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ERDI Equivalent Ratings with Other Agencies



By Sean Harrison

For the final of our three part installment of equivalencies, here is our review of how other agencies’ certifications, standards, and training equate to our ERDI certifications. We have now released articles that break down all of the SDI and TDI Diver certifications and what the most popular agency equivalent ratings are (You can view these articles HERE).  The goal of posting these equivalency charts is to provide a resource for divers and dive professionals to help navigate the web of diver certifications.

Lessons learned

The past two equivalency charts have taught us lessons with the feedback we received. This ERDI equivalency sheet is intended purely for divers and instructors who may be certified with one of the listed agencies and want to enter into ERDI training. The equivalencies established by ERDI for ERDI are no reflection on the other agencies listed. They are also not intended to put an ERDI course above or below another agency’s course.

Courses vary slightly between ERDI and other agencies, and ERDI will choose the most conservative; for example if another agency’s course is slightly higher in knowledge and skills than an ERDI course but does not meet the next higher ERDI course, we will choose an equivalent ERDI standard that is fully satisfied. ERDI also does not factor in how courses are taught in the field by instructors or dive centers; we formulate our equivalencies strictly by the standards.

Before we get into the different ratings from different agencies, it’s important to discuss the philosophies ERDI holds for all public safety diver training.  One of those philosophies is based on prerequisites.  Prerequisites, by ERDI’s philosophy, establish a level of experience that the instructor can count on.  This is an important factor on many levels for an instructor: scheduling, costs, other students, task loading, and knowledge development.  Aside from prerequisites, ERDI also strongly believes that each course should be focused on one specific aspect of diving, whether it’s a new piece of equipment (i.e. a full face mask) an environment (i.e. ice), OR extending the diver’s capabilities (surface supplied air) for that specific piece of equipment or environment.  These aspects are NEVER combined into a single course. This is done to keep theory development and task loading in an acceptable range. When too much information is conveyed or too many skills are placed on a person, long term retention decreases. The end goal in all training is to improve safety.

Another major difference when determining equivalencies with ERDI is outside or third party guidelines/standards, such as: NFPA, OSHA, and NIMS. While these third party guidelines are primarily US based, they do provide a good structure that works well around the world. ERDI is NFPA and federal OSHA compliant (state OSHA guidelines need to be determined by the instructor teaching within that state). With this in mind, not all public safety agencies structure their standards the same way as ERDI so therefore may not be equivalent. For example, all ERDI courses have three levels of certification: Awareness, Operation, and Technician.

Not all agencies hold these same beliefs in their training programs which effects where they fall in accordance with ERDI certifications.  When determining equivalencies, there are several factors that are considered:

  • What does the certification qualify a diver to do (total scope and at what level: awareness, operation, technician)?
  • What has it taken to get the diver to that level of certification (prerequisites, course completion requirements)?
  • What does it take to become an instructor at that level (would the instructor teaching the course meet the requirements to become an ERDI instructor for an equivalent rating)?
  • What does it take to become an instructor trainer at that level (would the instructor teaching the course meet the requirements to become an ERDI instructor trainer for an equivalent rating)?

Based on which of these requirements are equal to the ERDI rating, we may consider a diver certification equivalent.  Here’s how we break it down:


ERD IDive Rescue 1 (Only if technician level cert is issued)N/APublic Safety Diver (awarness level only)N/A
ERD IIDive Rescue 2N/AN/AN/A


Testifying in CourtN/AN/AN/AN/A
Ice Surface RescueN/ASurface Ice Rescue TechnicianN/ASurface Ice Rescue Technician (IRT)
Confined SpaceN/AN/AN/AN/A
Under Water ExplosivesN/AN/AN/AN/A
Contaminated WaterHazmat Diving Training ProgramN/AN/AN/A
Dry SuitN/APublic Safety Dry suit DivingN/AN/A
Full Face MaskN/AN/AN/AN/A
Hull InspectionSpecial Marine Operations – Hull Search DivingN/AN/AN/A
Ice DivingIce Diving Operations TrainingRapid Deployment Ice Diving Rescue/RecoveryN/AN/A
Small BoatBoat-Based Diving OperationsSmall Boat Rescue & HandlingN/AN/A
Swift WaterCurrent/Swiftwater RescueSwiftwater Surface Rescue OperationsN/ASwiftwater and Flood Rescue Technician
Under Water Crime SceneUnderwater Crime Scene Technician II – Technical SeriesN/AN/AN/A
Under Water Threat AssessmentN/AN/AN/AN/A


ERD SupervisorN/AN/AN/AN/A
ERD InstructorDive Rescue 1 TrainerN/AN/AN/A
ERD Non-Diving Ops InstructorN/AN/AN/AN/A
ERD Instructor TrainerN/AN/AN/AN/A

As a final note, ERDI wants to give thanks to all the agencies, even the ones not listed, providing valuable and sometimes life saving training to the men and women who provide a much needed public service. We would also like to give our deepest appreciation to those same men and women for all the heart and soul they put into their jobs under some of the most adverse conditions – thank you for being there.

To find out more about International Training, visit


From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

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