Following a request from BSAC, Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) has now provided clarification on diving and diving responsibilities when in Malta or Gozo.
Divers looking to travel to Malta are also advised to refer to the full diving in Malta regulations which can be found on the Malta Professional Diving Schools Association website.
BSAC’s general advice to divers travelling to or planning to any overseas destination remains the same - ensure that you are aware of the current diving regulations within the country you are visiting.
Clarification on Maltese diving definitions
If you have any questions with regard to this guidance please email us.
Clarification on Malta Recreational Diving Services Regulations 2012
On behalf of our members, BSAC has obtained up to date clarification from the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) on the guidelines for diving and diving responsibilities in Malta and Gozo.
BSAC advises all members planning dive trips to Malta or Gozo to ensure that they are aware of and understand the following guidance.
The document below summarises the latest Maltese definitions as provided by MTA’s legal team and are the responsibility of MTA, not BSAC.
'Independent Diver' - a diver who has received diver training in accordance with MSA EN 14153-2 or equivalent and is qualified to dive to 30 metres (this equates to a BSAC Sports Diver who has completed depth experience to 30m) or if under 15 years old qualified to dive to 21 metres (BSAC Sports Diver who has completed depth experience to 25 metres) if accompanied by an adult (16 years of age or over) who is an independent diver. Divers over 60 years of age are required to produce a valid annual diving medical issued by a diving doctor.
'Dive Leader' - a diver qualified to MSA EN 14153-3 or equivalent (this equates to a BSAC Dive Leader) who holds a valid annual diving medical issued by a diving doctor (not self-certification), who holds a valid O2 qualification and has knowledge of the underwater terrain of the dive site where they are leading divers. A dive leader must operate under the permission of a licensed recreational diving service provider in Malta.
'Dive Instructor' - a diver qualified to MSA EN 14413-2 or equivalent (this equates to a BSAC Open Water Instructor) who holds a valid annual diving medical issued by a diving doctor (not self-certification) and who holds a valid O2 qualification. A dive instructor must operate under the permission of a licensed recreational diving service provider in Malta.
'Recreational Diving Service Provider' - licensee able to offer, promote, organise or provide diving services in Malta. Any divers who do not meet the 'independent diver' definition or diver conducting training must use the services of a licensed operator in Malta.
|Type of diving||Minimum qualification||Medical required||Other requirements|
|Independent Diver - diving in Malta (over 15 years old and under 60 years old)||BSAC Sports Diver + depth experience to 30m (or equivalent dive qualification to MSA EN 14153-2 )||BSAC Self Certification Medical|
|Diver independently diving in Malta (under 15 years old)||BSAC Sports Diver + depth experience to 25m (or equivalent dive qualification to MSA EN 14153-2 )||BSAC Self Certification Medical||Must be accompanied by an adult (16+) who is an Independent Diver|
|Diver independently diving in Malta (over 15 years old and under 60 years old)||BSAC Sports Diver + depth experience to 30m (or equivalent dive qualification to MSA EN 14153-2 )||A valid annual diving medical issued by a diving doctor|
|Diver leading divers who are not ‘Independent Divers’||BSAC Dive Leader (or equivalent dive qualification to MSA EN 14153-3)||A valid annual diving medical issued by a diving doctor||Must operate under the permission of a licensed recreational diving service provider in Malta|
|Diver instructing diving in Malta – Skills, Diver Training Programme, Skill Development Course or experience dives||BSAC Open Water Instructor (or equivalent dive instructor qualification to MSA EN 14413-2)||A valid annual diving medical issued by a diving doctor and a valid O2 qualification||Must operate under the permission of a licensed recreational diving service provider in Malta|
BSAC Ocean Divers and BSAC Sports Divers who have not completed their 30m depth experience must dive with a 'Dive Instructor' through a Centre when diving in Malta as they are not classified as Independent Divers.
If we run a club dive trip to Malta and all of our group are ‘Independent Divers’, do the regulations apply?
The Maltese Diving Regulations are not attempting to regulate independent recreational divers but to regulate recreational diving services. The guidelines do not apply to Independent Divers diving for enjoyment who are not offering, promoting, organising, training or providing a service to others. BSAC members should dive within their qualification limits and Safe Diving practices.
As a BSAC Instructor can I conduct any diver training or diver depth experience dives or lead non-Independent Divers in Malta?
These activities fall under the diving regulations. Only a BSAC Open Water Instructor and above with a valid annual diving medical (such as HSE medical), in possession of third party insurance, offering services via a licensed Maltese Dive Centre can take non-independent divers diving or conduct training in Malta. Conducting any dive with the intention of signing a lesson or experience dive in a qualification record book constitutes training or providing a diving service and all activities of this nature would fall within the Maltese Diving Regulations.
If diving as a group of ‘Independent Divers’ do we need to appoint a Dive Manager or Dive Leader?
Malta diving regulations do not have a 'dive manager' definition so they have no requirement for this role. However, BSAC members should dive within BSAC Safe Diving practices and the limits of their dive qualifications. Appointing a dive leader in your buddy pair does not make that person a 'Dive Leader' in the definition of the Maltese diving regulations as long as the divers are all Independent Divers and only diving for enjoyment so you would not need to comply with the requirements that define their 'Dive Leader'.
Is the most experienced diver responsible for the divers in the event of an incident?
No. The regulations do not assume or state that the most qualified diver is the group leader. The MTA is not a body competent to determine which dive qualifications make a diver more qualified than another.
If all the divers are independent divers nobody is held automatically responsible unless some form of wrongdoing or negligence occurs or is proven by a competent court. The way the legal system works is by trying to assess the situation and who they feel is culpable if anyone - this would completely depend on the circumstances of the incident and who was involved.
If the divers are not Independent Sivers they fall under the responsibility of the instructor.
What are my responsibilities when recreational diving in Malta?
Divers have a “duty of care” to protect each other from harm. Divers diving within their training limits and recommended guidelines (Safe Diving) reduce risk of incidents and of litigation. Nobody is held automatically responsible unless some form of wrongdoing or negligence occurs or is proven by a competent court.
In the event of an incident if I am asked to give a statement what should I do?
BSAC recommends divers do not give a statement without legal representation.