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#51601
Why would a dive center switch from PADI to SSI
Greg - 8/07/2013 12:44 PM
Category: Training
Replies: 50

This year, Sea Sports Scuba in Houston TX switched from PADI to SSI. All of their PADI instructors were given free transition courses at SSI. I asked Sea Sports why they switched and they gave three reasons:

- SSI allows dive shops to print student certification cards (this sounds cool).

- SSI does not allow instructors to teach independently, they must be affiliated with a dive shop (good for the dive shop, bad for the instructor).

- They said SSI training is better, with more focus on skill repetition (I believe training quality is based on the instructor and not the agency).

Have any of your local dive shops switched agencies? Are you a dive shop that has switched recently? Can you provide some more reasons why a dive shop would want to switch from PADI to SSI or NAUI?

I’m sure dive centers have to pay fees to the certification agencies, but I’m not familiar with what those fees are.
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NauiDiver03 - 8/07/2013 8:10 PM
I dunno why they would wanna switch I’m sure it has to do with money and incentives. I was trained under NAUI and I have been highly impressed with my dive training I feel very confident and safe. NAUI is a great organization that’s primary focus is on safety. So I don’t know about other certifying agency’s but as for me I’m sticking with NAUI
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dalehall - 8/08/2013 6:08 AM
Yes. My LDS switched from PADI to SSI. Not only for the above reasons, the shop no longer has to deal with PADI’s timetable. With PADI, they have the Regional Course Directors (or whatever the official name is) that have to come around and a certify people to become Instructors. If your timetable doesn’t meet there, too bad, so sad, you have to wait until they can work you in. Under SSI, a local instructor can now be certified to be an "Instructor’s Instructor" and can now take students from O/W all the way up to Instructor. You can also stay with Padi and offer and/or certifications.
Financially, it might be a good move for you Greg.
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 6:15 AM
I’m both a PADI and SSI instructor, so I can speak to both. A dive shop switches to SSI really for one reason, SSI focuses and pretty much requires each diver to buy all their gear from day one! Since a shop doesn’t make their money on classes or travel, you can see the appeal. Also as a SSI instructor you MUST be associated with a shop, there are no independent instructors in SSI, so the shop can take away your instructor cert anytime they want to, so they have total control over you. So for a LDS it’s a no brainer! As an instructor! PADI is by far your best option!
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Greg - 8/08/2013 7:05 AM
So why does a dive shop need to be "associated" with an agency to begin with? Couldn’t someone just open a dive shop with independent instructors from different agencies? Besides the so called "marketing" that an agency offers you, what other reasons are there for a dive shop to associate with a single agency? As an independent instructor, I have access to all the logos and signage, so I could still promote that I’m a PADI instructor. I could still offer air fills. I could still sell gear and travel. I can still certify new students. I can still buy liability insurance. I can even get discounts on training material by buying in bulk.
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 7:40 AM
As a shop owner (and for that matter, an instructor), you want to be associated with a GOOD agency in the event of a dive incident. Those liability release forms, legal departments, investigators, lawyers, expert witnesses that your agency provides are what you’re paying for with that association.
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 7:57 AM
I can give you a reason why NOT to switch from PADI to SSI. Just compare their standards manuals to each other, the difference will be obvious! Being associated to both would probably be a better plan. But if you have to choose only one, pick the one with more complete and thorough standards. In the event of an incident, you’re going to face investigators, both law enforcement, dive agency, and private, and lawyers when litigation starts. Every action/decision you made will be scrutinized, and if you don’t have solid and detailed standards to base those actions on, the onus is on YOU! Your liability insurance coverage could be invalidated if you don’t follow those standards.
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Greg - 8/08/2013 9:03 AM
From Aikidiver: you want to be associated with a GOOD agency in the event of a dive incident
Even as an independent instructor, I am still a PADI instructor, so I’m protected by the same liability release forms, legal departments, etc. Independent instructors also need their own liability insurance. So I don’t see why this is a factor in a dive shop being associated with a particular agency.
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 9:23 AM
Yes, as an instructor you’ll be covered, but will your dive shop be covered if it’s NOT associated with a certification agency? When litigation starts, the instructor, certified assistants, dive boat, dive shop and certification agency will all be named in the suit. For the incident reports/investigations/correspondence to be covered under attorney client privilege, you all have to be on the same team, same legal representation. If you’re not associated, that could cause an issue in trying to keep all that info confidential.
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Greg - 8/08/2013 9:29 AM
I see what you’re talking about now. The dive shop would have to have its own liability insurance, and maybe additional paperwork that students sign indicating they are not directly affiliated with the instructor.

