General – About CMAS

The Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) is the World Underwater Federation. CMAS is the international umbrella organization for diver training organizations. It was founded in Brussels on September 28, 1958. One of the founding members was the French underwater pioneer Philippe Tailliez. As such, it is one of the world’s oldest scuba diving organizations (the British Sub-Aqua Club) was founded in 1953. The international office is currently in Rome.

CMAS offers an international framework for dive qualifications. Members of the CMAS Councils are recognized national dive organizations which guarantee the CMAS standards within the constraints of local dive situations. They award their own national qualification cards which has on one side has the CMAS grade and on the other the specific personal details of the person they have qualified.

Since CMAS started effectively as a volunteer organization for hobbyists, its courses tend to reflect the full range of all European and world dive situations. Compared to other dive organizations, which may be more geared towards holiday and tropical water diving, the training philosophy of CMAS members clubs obviously originates from professional or military diving situations. While organizations like PADI or SSI tend to bring divers into the water immediately in an easy and safe way, CMAS will expect more from its members.

However with the growth of diving as a sport international dive organizations have started to coordinate their standards. But the difference in the philosophy for diving is still noticeable between CMAS and PADI dive education.

On 28 September 1958 delegates from the following Federations: Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, Brazil, France, Greece, Italy, Monaco, Portugal, Switzerland, the United States of America and Yugoslavia met in Brussels on the occasion of the congress of the independent International Confederation gathering all underwater disciplines.

With this aim a meeting was held in Monaco on January 9-11, 1959 and a decision to establish the “World Confederation of Underwater Activities”, in brief “C.M.A.S.”, was taken.

This Confederation succeeded, specifically in regard to all functions and responsibilities, the “Comité des Sports Sous-Marins” (Underwater Sports Committee) of the International Confederation of Sport Fishing founded on 22 February 1952.