The History of Diving: CMAS
With the invention of the Aqua-Lung by Capt. Jacques Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnon in 1943, the sport of diving with the Aqua-Lung (later to be coined SCUBA) was becoming popular with water enthusiasts worldwide. An association of fishermen, underwater hunters and divers created the International Confederation of Sport Fishing which was founded on February 22, 1952. As diving became more popular in the 1950’s several members of the Sport Fishing Federation wanted to create an organization dedicated to underwater activities. So from January 9th to 11th, 1959 15 countries unanimously voted to form the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) – the English translation is the World Underwater Federation.
CMAS is represented in over 51 countries with over 3 million members. It consists of three committees – Sport, Technical and Scientific. These committees are overseen by a Board of Directors elected periodically at the annual General Assembly. The Sport and Scientific Committees oversee sub-committees known as commissions. Its headquarters are currently located in Rome.
CMAS is represented in the United States by two entities: 1. the Underwater Society of America for sports such as underwater hockey, underwater rugby, fin swimming, etc., and 2. Scuba Educators International for recreational scuba training.
CMAS utilizes a unique “star” system for diving certifications called the International Diver Training Certification System that consists of Diver, Speciality Diver, Technical Diver and Leadership Diver Training Standards. This system allows divers that have been trained in accordance with the prescribed International Diver Training Standards, to be recognized throughout the world in member countries.
For more information on CMAS click here
For more information on the history of scuba diving, I highly recommend the book Scuba America