Besides group liability insurance and being covered as a group by the agency...are there other reasons for a dive shop to be associated with an agency?
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RAWalker - 8/08/2013 11:07 AM
I know the shop that Aikidiver is associated with as I live in the same area. I also have some sources that he may not and the story I was told was that PADI pulled out of that stop because of Standards Violations and a refusal by management to make changes and adhere to the standards. I was informed it was a matter of cutting corners to reduce costs and increase profits. Since this is by far the most expensive shop to deal with it comes as no surprise. The strange thing is this shop regularly badmouths other shops and clubs and yet they seem to have no idea how many customers they have lost to these same places they badmouth.

On the other hand I know of another shop in our area that was SDI and very pro SDI until they suddenly became a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center. It was an obvious business move and had little to do with the sport, divers or improving anything other than business.
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 11:59 AM
For the record, I’m not associated with any dive shop, nor did I mentioned or even reference a particular dive shop. I was merely listing pro’s and con’s of switching from one agency to another, or of not being associated to an agency at all.
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Greg - 8/08/2013 12:46 PM
Dive shop reputations aside, switching agencies does seem to involve some sort of financial incentive. In switching to SSI, a dive shop is free to train instructors without fear of that instructor starting to teach independently, thereby losing potential students. SSI also doesn’t charge a fee to obtain the e-cards, where PADI charges like $35.


But in general, I’m still not convinced that a dive shop should be affiliated with any one particular agency. I would prefer my dive shop to be "agency neutral". As a student, it would be cool to remain loyal to my local dive shop, while having the easy ability to take classes from PADI, SSI and NAUI instructors. I guess I’m just dreaming of a world where everyone gets along and we all just go diving, without all the politics.
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meltonart - 8/08/2013 1:20 PM
I am certified as an NASDS/SSI diver. Although I can’t speak to any of the politics involved I’ve always felt confident in my training and am actually glad they pushed for me to get a set of gear at the onset of my diving. I’ve dove with both PADI and SSI shops and honestly there seems to be a little extra level of professionalism and safety in the SSI shops and operations. I’m not sure what it is , maybe its just because that’s what I certified under and am familiar with. But, I just feel safer when I’m with an SSI shop on a trip to some remote area.
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NauiDiver03 - 8/08/2013 1:47 PM
I agree but today you have to CYA on everything because we live in a sue happy world and people are just walking around looking for someone to sue so they don’t have to work anymore. As for the diffirent agencies you should go with the one that teaches you right, and safely. I am biased because I trained under NAUI and I love it. I am very happy with the level of my training and what I learned under their instructors. There were no short cuts taken and everything was taught and demonstrated. I love NAUI, and if you train under something diffirent that’s okay the main thing I do when I’m diving with a new person is one make sure they are certified with an agency I then go over hand signals talk about our dive plan and then check out their equiptment and then have them check out mine so we both know where backup regulator is inflate deflate of each others BCs and where we are wearing weights at and how to drop them. My primary goal is to go home to my family when I’m done. I do it the right way and I have no tolerance for show off Johnny who wants to dive to 150 feet and stay there past limits. So in general do research on what organization you are thinking of getting certified and make sure you are happy with your results and that at the end if the day they have taught you to be a safe and very competent Scuba Diver. As for me I could not be happier with NAUI and do not plan on cross training over to any other organization. Be safe all.
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 3:01 PM
From meltonart: ...am actually glad they pushed for me to get a set of gear at the onset of my diving.

