44 enrolled in Agriculture and Marine Resources' first diving programme

AGRICULTURE and Marine Resources Minister Michael Pintard.

AGRICULTURE and Marine Resources Minister Michael Pintard.


Tribune Staff Reporter


AGRICULTURE and Marine Resources Minister Michael Pintard said 44 Bahamians are enrolled in the department’s first diving training programme.

Speaking to reporters at the Ministry of Agriculture on Wednesday, Mr Pintard said that more Bahamians trained as professional divers will reduce the need for “foreign workers to carry out these tasks".

He said: “The programme was designed to instruct young Bahamians in the proper use of dive equipment, resulting in PADI certification for the participants. The training was conducted by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force master dive instructors.

“On completion, students will be given a one-month internship on commercial fishing vessels as facilitated by the Bahamas Commercial Fishing Boat Owners group. We expect some of these divers will be put to use this season.”

He added: “The programme was fully subscribed, and we anticipate a continuation of this opportunity for Bahamians to enter the sector as trained divers. The intent of this programme is clear.”

In June, the Department of Marine Resources in conjunction with the National Training Agency launched their first Diver Training programme.

Mr Pintard stressed the need for more Bahamians in this industry and invited interested Bahamians to pick up applications from the National Training Agency located on Gladstone Road or at the Department of Marine Resources located on East Bay Street.

Mr Pintard said the diving training programme consists of five mandatory modules and one additional module.

Modules include a month of soft skills training that has been tweaked specifically for the dive and fishing industry, one week of training on the laws governing the industry, one month to receive a diving certificate, CPR and first-aid training, as well as two-week training in the use of air compressors for fishing purposes and air compressor maintenance. The optional module is specific to fish pot construction.

Gregory Bethel, acting assistant director at Department of Marine Resources, said the programme will be free of charge to the participants and noted the entire cost will be covered by the government.

Mr Bethel said: “As indicated the government will be covering the entire cost of hosting the programme inclusive in that course is all of the dive gear and equipment. I can say that to date the government has already invested some $40,000 with respect to just dive equipment for participants of this programme.”

The minister noted the increase of foreign nationals applying to the Department of Marine Resources for compressor permits.

Mr Pintard said: “Part and parcel of the requests has been an increase of requests for foreign nationals seeking compressor permits to work on board Bahamian registered commercial fishing vessels.

“In an effort to assist the fisheries sector, the government through a joint effort between the National Training Agency, the coordinating agency, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources along with the Ministry of Health have all gotten together to train and certify interested Bahamians.”


BahamaRed 4 years, 3 months ago

They are not being trained as professional divers. They are merely open water divers... stop insulting real commercial divers who spend a minimum of 6 months in school and over 30,000 dollars in getting certified.



Chucky 4 years, 3 months ago

This minimizing of skills required that puts Bahamians on a path to failure.

It’s state sponsored “ dunning Kruger effect”. Training someone to be a recreational diver and telling them they’re on par with commercial divers.

This is a complete waste of time and money.

If someone truly wants to be a commercial diver, the first step is to leave the Bahamas and go abroad to get some training, and then work abroad for about 10-15 years to become a seriously experienced diver. Then bring your skills home. If a 100 Bahamians do this, we won’t see any need for foreign commercial divers.


bcitizen 4 years, 3 months ago

The emperor sure has a ton of new clothes with this administration.


Bahamianbychoice 4 years, 3 months ago

The training in theory is a positive move. I heard there were quite a few commercial fishing boats prepared to continue the process of the training of these young persons..like an internship process. However as per usual the Minister has jammed the boats at the last second and now put them in a position to be challenged to include these young persons on the boats. Wasting peoples time and resources!!! He has no depth of understanding the skill and time it takes to become an experienced diver. I heard he sucker punched the Bahamian boat owners terribly!!! Pandering to a few to at the expense of the bigger picture..when you have someone in place that really has no clue..dumb bad...


Bahamianbychoice 4 years, 3 months ago

Why is the Minister as well doing Immigrations job.... once the Department of Immigration determines that a person can reside and work unrestricted in this country what capacity does the Minister have to discriminate against what he calls foreign nationals. These person most likely support themselves and their families..which is most likely a Bahamian spouse and children. Is this not an example of discrimination against Bahamian women..again. The policy as is..is illegal and Minister knows this and all if he doesn’t then he needs to go back to writing poetry...for a country that needs FDI this is a very dangerous Pandora’s box to open...


sheeprunner12 4 years, 3 months ago

The Bahamian fishing industry is dominated by several niche communities ......... not anyone can go out there with a boat and be successful. If you are just a diver working on someone else's boat, you are a modern day slave.

It is just like giving a person a cutlass and teaching him how to weed without having his own land.


geostorm 4 years, 3 months ago

Good stuff Minister Pintard, this is a great start. Hopefully these young people can use this as a stepping stone to further their careers in this industry!


Sign in to comment