After decades of indecision, Greece’s Ministry of Mercantile Marine last month forwarded a bill that not only allows recreational diving but also promotes it. “The new diving bill could position Greece prominently into the world’s scuba diving industry and boost the country’s alternative tourism possibilities,” says the ministry.
The new diving law is fully in accord with the EU standards regarding recreational diving, which have been in force since early 2004. Moreover, the unreasonable restrictions imposed in the past by archeologists are now being successfully modified and the concept of “Diving Parks” has been firmly established.
Notably, the legislative framework provides adequate environment protection, ensures the appropriate respect for the underwater precious antiquities, as well as for the safety and the adequate professional skills of the divers, who will now enjoy clear waters plus unique marine life and other hitherto unutilized underwater attractions.
An accreditation system in line with EU directives is being established for scuba divers’ training programs, for the appropriate certification of various diver-training organizations, as well as for the providers of diving services. Diving services are classified according to their type, are certified on an individual basis by an accredited products certification agency and each are to be licensed by the competent Port Authority.
The ministry said “there are now clear requirements as specified by law, to the effect that only those holding the necessary license will be able to provide diving services. Moreover, the modus operandi for the diving industry is now clearly prescribed, appropriate records will be maintained at the Ministry of Mercantile Marine, and violators of the existing rules will be subject to severe penalties.”
According to the ministry, Greece has several advantages as a holiday destination for divers: safety as a EU member, short flight distances for European travelers, excellent climate for a long diving season, the same currency with many other EU countries, and excellent amenities.
“Finally, the renewed availability of our nation’s magnificent undersea world to divers necessitates its strict adherence to services of the highest possible quality for the pleasure of our visitors and the prosperity of our society as well,” says the ministry.