I don’t have a problem with divers getting all their own gear, in fact stats show that divers who do dive more than those that don’t. The rub I have is telling new students that "the ONLY way to dive safely is to buy you own gear". Gear is a big part of safety, but so is training and experience, and its misleading to state/teach otherwise. Also, we were taught to intentionally miss size students who chose to rent gear instead of buy for pool sessions. When they complained that the gear didn’t fit right, we were told to tell them that they need to buy gear if they wanted it to fit right. I’m not exaggerating or embellishing on this, this is what the head guy at SSI taught us during our cross-over training!
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Greg - 8/08/2013 3:21 PM
From Aikidiver: Also, we were taught to intentionally miss size students who chose to rent gear instead of buy for pool sessions. When they complained that the gear didn’t fit right, we were told to tell them that they need to buy gear if they wanted it to fit right.
WOW! This is the craziest and most un-ethical thing I’ve ever heard going on in the scuba industry. Whoever taught you that needs to have their certification revoked.
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 3:28 PM
...also, if students went ahead and bought gear from another shop or the internet, we were told to pull them aside and say: "Have I done something to cause you to mistrust me? You bought gear from somewhere else, so you must not trust my guidance. I tell you what, return that gear and I’ll get you a special discount on the gear we have here, but don’t tell the other students." If they refused to do that we were instructed to walk them back to the front counter to refund their class fees and boot them out of the class. ...I was FLABBERGASTED by this training!!!
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 3:32 PM
...this cross-over training was taught by Doug McNeese, President & CEO of Scuba Schools International
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NauiDiver03 - 8/08/2013 5:14 PM
That is crazy!! And shows that this guy or company is just in it for money, I bet I could walk up and pay extra class and get a c card without ever taking the class!! Wow
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 5:25 PM
...the pool training we did, along with taking and passing various tests during the cross over was top notch! There’s nothing wrong with the ciriculum, the over emphasis on gear sales and the tatics they employ is where they lost me as an instructor. So please don’t make assumptions that the training is bad, because it is not! A dive shop makes its money on gear sales, the classes and dive travel barely break even, so anything a shop can do to bolster gear sales is what a shop owner is looking for! Without gear sales there are no dive shops! SSI just takes it too far in my opinion!
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 5:31 PM
...a shop doesn’t have to drink the McNeese Kool-Aid! They can’t make a shop employ these ridiculous practices! Unfortunately the shop I was at totally embraced these practices!
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 5:34 PM
...SSI doesn’t have a patent on these practices, any shop affiliated with any certification agency could also employ these stunts! Food for thought!
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RAWalker - 8/08/2013 5:42 PM
AikiDiver,

Sorry if I seem to have put you on the spot. That was not my intent. I do believe that the shops involved in this should be brought to light. Since you have named the instructor for the agency I think it is fair to ask where this training was given (what shop) so that area divers can avoid this predatory type sales environment. Given your story I would probably avoid all SSI shops. I’m well aware the majority of shops are involved in the business for love of the sport. The pressures of overhead and payroll drive many shops to make concessions to the business side of the operation. These tactics are just some of the horrors of this industry. IMHO MARP pricing policies that the gov’t allows to persist in spite of the Sherman Act are another example of the corruption of the industry. Local shops like to complain of the competition of online resellers yet if you look at nearly all online resellers they are also brick and mortar shops that have grown and addresses the issue of the internet productively. Any shop that asks you to pay extra so they can stay in business is just fleecing it’s customers! Like any other business they need to continually reevaluate it’s business model and make adjustments to remain competitive and off it’s customers the products and services they need.
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 6:27 PM
...the only reason I dropped that name was because it was the CEO and President of that org! It wasn’t some rouge shop owner or instructor, but literally the top dog of SSI teaching those tatics! I won’t ID the shop, they have enough problems as it is, and I’m not looking to get sued either!
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RAWalker - 8/08/2013 8:51 PM
I’d say you dipped your toe in the wrong end of the pool. SSI has the resources to sue you while the shop’s are more limited.
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 9:00 PM
...they can’t sue me for telling the truth! Hundreds of instructors have been thru the cross over process and been introduced to their gear sales "philosophy"! Facts are facts! Defaming a LDS is another story!
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Brian_V - 8/08/2013 9:08 PM
...and the owners of that shop are pretty spiteful!
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Nitediver - 8/08/2013 9:55 PM
From Aikidiver: ...a shop doesn’t have to drink the McNeese Kool-Aid! They can’t make a shop employ these ridiculous practices! Unfortunately the shop I was at totally embraced these practices!

