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Difference between the Dive Agenices
Detz - 3/14/2009 3:02 AM
Category: New Diver Q&A
Replies: 7

I was cert. a some years back w/ SSI. I have since lost my card, and there is no record of it in there on-line data base. So that leads to the question of which dive agency offers the more in-depth training? Why would you recommend it?
divemaiden - 3/14/2009 7:13 AM

I couldn’t tell you which is the best as I’ve only done training with PADI as they are the most accessible in my area. I felt my o/w training was adequate. I felt comfortable enough getting in the water.

I took some advanced training and specialty training through PADI instructors. I don’t know if it was the instructors themselves or the methodology behind it, but I did NOT feel advanced or specialized. I didn’t think the training was adequate.

I took a B1 course and am currently taking a B2 course with an instructor who is also a GUE instructor. PADI’s buoyancy course is what? some bookwork and an o/w dive? This instructor gives a 6 week course with both classroom and pool work. The course was/is really militant, but I learn a lot from him. Example, after I took his B1 course, I went on a dive trip with new friends (who are all instructors, work for a charter co. in Maui and dive 4x a day almost every day), and I had just over 50 dives at the time. Six months later, I email them saying I just made my 100th dive. They were like "no way, we thought you had at least 250 when you were diving with us".

Is GUE better, or is the instructor better? Well, it’s really a PADI course taught with GUE methods. The instructor turned a 2 day course into a 6 week course, with the option of an additional 6 weeks of training.

I won’t be getting any certification with the B2 course, but I’ll be a better diver, more comfortable in the water and will have more fun because of it. Is 12 weeks of training worth it? I think so. But we each make our own choices.
UWnewbee - 3/14/2009 8:51 AM
 The samething happened to me... 26 years ago I got cerified with NAUI,, after not diving for years And there was No online records there was no such thing as Me! and who knows whatever happened to my card, So I went to the local dive shop to enquire, and was told the only way to make this right is to take the whole course, so I did, It was a NAUI O/W course which is the 1 they offered at the time and there was a PADI course too but wanting to get back into this sport the NAUI course was sonner,, so I stayed with NAUI and inquiring the differences as O/W theyre both recognized and they are similar I was told! So to me it is a matter of choice.
HogLifer - 3/14/2009 8:15 PM

I am both NAUI and PADI certified, and have helped teach both programs, My personal preference is with NAUI.

It also seems none of the agencies are very good at keeping records, I’ve had problems getting replacement C cards. For my self and others.
scubalarry54 - 3/14/2009 10:35 PM
My personal opinion it has more to do with the quality of instructor than the material in a book. Let’s face it, most of the basics are just that...basics. Tables, pressure groups, equipment, rescue, diving within limitations, etc. are only part of it. I am a Divemaster and have worked with great instructors and good instructors. It is the "great" instructors that teach in a manner that make it fun but also in a manner that provides the key aspects that are critical to dive safety. Afterall, if you don’t make it back for the next dive it does not make any difference what your "C" card has printed on it. 
Detz - 3/15/2009 11:14 PM
To all thanks for the info. I am trying to make some time to get down the lds so that I can take the courses again and get back into the water.
scubatam - 3/16/2009 6:54 PM
I would highly recommend getting certified w’ PADI. I’m a retired PADI instructor and feel they are still at the top of the game.
Capt - 3/16/2009 9:03 PM

I’d like to chime in here....

To start off with- I work for a educational institution overseeing their scientific dive program. I really dont care who or where you get your training from as long as you don’t get hurt. I do not train individuals outside my program. This is not an advertisment for my shop or services.

Here is the real deal.

All certification bodies have similar standards that meet (some exceed) the RSTC (recreational scuba training council) guidelines/standards.

Just because an agency has more stringent standards, it doesn’t mean the instructor will follow them, enforce them, or even teach to them very well.

 What every thing comes down to in the end is (drum roll please..... )

The Instructor & Instruction . Period.

I would suggest focusing your efforts on finding a good shop and instructor that dive the areas, modes, and profiles you want- rather than being as concerned with the agency that provides the certification CARD. Because that is all they are giving you. A card.

The certification agencies are more.... well- hate to say it- but- Publishers of training material and they house records- they don’t test you. They dont train you. They don’t work with you thru skills. They don’t make sure you end up dead or injured.

They write and produce the books and other required media that your instructor is going to work with you thru. They develop forms and tests. They make you a card. They hold your records. They place the bar at the same height for all to try and clear for each level. They TRY to make sure the instructors remain current/insured and TRY to enforce the instructors to follow standards, but they police individuals.

 Yes - some agencies have more staff and respond quicker to requests, but hate to say it again your missing certification with the agency is probably more the fault of the instructor and not the agency itself. They can’t have a record of the certification - if the instructor didn’t send it in. Seen this about a million times.

Side note here- depending on the year you got certified, I think NASDS became SSI and there were problems with some records from really old certs (like my open water from 1979) but that can all be worked out- if that is the case. Don’t remember the years that it happened, just know that I ended up getting mine.

All that said- I am a PADI instructor. They do respond to my requests, make it pretty easy to every thing done on my side of things, and produce quality materials in solid teachable formats. They do pretty darn well at making sure their folks are current and have professional liability insurance.

If the shop you choose is a padi shop and the instructor puts in for the card you will always be able to get a replacement and can even have other dive shops or boat operators look it up on line.

Again -it comes down to final delivery and execution of the class and skills- the intention being that the diver will gain BASELINE experience with the specialty mode/s that are being trained for under direct supervision of a qualified & insured instructor. The old preventing death and injury thing again.

Think about it. If it weren’t about the actual instruction - we’d all just get certified on line!

Also remember- If your instructor or boat crew have provided you with good service- please tip them- and not only in 3 world countries. These folks don’t make much for their time and have your life in their hands. Not to metion- they are an extra set of hands and eyes for/on you. It is a lot of responsibility and much more work than you may expect.

Hope this helps.

Capt Chris