Training School Requirements

The Helmets, BandMasks and Full Face Masks of Kirby Morgan Dive Systems Inc. are known worldwide. The majority of the world’s military and professional commercial diving operations use Kirby Morgan helmets and masks.

Dive Lab is contracted by Kirby Morgan Dive Systems (KMDSI) to oversee all official KMDSI equipment maintenance and repair training, and to provide technical information and guidance on all KMDSI equipment. To this day, Dive Lab develops the repair and maintenance curriculum, trains all of the KMDSI dealers, and administers all official KMDSI/Dive Lab training and is a source of technical assistance and advice on technical and operational issues pertaining to KMDSI equipment. The current training program has been greatly expanded both in curriculum and content, and is available to all users (USA friendly) of KMDSI equipment. Training is available at Dive Lab, as well as many KMDSI dealers worldwide and at over 20 commercial diver training centers in 15 different countries.

All authorized KMDSI Technician Instructors are trained at Dive Lab in Panama City Beach, Florida. Dive Lab administers KMDSI training worldwide, primarily through the KMDSI dealer network and professional diver training centers. Not all KMDSI dealers are authorized to teach technician training; however, all service dealers are authorized to teach Operator User training. Dealers that are authorized to teach Technician Training are selected primarily on geographical location, experience, technical background and language.

Currently, there are over 25 credible schools worldwide that have integrated the Operator User curriculum into their surface supply courses. Many of these schools are also authorized to offer the KMDSI Technician Course as a specialty course. We welcome commercial diving schools, and would like all credible training schools to get involved with the KMDSI Operator User and Technician Training Programs. This is provided we are given assurance that those teaching the Technician course do so in accordance with Dive Lab’s training guidelines, and will also be vigilant in staying up to date.

Before a training school can teach the KMDSI/Dive Lab technician training, we have several requirements that have to be met by the school

  • School Instructors must be employed by the school and can teach Technician courses through that school only
  • School Instructors are required to teach or assist in teaching at least two Technician courses per year
  • Schools teaching the Technician and Operator User courses must only train students using the KMDSI equipment belonging to the school
  • Once the school has certified Technician trainers, the school must integrate or have integrated the Operator User course into their basic surface supplied training course curriculum
  • The initial certification is valid for three years, and then goes up to four years, if re-certified prior to the expiration date of certificate. We encourage Technicians to stay current on their certifications
  • Technician Instructor training must take place on the Dive Lab premises. Unique products, equipment and  demonstration of special areas are available at Dive Lab
  • All certificates are issued by Dive Lab, Inc. only after receiving the required properly filled out course completion form. Please see our Certificate Options page on our web site for more detailed information regarding certifications
  • Schools must provide each student who completes the schools surface supply training with an appropriate Dive Lab certificate upon graduation
  • All wallet cards and/or paper certificates are sent back to the school for dissemination
  • Technician Instructors must teach all aspects of the helmet training in accordance with the guidelines and minimum requirements set by Dive Lab
  • Schools should submit the Operator/User course completion forms online to Dive Lab prior to the student’s graduation date. This will ensure that students will receive their certificates on the graduation day

KMDSI and Dive Lab strongly recommend that schools restrict training of technicians to other than brand new commercial divers or diving personnel who have just entered the commercial diving field, but rather to those that have a technical background and on the job experience in the commercial diving industry. There are some exceptions to this based on a case by case basis such as schools offering a two year degree program. Additionally, diving schools located near a KMDSI dealer that also offers technician training need to understand that quite often there is a disparity in cost between what the dealer charges for training and what the school charges. KMDSI and Dive Lab do not set prices or dictate the cost of technician training because of the varying cost of doing business throughout the world. Trainers should place an emphasis on training quality.

Dive School technicians are not authorized to repair KMDSI helmets and full face masks for profit and must limit repair and maintenance to the schools equipment and employees of the school only. Diving schools must buy and use only genuine KMDSI repair and replacement parts and components purchased from authorized KMDSI dealers only. Diving schools are not authorized to issue their own Operator/User or Technician certificates to students. The only official KMDSI recognized course certificates come from Dive Lab. Schools that teach other than the official Dive lab training, do so on their own and accept all liability for what was, or what was not taught in their class.

In some cases, some commercial diving schools have shown no interest in integrating the official Operator/User training into their basic surface supply curriculum and elect to teach the KMDSI helmets the way they feel they should be used.  We cannot feasibly stop them; however, if what they are teaching in the use, maintenance, and emergency procedures is not in accordance with, or goes against what KMDSI/Dive Lab recommends, they could face possible liability if an injury or death occurs as a result of what, or how they have, or have not taught in regards to the use of the KMDSI equipment. Schools which are not teaching the Operator/User curriculum as part of their basic surface supply course and are not issuing KMDSI/Dive Lab certificates issued by Dive Lab, will not be eligible to provide the Technician course at their school. School Instructors and KMDSI authorized Dealer Technician Instructors must abide by the requirements set forth in the training guidelines and technician training guide. It is also strongly recommended that schools document in writing which model helmets, masks, and man worn equipment their graduating students have been trained to dive.

The Operator User Course is a standardized course that has been in place for over 18 years. All commercial diving schools that use KMDSI helmets and full face masks should integrate this course into their curriculum, so that all students learn how to use the equipment as intended, designed, and engineered by the manufacturer. Students graduating from schools with the KMDSI Operator/User Certificate will have an advantage over those that do not. Training centers that teach the Operator/User and Technician Courses offer the commercial diving industry far more than those that do not, resulting in greater knowledge and safety awareness, while helping to ensure industry professionals are being properly trained in the use of man worn, underwater breathing equipment.

For schools desiring to offer the Technician Course as a specialty course, much in the same manner as Life Support tech, Diving Supervisor, incorporating the Operator/User Course into their curriculum is the first step. Dive Lab recommends that schools send  two instructors to attend the three-day helmet and band mask Technician Course here at Dive Lab, followed by a fourth day where we go over other material about the actual training of Operator Users and Technicians. The instructors sent by the school for technician training should already have a good understanding of man worn life support equipment, sound technical ability and knowledge of basic tools and tool use.

KMDSI and Dive Lab are very pleased thus far. In the past 18 years, over 15,000 people have been trained, which we know has led to a significant overall improvement in diver safety. In general, the commercial diving industry technical training that has been available in regards to the operation, repair, and maintenance of helmets and masks, has often been neglected. This is evident when one realizes that up until a few years ago, many of the commercial diving schools did not have their own in-house technicians, that had taken a course from the equipment manufacturer.

Dive Lab is interested in having all credible dive training schools involved. Schools wishing to get involved are required to send Dive Lab a basic outline of what primary types of training the schools cover and what specialty courses they offer. Schools interested in teaching technician training should plan on sending two school instructors to Dive Lab for instruction on the Dive Lab premises.