I’ve worked in both PADI and SSI shops and have found those tactics you talk about in the PADI shop in one form or the other. The SSI shop has never tried this, provides gear through certification, suggests equipment to purchase and assists with equipment needs even when purchased elsewhere. We employ SSI, PADI, NAUI and TDI/SDI instructors and divemasters. It comes down to being the shop not the agency. Where I work now is the proof that if you have true professionals at work, the agency is not important as the outcome remains the same, safe, qualified, competent divers.
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Brian_V - 8/09/2013 6:08 AM
...one more thing about SSI that’s a little misleading. Their rule that there are no independent instructors at SSI is not entirely true. After I left that shop, my SSI instructor certs where but on hold since I was no longer affiliated with a particular SSI shop, per their rule. But I got a letter from SSI corporate offices (in Colorado I believe) offering me an association directly from them so that I could continue to certify divers here in Arizona through them. You know to me, that sounds pretty much like being an independent instructor!
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planodiver - 8/11/2013 12:55 PM
Very interesting thread. Based on the information here no SSI ship will ever see a dime of my money.
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SaintsReturn - 8/16/2013 7:33 AM
I was certified by an SSI shop and did not experience any of the problems listed above. My shop had a great reputation and only required students to have mask/snorkel/fins. Everything else was provided in the cost of the course. My LDS in Destin switch from PADI to SSI and when i asked why, they said it was based on the restrictions and flexibility. I am sure there was more to it, but i have now recieved training through both SSI and PADI and my experiences with both left me more comfortable and educated with the sport. Regardless of personal opinions and preferences, both of these companies have survived in this industry by performing and meeting customer demands. There will always be disgruntled people for any service and their opinions are important, however they are not always the end state. It also important to remember that a shop is representing a brand, but they are not the brand.
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Greg - 8/16/2013 8:15 AM
It all boils down to the shop owners and the people they employ. I’ve been to many horrible PADI/SSI/NAUI dive shops (pushy, rude, expensive)...and I’ve been to many wonderful PADI/SSI/NAUI dive shops (friendly, fun, affordable). The success of the dive shop does not depend on the scuba agency, but rather the owners and the people that work there. It is mainly a service based business, so the people make all the difference.
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Brian_V - 8/16/2013 8:21 AM
From SaintsReturn: There will always be disgruntled people for any service and their opinions are important, however they are not always the end state.

I’m not disgruntled at all, I’m merely relaying the cross over training info/methods/tactics I received form the CEO of that particular certification organization. I didn’t sign any type of non-disclosure agreement prior to that training, so I don’t see the issue with sharing it with the dive community.
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Greg - 8/16/2013 8:43 AM
I don’t think there is a problem at all if you tell the dive community about your experiences. And I don’t believe SaintsReturn was specifically talking about you being disgruntled, just people in general.

