SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.

Occupational Certificate: Class 4 Commercial Scuba Diver 
110370  Occupational Certificate: Class 4 Commercial Scuba Diver 
Development Quality Partner-TETA 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 11 - Services  Transport, Operations and Logistics 
Undefined  47  Not Applicable  NQF Level 04  Regular-ELOAC 
Registered  SAQA 10126/19  2019-10-24  2024-10-24 
2025-10-24   2028-10-24  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The purpose of this part-qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Class 4 Commercial Scuba Diver.
The Class 4 Commercial Scuba Diver enters water or other liquid or a pressurised environment at a pressure exceeding 100mb above atmospheric pressure, using SCUBA breathing apparatus, in order to carry out a range of tasks underwater inshore to depths of not more than 30 metres.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Complete diving safety activities.
  • Carry out pre-dive activities.
  • Execute dive operations.
  • Provide surface support.
  • Perform post-dive activities.

    There is currently no South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) registered qualification for Commercial Diving. However, Class 4 Commercial Scuba Diver is an important subsector of the South African maritime industry, regulated by the Department of Labour in line with international legislative and regulatory frameworks.

    Commercial divers are used across a multitude of subsectors including:
  • Marine Civil/Construction work.
  • Marine maintenance.
  • Aquaculture or fish-farming.
  • Renewable energy.
  • Oil and Gas.
  • Inland Waters (i.e. dam inspections).
  • Subsea pipeline and cable installation and maintenance.

    Commercial diving provides services in support of Operation Phakisa in the areas of:
  • Marine Transport and Manufacturing.
  • Offshore Oil and Gas.
  • Aquaculture.

    This qualification is one of the following regulated diving categories:
  • Class 2 Commercial Diver.
  • Class 3 Inshore Diver.

    Typical learners will generally be unemployed, recent high school graduates with a practical aptitude, who enjoy being in the water, who are fit and healthy and who are comfortable using numerical reasoning. Qualifying learners will generally be employed by local and international commercial diving companies, South African Police Services, South African Navy, Scientific institutions, Diamond Diving Companies and the like who carry out diving services across a variety of industries.

    The learning pathway for this qualification is vertically from Class 4 Commercial Scuba Diver, to Class 3 Inshore Diver to Commercial Diver. Learners are required to complete knowledge and practical skills training against the criteria for each category prior to being granted access to the next category. 

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    RPL for access to the external integrated summative assessment:
    Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of result or certifying a work experience record.

    RPL for access to the qualification:
  • Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirements:
    NQF Level 3 with Mathematical Literacy and Communication. 


    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skill and Work Experience Modules.

    Knowledge Modules:
  • 684101-000-00-KM-01, Diving Legislative and Regulatory Framework, Level 4, 2 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-02, Diving First Aid, Level 4, 1 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-03, Applied Commercial Diving Physics and Physiology, Level 4, 2 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-04, Diving Safety, Level 4, 1 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-05, Diving Emergencies and Contingencies, Level 4, 1 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-06, Pre-Dive Activities, Level 4, 1 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-07, Diving Communication and Interpersonal Skills, Level 4, 1 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-08, Modes of Diving, Level 4, 1 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-09, Commercial Scuba Equipment, Level 4, 4 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-12, Decompression, Level 4, 1 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-13, Surface Support, Level 4, 1 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-14, Commercial Scuba Underwater Work, Level 4, 3 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-KM-17, Post-Dive Operations, Level 4, 1 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 20.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 684101-000-00-PM-01, Complete SCUBA Diving Safety Activities, Level 4, 2 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-PM-04, Carry Out SCUBA Pre-dive Activities, Level 4, 2 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-PM-07, Execute SCUBA Diving Operations, Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-PM-10, Provide Surface Support for SCUBA Diving, Level 4, 2 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-PM-13, Complete SCUBA Post-dive Activities, Level 4, 2 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 14.

    Work Experience Modules:
  • 684101-000-00-WM-01, Legislative and regulatory requirements for completing all diving safety activities for SCUBA Diving, Level 4, 2 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-WM-04, Pre-dive legislation and regulations, International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) guidelines, company policies and procedures for SCUBA Diving, Level 4, 2 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-WM-07, Dive execution regulations and legislation as well as company and client requirements for SCUBA Diving, Level 4, 4 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-WM-10, Operational support safety organisational and legislative requirements for SCUBA Diving, Level 4, 3 Credits.
  • 684101-000-00-WM-13, Post-dive company operational procedures for SCUBA Diving, Level 4, 2 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 13. 

