All you need to know about the new diver medical

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All you need to know about the new diver medical

The underwater world is one of the most fascinating places to visit. Despite the fact that we are guests in an alien environment, it is a safe place for us to visit – as long as we follow some simple rules. One of the basic requirements is to make sure that you are fit to dive, physically and mentally. There are certain medical conditions that may prevent you from diving and in order to check your diving fitness, you will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire. In June 2020 the new diver medical form has been released and you can read all about the update in this blog post.

The 2020 Diver Medical

The old diving medical form has been used since 1989. This is the first major update in 30 years and a lot of work has gone into this new document to include the latest research on diving medicine. 

“To differentiate this new system from the previous Medical Statement, it is referred to here as the 2020 Diver Medical. It was initially drafted by an independent international group of diving medical experts, the Diver Medical Screen Committee (DMSC). The DMSC was brought together in 2017 to initiate an evidence-based review. They incorporated input received from other key medical experts such as the UHMS diving committee and DAN.”

PADI Training, Diver Medical FAQ

Why is it easier to use?

The new form is now compressed. When you fill in the document, you will have to answer to 10 questions initially and only if you tick yes on one (or more) of these questions, you will have to look at the extended questionnaire on page 2. This makes it a lot more logical and easier to understand for any participant filling in this form.


“It sounds a bit silly, but having to ask my students to write the full word YES or NO was sometimes very tedious. The fact that they can now simply tick the right answer makes it easier to use than the old medical form.”

Kiri, Master Divers Instructor

I was tested positive for COVID-19 can I still dive?

As we are still not sure what the long-term effects of COVID-19 are, especially in relation to the respiratory system it is definitely required that you will get screened by a physician before you are declared as ‘fit to dive’. The 2020 Diver Medical includes a question on COVID-19 (along with other respiratory problems). 


What happens if I have to get a medical screening?

If after filling in the new form you are required to undergo a medical screening, it depends on the type of medical condition if you will have to get the sign off from your GP or a more specialised diving physician (DMO).

The doctor’s notes which are attached to the new 2020 Diver Medical are a lot clearer and specify exactly when it’s required to see a DMO. 

In the past, as soon as the doctor would have remarked any restrictions (e.g. about depth limitations) on a medical sign off, this would turn the sign off into a so called ‘conditional medical’ and unfortunately this meant the diver was actually not cleared as ‘fit to dive’.  You will notice that there is no more room for additional notes on the sign-off form which means that there won’t be any more conditional medicals.


The 2020 Diver Medical will aid us in making sure that people are safe to dive. This updated document now also includes the swimming abilities as part of the requirements which is a big bonus in the opinion of our instructors.

It is currently only available in English, but DAN and PADI are working on translations to Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Romanian, Russian, Czech, Hungarian, Greek, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian and Thai. If it’s not available in your language just yet, you can use the ‘old’ medical in the meantime.

What do you think of the 2020 Diver Medical? Let us know in the comments!

Image credit: Dan Lee, Christine Albanese, unsplash

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