But even if someone was disgruntled over an issue at a dive shop...they should have the right to talk about it. How else will the dive industry improve?
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SaintsReturn - 8/16/2013 9:15 AM
Thank you Greg. Aiki, Greg said it perfect for me. I was not specifically talking about you as being disgruntled. It was a blanket statement and I do feel you brought some vaild points that are now available for consideration to those researches future plans. I have had great support from SSI shops and the SSI company and am highly satisfied with them, however, there have been some SHOPs that i cannot same the same thing about.
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loydavill - 8/17/2013 11:45 AM
As a co-owner to a LDS, there are pros and cons in being associated to an agency. The pros and cons have been addressed above so I won’t go into that. Our shop is very small and very independent instructor friendly. Yes, we are PADI. Of course, instructors that chose to process through our shop MUST pass an audit from our lead instructor and carry their own insurance. Regardless of which agency is certifying, it is up to the individual instructor or shop to provide the HIGHEST quality of instruction. You will have good and bad instruction under all agencies. We encourage students to purchase their equipment, especially if they intend on diving on a regular basis. However, we do not guilt them into ANYTHING! We are here for THEM, whenever they are ready. Our focus is to make excellent divers. Yes, we are a business and need to sustain certain margins to continue operating. However that does not give us a right to bad mouth anyone else (instructor or shop). We distance ourselves from such practices and chose to take the high road. We do our own thing and worry only about our students. Our model is such that our clients know that we have a genuine interest in them. Word of mouth is a powerful thing.. for good and the not so good. Of course, we also focus on many marketing strategy venues and rely that once someone gets to know us, they WANT to be around us. Unfortunately, over the years, we have seen what everyone is talking about in the preceding discussions. As divers who just want to keep diving, encourage others to dive and cultivate a client base that makes us some really great friends in the process... for us.. THAT is our goal and is the reason why we have created this model. This model is impossible to carry unless you have the true heart of a diver. I’m with Greg, we want diving to be political free and wish everyone would just get along and realize that we can be one big community. Only time will tell if that will happen.
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meltonart - 8/20/2013 2:15 PM
This has been an enlightening thread to say the least. although I am appalled at the aforementioned sales tactics mentioned about SSi Shops, and I see how this could be true. It’s no secret that gear sales are the lifeblood of a dive shop and with everyone buying off of the internet these days it does put a dent in the profit for a shop. I’m not justifying those practices by any means but can definitely see why a shop would do that. Fortunately, I have never felt this way with any of the shops I’ve dealt with here in NC and SC so hopefully that is an isolated incident with a bad shop owner.
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nitroxjim - 8/26/2013 12:55 AM
As a student’s point of view, I chose to be certified with SSI. I have two dive shops located next to me. One is PADI and the other is SSI. When I was looking for a dive center to certify me, I went into both shops and asked about their programs. The PADI dive shop seemed to have a fast track program and the employees that worked the shop seemed to be there just for a paycheck. When I checked out SSI, their program seemed to be more detailed with more classes and their employees seemed to be divers themselves. This is why I chose SSI. I wanted a program that would teach me and not just hand out a certification. I know the professionalism depends on the shop owner, but SSI had it at the time I was looking to be certified. Yes, I did buy my complete gear at the shop, but I do not regret that purchase. I am completely satisfied with the SSI program and continue shopping at the same dive shop.
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steve_itda - 8/26/2013 4:41 AM
Very Interesting subject matter, especially in the current financial climate. We have had both SSI and PADI Dive Centres, crossover to ITDA Group International in Europe and in Asia and we also co-operate with multi-agency centres and actively encourage multi-agency training. The main reason that centres cross over is because they want to offer their students something different from everyone else, plus higher standards and more training dives and theory, add to that flexibility and a unique certification process with higher quality materials materials at lower costs, with commissions paid to instructors and dive centers... It make a very sensible package and a great alternative while all of the competition are offering similar options at similar prices... Not all training agencies are the same... I am interested in what you are looking for from a training agency....
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Brian_V - 8/26/2013 10:24 AM
From nitroxjim: Yes, I did buy my complete gear at the shop, but I do not regret that purchase. I am completely satisfied with the SSI program and continue shopping at the same dive shop.

That’s the goal SSI is hoping to achieve with their program, to leave the customer/diver feeling they got the best value for their dollars so they’re satisfied. So, you’re happy and will continue to dive with them, they’re happy because they’re selling you gear, it’s a win-win for everybody. The ’scuba-uniform’ concept is the key to this system working. Again, I have no issue with a dive shop selling gear, that’s why they exist!
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Talon04 - 8/29/2013 7:31 PM
I went through the SSI certification process, and my instructor was more interested in getting students to dive safely than selling the shops equipment. My wife and I bought basic items fins, snorkel, mask because we wanted our own gear for classes. I am a retired military man, and anyone involved in the military knows you need your own gear. After I certified, I bought my BCD, and wetsuit not from my shop, but otherwise and my instructor/shop owner had no issues. We certified SSI simply because it was closer, now my wife needs to finish her certification.
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fpsodiver - 9/05/2013 10:58 AM
I am "fresh" to the world of diving, but here is what I have experienced so far. I am PADI certified, OW and AOW, and am in the process of getting my RD cert. I have only been certified since April of this year. The only requirement of my insturctor was that I had my own boots for open heel fins..and I didn’t even have to buy from him. Talon 04 said it, I am an ex-Navy man and it was important that I have my own gear, to me. I asked the instructor about getting my own gear and he showed me what the shop had and then told me to check it out for myself to see if there was other gear, other than what he offered, that I might want. PLUS, I know I will dive alot more if I have my own gear vs. renting it. I know for a FACT that it will get checked for proper function vs. taking someones word for it....just how I roll when my life depends on the equipment. Just for my peace of mind. That being said, I was not pressured at all by the shop to buy "their" gear.

