Brief information about ACUC
ACUC began operating in Canada in 1969. Formerly its initials meant “Association of Canadian Underwater Councils”, which can be translated into Spanish as “Association of Canadian Diving Clubs”. This means that ACUC has, in 2020, more than 50 years of experience in the world of recreational diving. For a long time, ACUC was the only one, among the main international organizations dedicated to recreational diving, that was born outside the US.
THE CREATION OF ACUC
The reason for the birth of ACUC was to cover two very important needs in the world of diving in Canada::
- Create a training system that covered the needs to dive safely in waters and conditions as adverse as those of Canada.
- Unify the criteria for homologation of certifications that existed at that time, at the provincial level, in Canada.
ACUC thus became what we might call the Canadian Federation of Underwater Activities, an Organization made up mainly of volunteers, rather than professionals, subsidized by the Canadian Federal Government.
THE CHANGE FROM FEDERATION TO PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION
In the early 1980s the Canadian Federal Government, due to an economic crisis, imposed budget restrictions. ACUC was adversely affected by these restrictions and within a few years was forced to make a decision: either professionalize or disappear. Fortunately for those of us who make up ACUC today, the decision was to become professional.
THE CHANGE OF THE MEANING OF THE ACRONYMS OF ACUC
The right to use the name, along with the rest of the assets and economic responsibilities of the former ACUC, was acquired by an important Canadian businessman, well known and respected in the Canadian Diving Industry, named Robert Cronkwright. Bob, as Mr. Cronkwright liked to call himself, was ACUC President until his retirement.
ACUC continued to function in Canada as a Professional Organization, but it was very clear that one of the steps that should be taken to be able to compete, both nationally and internationally, was to go outside Canadian borders.
To take this step, since it was very difficult to function in other countries with a name that meant Association of Canadian Underwater Councils, a more international meaning was sought for the acronym ACUC, without changing the acronym itself, which was already known and respected for its high standards of quality and safety. The name chosen was American Canadian Underwater Certification.
THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL STEPS
The first international steps were directed towards the Caribbean countries where there was a greater influx of Canadian tourism: Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica and Barbados.
ACUC prospered remarkably in Jamaica and Barbados, but was not as successful in Latin countries, mainly due to the different mentality and the lack of material in the Spanish language.
In 1988, Juan Rodríguez, an ACUC Instructor Trainer Evaluator, director and owner of a Canadian company dedicated to the training of recreational diving and to the consulting on the setting up and management of diving centers at an international level, located in the city of Mississauga, near Toronto (Canada), called Underwater Trek International, became part of ACUC’s Board of Directors.
ACUC SPAIN IS BORN
In 1989 Juan Rodríguez decided to come and live in Spain, his native country, and proposed to Mr. Cronkwright the creation of an ACUC Delegation in Spain. Bob accepted and Juan dedicated himself, for almost two years, to translating all the necessary material into Spanish and investigating the world of recreational diving in Spain.
At the end of 1990, ACUC Spain began to officially operate. ACUC was the first international organization to set up a headquarters in Spain and to make available to Spanish speaking divers a complete range of educational material in Spanish, which barely existed at that time.
ACUC continues to be today the International Organization that has the most educational material in Spanish. More than 30 manuals and elearning courses, on different topics related to diving in different formats, videos and slides are part of this important offer.
ACUC was the promoter of recreational diving in Spain. Since our entry, recreational diving has grown by leaps and bounds in this country. We have forced other organizations, both national and international, to create more material in Spanish and to improve their offer in order to compete with us.
Today the Spanish market has a good offer in educational material, courses and diving centers from different national and international organizations. We can say, without fear of lacking humility, that the motor behind these changes was ACUC.
ACUC EUROPE IS BORN
The excellent work carried out by ACUC Spain gave rise to the fact that, in 1993, Mr. Cronkwright offered the ACUC Spain Board of Directors the challenge of being the Head Office for the expansion of ACUC in the rest of Europe. ACUC Spain accepted this important challenge and ACUC Europe was created.
Juan Rodríguez became the Director of Operations of ACUC Europe and the reins of ACUC Spain were taken, together with Juan, by Mr. José Angel de la Plaza, assisted in his work by the following national delegates (see Delegates): Jordi Belles (Catalonia and the Balearic Islands), Juan Ortega (Canary Islands) and Francisco Quintero (rest of Spain) and also with an advisory team made up of: Alicia Esteban (Medical), José Medina (Technical), Javier Nart (Legal), Francisco Rossello and José Angel Sanz (Standards, Environmental issues and Procedures).
ACUC LATIN COUNTRIES IS BORN
In 1994, ACUC Europe, at the wish of our Canadian HQ, also assumed responsibility for all the Latin countries in the world. Since then, ACUC has opened National Delegations in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico.
The vast majority of the National Delegations of ACUC Europe and Latin Countries are led by people born in that country who are perfectly familiar with the conditions related to diving and the tourism industry in their country, coordinated from ACUC Europe. Much of this has been achieved with the invaluable help of Mr. Angel Roca, ACUC Advisor for Latin America.
Since then, in addition to continuing its expansion in Europe and Latin countries, the purpose of ACUC was its expansion to Asia.
EXPANSION TO THE ASIAN MARKET
In 1998 our Canadian HQ appointed Juan Rodríguez Vice President of ACUC and gave him responsibility for basically the rest of the world, except for the United States and Canada, for which he began studying the expansion of ACUC to other places besides Europe and Latin America.
Today we already have Delegations in India and South Korea.
THE PRESENT AND IMMEDIATE FUTURE OF ACUC
THE DIFFERENT FACES OF ACUC EUROPE
ACUC Europe currently offers the following services:
- Pedagogical Materials.
Books, Manuals, Videos, Slides, elearning, etc., in several languages.
- Instructor Training.
These instructors are the ones who in turn are dedicated to teaching and qualifying the divers, so that in this way the growth of recreational diving continues. Our Instructor training system is recognized as one of the best in the world.
- Technical Branch (TECNO-ACUC).
Recently created due to the growing demand for diving courses using mixtures other than air (Nitrox, Rebreather, Sidemount, etc.) and also, to improve safety in what is known as high-risk diving, for example: cave diving, deep diving, etc., that is to say, all types of diving that, due to their characteristics, are outside of recreational-tourist diving.
- Consulting for Setting, Management and Operation of Diving Centers.
Branch of services oriented mainly to hotels and hotel chains that covers a wide field and that can go from a simple consulting service to the joint operation of diving centers, including assistance to locate properties at an international level to install hotels that wish to have underwater activities as a source of income.
It is the purpose of ACUC to continue its expansion within the areas, related to recreational diving, that ACUC deems appropriate for its continued development and growth at an international level.