEA trademarks and unique training program and materials were registered and received copyright protection under federal and Florida state law.
IDEA made its first International appearance as a member of the Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association (DEMA) in Las Vegas in 1980. IDEA has grown tremendously and its represented in over 30 foreign countries and all over the continental United States.
In 1987, the majority of certification agencies agreed to form a nonprofit corporation known as the Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC). The RSTC has one purpose for existing: to allow member associations a vehicle for developing standards, and to monitor quality control of our member organizations for the mutual benefit of the recreational diving industry and the general public. The RSTC was appointed as the secretariat of the American National Standards Institute and developed and established the ANSI standards for entry Level Scuba Diving. IDEA & the RSTC also formed the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC). The RSTC/WRSTC allowed the European standards organization ISO to use RSTC standards for developing ISO scuba training standards for europe.
RSTC member agencies train over 85% of the divers certified worldwide. The original founding member agencies of the RSTC were IDEA, NASDS, PADI, PDIC, and SSI. Since that time NASDS joined SSI and the YMCA scuba program was closed in 2009 just one year short of what would have been the YMCA scuba programs 50 th year. The YMCA scuba program was the first National Scuba Program and was established in 1960.
FSDA “Scuba Training Committee”/ IDEA was established in 1952 a full 12 years prior to the YMCA,s start up program. Scripps Institute offered a scuba training program in the mid 1950’s and the Los Angles County Scuba Certification was started in 1956. In 1994 a survey conducted by Under Water USA name IDEA as the fourth most popular certification agency in the U.S. IDEA is the oldest continuing running sport diving scuba certification agency in the United States and most likely the world. Safe, Training and 2012 will mark our 60 th Anniversary. IDEA's/FSDA "STC" records and student records go back to 1952.