As far as the programs, its been beat in the head with a big stick ALOT about which is better. I cant say, because I am only PADI certified. BUT, I do know that my instructor was very thorough when it came to safety and knowing what to do in case something happened. I have a buddy that is SSI certified and from what we have discussed, the instructor has ALOT to do with what you learn or dont learn.
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BubblesLeb - 9/06/2013 5:51 AM
I have been a diving instructor for more than 5 years and I have had the opportunity to work with both PADI and SSI.
I allow myself to say that a lot of the above mentioned information are not accurate and the least to say about them is that they cannot be generalized, whether reflecting good qualities or flaws. At the end of the day we all agree that the instructor is the reflection of the organization and this reflection can be distorted.

As our club is right now affiliated with SSI, I would like to shed some light on key points about the philosophy and strategy of SSI:

  • Unlike PADI and NAUI who were founded by diving instructors, SSI was founded by diving retailers. So even though all certifying agencies encourage their divers to acquire their own equipment, which is a win-win situation for all the parties involved, SSI has made it a part of its philosophy which states that each diver must have: Proper Knowledge, Proper Skills, Proper Equipment and Proper Experience. At our club, the students get to use the equipment sold at the shop, so she/he can experience the quality and comfort of the items sold at.
  • Concerning the degree of freedom given to the instructor, although PADI allows its instructors to teach independently from any dive center it draws distinct lines for the instructor to the follow. On the other hand NAUI gives the instructor full empowerment with vague guidelines to follow. Whereas SSI has an 80/20 rule, which means that the instructor can tailor 80% of her/his course as per the guidelines of SSI manuals and has the ability to adapt the remaining 20% as per the conditions and circumstances.
  • The SSI instructor is subject to control and evaluation, first from the students themselves then from the dive center through a system called Monitor’s Assessment Procedures. So the dive center has the duty and obligation to make sure the affiliated instructor is conducting her/his courses as per the accepted standards.
  • Within the SSI system each country or few countries are connected with a regional Service Center in a way that the communication is fast and effective. Divers’ certifications can be issued either by the center itself or by the service center.
I have been pretty satisfied with the SSI system so far, specially the ease of communication with service center and the certifications issuance. As for the teaching curriculum we all agree that it’s the instructor’s duty, skills and conscience that make a diver out of a student.
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Brian_V - 9/06/2013 8:28 AM
From BubblesLeb: Whereas SSI has an 80/20 rule, which means that the instructor can tailor 80% of her/his course as per the guidelines of SSI manuals and has the ability to adapt the remaining 20% as per the conditions and circumstances.
That 20% area where the instructors gets extra latitude to ’adapt’ to what he feels is appropriate sounds good, but if an incident occurs, that’s where that instructor is going to get HAMMERED by the lawyer filing suit against him! If all your actions are based on following an established standard, when asked to explain why you did what you did in either a disclosure statement, deposition, or on the stand in a trail, you can point to that standard and say that’s why you did it! But if you don’t have that documented standard to point to, God help you, you are going to get grilled! It’s so stressful going through any of those processes even when you do have solid standards to back up your actions. Good luck trying to justify your actions when all you have to defend them is that it was it was just ’your decision’ at the moment!
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ohioyscuba - 10/31/2013 6:20 AM
The key is that SSI requires their instructors to be responsible for their actions. Another reason is that SSI emphasizes only those skills that will be immediately useful to the student. Also, SSI’s Advanced Diver rating requires 4 specialty courses and 25 dives so that students become truly "advanced" divers. They do have what they call "advanced adventurer", a survey of some of the popular specialties, which is what most other agencies call advanced diver. The ability to print the c-cards is nice but the machine that is sold to the shop is expensive. Most of the time, when an instructor submits the c-card info in a timely fashion, it is less than a week before the card is received. There is also a lot of support for the dive shop from SSI and other programs like Swim Schools International (a learn-to-swim program) and Scuba Rangers for kids to young to be fully certified. The 20% refers mostly to the order in which material is presented and what extras are included in the course.
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billd76 - 1/08/2014 1:39 PM
Have taught both SSI and PADI. Both are money hungry. I like the Flexibility of PADI. I can’t think of much that I like about SSI. The SSI shop gets all the credit (and the money). the instructor little of both. So if your a shop owner I guess SSI is great. From an instructor perspective I prefer PADI. I am more into getting people involved with diving than worrying about where they get their gear from or how much they spend on it. Nothing better than introducing folks to the underwater world. Most of my students were private instruction. And usually I only charged them for the literature for the course. Not in this to make millions, you certainly won’t do that working as an instructor for a shop anyway. There would be more folks diving if the classes didn’t cost so much. Leaving them with more money to but gear from whomever they choose. Don’t get me wrong, love to teach for shops, but these days most folks just can’t afford it. Regardless of who the agency is, the teaching for all is sound. Most of what is known about tissue loading, dive tables, computer model aglorithyms for tissue loading is still theorectical. However all agencies teach the same conservative approach and safe divng practices. So it comes down to a matter of personnel preference. If you like SSI fine, NAUI fine, PSA, PADI, whoever fine. I don’t agree with the self study on a home computer. IMHO all acedemics should be held in the classroom. But then again I’m "old school". However, listening to students discuss the acedemics in class, and working problems out in class, gives me a better "warm fuzzy" that they get it than them just handing in knowledge or skill reviews and telling me they get it.
#142
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USACMASDiver - 7/22/2014 2:28 PM
Dear Aikidiver -

