New and seasoned divers alike may be overwhelmed and confused by the vast number of diving agencies available.
Each agency has something unique to offer, and each is totally separate from all the others. This often means total confusion when it comes to deciding how and where to certify.
The four most popular agencies are PADI, SSI, BSAC, and CMAS. Being familiar with these four will give you a good start, and you’ll likely find that you want to do your certification with one of them. It’s really not quite as complicated as it seems, and with a brief overview of each, all the guesswork will be taken away.
PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, is the global industry body for SCUBA diving and is the world’s leader when it comes to training. as well as covering everything from learning to dive to learning how to conserve the environment.
They have a plethora of courses available, and there really is something for every type of diver.
If you are just getting started and want to learn the basics, there is a PADI course for you. If you are already certified and want to be able to teach others they can receive their teaching certifications through PADI as well. PADI also teaches you in-depth information about the heavy equipment you lug around underwater, as well as where to find it all.
There are also resorts and official shops around the world,each stocked with every scuba gadget you could imagine.
Learning with PADI, you’ll be introduced to foundations such as Project AWARE and the National Geographic Society. These organisations dedicate everything they’ve got to help preserve our world’s waters. Whether you are PADI certified or not, you can sign up at any PADI resort or shop to volunteer with this organisation.
The British Sub-Aqua Club is basically a giant group of people from all over the world who share the same love of diving. BSAC is the leading dive club in the UK and it also boasts being the National Governing Body of the sport,offering diver training and development programs that are recognised internationally and work through a network of other clubs and centres the world over.
One great thing about BSAC is that while they are a network for dive-lovers, they welcome anyone. If you are already certified and just looking for other divers like yourself, you’ll find a place here. Likewise, those who are looking to become certified, are just learning to dive, or have never been diving will also find that BSAC is a great place to start.
When you look at Scuba Schools International, you would never believe that it started with just a couple of divers wanting to help people learn about scuba diving on the internet though SSI has now been around for more than 40 years, and they pride themselves on offering the gold standard in training, certification, education, resources, and dive instructor preparation all over the world. SSI has its own dive centres, and since 1970 has expanded to over 300 different centres in over 110 different countries.
Officially the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques, CMAS offers entry level certification for recreational scuba divers. Their standard is to train divers who are completely competent and are ready to try their fins in open water with the help of an experienced diver.
Those looking for the very basic training and certification may want to consider CMAS as
their starting point. The program offered by CMAS allows for diving depths of down to 69
feet but, their courses do not include nitrox use
or night diving.