In New Zealand, if you’re keen to become a pilot, an occupational diver or are a seafarer on a New Zealand ship, you’re going to need a certified medical exam before you’ll be able to proceed. It may seem like kind of a hassle, but there are a few good reasons for these precautions. Let’s try to clarify how these exams help and what you can expect.
Pilot’s Medical Exam
This one is probably the most obvious one in terms of understanding the risks of the professional and recreational pilot. You are, after all, in control of a large, airborne hunk of fast moving metal and you’re usually may hundreds (if not thousands) of feet in the air. Minimising the things that can go wrong or increase risk is essential to safety in flight. As a pilot, you accept responsibility for the condition of your aircraft. But an aircraft is only as safe as the pilot flying it, so it makes sense to ensure that the person behind the stick is up to the challenge, too.
For your health and safety, and that of anyone flying with you, your medical exam will certify that:
- You have no physical health concerns, existing conditions which might interfere with safe conduct of the aircraft, or sensory deprivations that would impair your abilities
- Your mental state is healthy and stable
- You aren’t dependent on any drug or alcohol substances which will prohibit safe operation of an aircraft.
All of that makes good sense, of course. But the medical exam itself doesn’t have to be cause for concern. Even with some medical issues, you may still be able to operate an aircraft accompanied by an instructor. So don’t let it hold you back. Book an appointment and get up in the air.
Diver’s Medical Exam
Similar to a pilot’s medical, the diver’s exam will ensure that you’re fit and healthy to stay and work underwater for extended periods of time without cause for concern for your safety or that of your diving team. If you need to spend long periods at depth, it’s important for you and your team to be aware of potential risks posed by possible or known health conditions.
Occupational diver’s medical exams will check that:
- Your age and physical fitness are sufficient to manage the diving equipment
- You have no physical or mental health concerns, existing conditions which might interfere with safe diving conduct, or sensory deprivations that would impair your judgement
- You have reliable dental health for use of a mouthpiece and no respiratory illness
Maritime Medical Exam
As from 2014, seafarers in New Zealand are required to pass a medical examination to ensure fitness for work in a maritime environment. The assessment will consider the operating area of the vessel you will be working on when they assess your medical fitness, so there is some variation in the exam specifics. In general, the exam will:
- You have no physical or mental health concerns or existing conditions which might interfere with safe work practices at sea
- Your eyesight and colour vision meet STCW Table A-I/9 standards.