You wrote, "So for a LDS it’s a no brainer! As an instructor! PADI is by far your best option!" Grammatically, here we are comparing only two fruit - Apples and Oranges. Thus, we could say that PADI is by far the ’better’ option," but as we are talking about only two agencies here, we cannot say, "The best option." Diving Agencies are just like whales - there are all kinds of options here that swim in the sea. For example, in my organization I could train a diver from the hatch of a submarine in the Southern Ocean and my requirement would be that I send the paperwork to the nation of where the submarine is registered. Period. Done deal. PADI is great and so is SSI. I have taken buckets of courses from both, but in my value systems, lowest diving accident rate in the world, in the history of the industry, it big medicine. For the individual instructor, when comparing SSI to PADI, PADI is generally the better choice. A lot of diving instructors would agree with that. That was one reason why Mares purchased SSI in the first place. SSI was basically BackWater International until a Japanese consortium paid them $4M USD for their franchise, and then, then by magic their training material started to look swanky. See if you can find a copy of SSI’s first training manuals. There are a lot of whales in the ocean - lots.
#65
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billd76 - 9/02/2014 3:43 PM
Agreed that PADI is the best although SDI is darn good too. By the way SSI was bought out by MARES!! hmmm, now I Know why the SSI shops were pushing MARES products so hard!!
#156
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carlb8 - 12/14/2014 10:34 AM
Really interesting observation Aikidiver - I had not even considered the 80/20 approach as being an opportunity of passing liability in the unfortunate incident of an accident, but actually from a legal tactical point of view it makes a lot of sense to me. I have no idea if that was part of the SSI motivation for establishing this approach, but I can see how it cracks open the door just enough to pass reasonable scrutiny and fault elsewhere. Potentially smart and slightly devious as many lawyers can be. (Correct, I am not a lawyer. :))

Regarding the sales tactics angles, I have felt similar pressures from PADI dive shops as well. It has left me pretty pissed off on at least one occasion. The sale by guilt or pressure to buy here now. Although the misfitting diver practice that Aikidiver cites is certainly unethical and unprofessional, I don’t think you can assign that as much to the certification agency. Generally this is the LDS trying to stay in business and profitable. Some like in any business just try to do it the wrong way. Let’s do our best to avoid them and talk with our wallets. Loydavill, you seem to be trying to do it the right way and building loyalty as a service and product business. Good luck!
#104
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BubblesLeb - 12/15/2014 12:54 AM
Talking about liability issues, please have a look at the below link.
It’s an open letter by Brian Carney, president of SDI/TDI, and it was published a month ago.

tdisdi.com/2014-letter-by-brian/