    1. Conduct Commercial Scuba diving operations in compliance with established safety requirements and regulations.
    2. Interpret the commercial scuba dive plan and set up, prepare and test job-related equipment on site.
    3. Enter the water and execute the dive plan for a Commercial Scuba Diver using a variety of methods for routine diving duties and for emergencies.
    4. Ensure safe commercial scuba diving processes at support level on the surface.
    5. Complete the post commercial scuba dive activities by completing the relevant documentation, performing postchecks and maintenance. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Predictable and variable environmental factors are included in the dive plan and contingencies are proposed.
  • Dive and task-related equipment and its potential hazards are identified, secured and neutralised for commercial diving operations.
  • A comprehensive risk analysis in the form of a Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) and Job Safety Analysis (JSA) is performed and the outcomes included in the dive briefing.
  • The need to assess the physical, social and cognitive properties of the diver is evaluated to propose improvements to ensure a safe dive and reduce the possibility of human error.
  • The structure and competence of the dive team is aligned to the operation at hand to ensure the safety of the working diver through back-up, support and managing of the surface equipment.
  • Appropriate signals and flags such as prescribed by the International Code of Signals and International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea as amended when diving operations are underway at sea and any local signals in force concerning diving operations are identified and used appropriately.
  • Mode for signalling diver recall, such as diver-to-surface communications for Surface-Supplied Diving or line pull, is identified in line with the specific operations stipulated in the dive plan.
  • Precautions to be taken to prevent the diver from becoming fouled on the bottom are applied.
  • The reasons for having a standby diver shall be available at the point of entry of the confined space whenever a diving operation requires a diver to make a penetration into a confined space are explained and applied.
  • Safety regulations are adhered to according to specific manufacturer's instructions and safe working practice for all equipment and tooling.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • The length of the dive is determined in accordance with the depth of water, condition of the diver, water temperature, and type of work (i.e. understand the dive profile and dive plan).
  • The tasks to be undertaken, safety procedures for the diving mode, any unusual hazards or environmental conditions likely to be encountered, and any modifications to standard operating procedures by accepting the Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) for the dive plan, are understood.
  • All dive plan related equipment and tooling is identified, selected and inspected.
  • All ancillary equipment and tooling required in terms of the dive plan are recognised, selected and inspected.
  • Relevant equipment is set up and started up at the dive site and the required checklists and logbooks are correctly completed.

    Associated Assessment Criteria Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Appropriate diving (Personal Protective Equipment - PPE) equipment is worn as required by the dive plan. All pre-dive in-water checks are completed, including connection of equipment and checking of gas gauges.
  • Occupational health and safety precautions are applied to all points of access into and exit out of the water.
  • The dive plan is executed by carrying out the instructions of the dive supervisor, using the relevant tooling and/or equipment received from the surface and in accordance with operating procedures.
  • A two-way voice communication system is operated and line pull signals are used during the dive.
  • When diving from a wet bell or diving stage, the wet bell panel operations and emergency procedures are carried out.
  • Emergencies are responded to in line with appropriate standard operating procedures.
  • Appropriate decompression stops for ascending are explained.
  • Surface decompression is explained.
  • The reasons for dive termination are explained.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • The type of diving activity is identified and the Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) is executed accordingly.
  • A continuous lookout is maintained for hazards in the environment and are addressed when identified.
  • The need to act as standby diver for deployment in the event of an emergency is evaluated.
  • Communication with the diver is maintained through a variety of methods.
  • Gas supplies are handled and stored safely and are filled as directed.
  • Assistance is provided to the Diving Medical Practitioner Level 2 by the Chamber Attendant following all medical instructions and by operating internal controls within the chamber.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • The physical condition of each diver is assessed for symptoms of any Decompression Sickness (DCS) or Arterial Gas Embolism (AGE).
  • The diver's logbook is completed according to the relevant regulations.
  • Incidents are documented and analysed, if required.
  • The dive equipment undergoes post-use checks and maintenance.
  • Defective equipment is reported, where appropriate.

    Integrated Assessment.
    Integrated Formative Assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment:
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) Assessment Quality Partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the Exit Level Outcomes and Associated Assessment Criteria. 

    South Africa is compliant with the standards of the Association of Diving Contractors (ADC)'s "International Consensus Standards for Commercial Diving and Underwater Operations".
    The standards are comparable with the Knowledge- and Practical components for divers in countries having similar maritime training systems to South Africa such as:

    Australia (Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme):
  • 10133NAT, Certificate IV in Hyperbaric Operations (General SCUBA diving).
  • 10133NAT, Certificate IV in Hyperbaric Operations (Surface-supplied diving to 30m).
  • 10133NAT, Certificate IV in Hyperbaric Operations (Closed bell diving).

    New Zealand.
    New Zealand (Work safe New Zealand):
  • PC2389, Certificate in Commercial Career Diving, Level 3, 42 Credits.
  • International Maritime Contractors Association (IMCA).

    The Commercial Diver qualification was developed to meet the requirements of the above agreements in terms of complexity, duration, and content. 

    The qualification offers the following horizontal articulation possibility:

    Horizontal Articulation:
  • Occupational Certificate: Class 3 Inshore Diver, Level 4.

    Vertical Articulation:
  • There is no vertical articulation as the qualification is written in such a manner that the parent qualification represents the highest level required by industry. 



    Qualifying for External Assessment:
  • In order to qualify for the external summative assessment, learners must have a copy of a completed and signed Statement of Work Experience as well as proof of successful completion of the following modules including the Foundational learning competence.

    Additional legal or physical entry requirements:
  • The biometric requirements are prescribed by the Department of Labour Diving Regulations, Code of Practice Commercial Diver Training and the Department of Labour Diver Training Standards. The Regulations do not require the completion of the work experience component prior to proceeding to the next part-qualification.

    Criteria for the Accreditation of Providers:
  • Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) website.
  • The curriculum title and code is: Class 3 Inshore Diver: 684101-000-01-.

    Encompassed Trades as Recorded on the National Learners` Records Database (NLRD):
  • This is not a trade qualification.

    Assessment Quality Partner:
    Transport Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) Transport Education Training Authority (TETA).

    Parent Qualification:
  • 684101-000-01, Occupational Certificate: Commercial Diver, Level 4.

    Relevant Part Qualification:
  • 684101-002-02, Occupational Certificate: Class 3 Inshore Diver, Level 4. 


    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.