The World Recreational Scuba Training Council
or (WRSTC) was founded in 1999 and is dedicated to creating minimum recreational diving
training standards for the various scuba diving
certification agencies across the world. The WRSTC restricts its membership to national or regional councils. These councils consist of individual training organizations who collectively represent at least 50% of the annual diver certifications in the member council's country or region. A national council is referred to as a RSTC (Recreational Scuba Training Council).
WRSTC Members in the United States - The RSTC
The USA's RSTC is recognised as the ANSI
Accredited Standards Developer (ASD) for the development of recreational diving instructional standards and standardizing other training related issues.
- PADI - Professional Association of Diving Instructors
- IDEA - International Diving Educators Association
- SDI - SCUBA Diving International
- SSI - SCUBA Schools International
- PDIC - The Professional Diving Instructors Corporation
- YMCA SCUBA
What does all the mean? Alternate opinions concerning the RSTC
The RSTC is not a standards setting organization in the normal sense. There are many in the diving community who see is a shill whose only reason for existence is to lend creditability to organizations that, by and large, seem to feel a need to enhance their creditability. The RSTC standards, as written, are not a document that agencies must rise to, but rather are an amalgam of the least stringent standards that all the members have to collectively offer, which is what you'd expect since the RSTC's standards are a cut, paste and smooth job consisting of the lowest standards requirements from each and every member. All of the member organizations herald the "fact" that they meet or exceed the RSTC standards, a fact that is akin to saying that all positive integers meet or exceed a value of one.
All that one really needs to read to understand the whole situation is at the beginning of the RSTC Standards (Section 1. Scope and Purpose)
"This standard provides minimum course content requirements for instruction leading to open water certification in recreational diving with scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus). However, these requirements should under no conditions be considered to define a level of optimum training in the use of scuba. Instructional programs that extend beyond these requirements should, in fact, be encouraged."
Since these are, as indicated by the authors, non-optimum standards, why are they wasting all of our time? Lots of people get fooled (or played for a fool, in actuality). Here's something from a University of Illinois website that has a section on "Discover Scuba"