|Training is required and you must be certified in order to rent or buy
scuba equipment or services.
There are lots of different certification agencies. In the USA alone, we have PADI, SSI, NAUI and YMCA to name just a few. These agencies have different ways of doing things, some are good, and some maybe not.
The largest certification agency is PADI, who certify more divers than all the other agencies put together. Because of this they have a reputation for certifying a lot of bad divers. I really believe that all the agencies have the same percentages of bad divers, but because PADI is so much larger, it has more bad divers. Of course, it also has more good divers as well.
PADI uses lots of modern audio-visual training – and all their classes are taught at dive shops for a fee. PADI is very much a profit making concern.
PADI have a system of progressive classes, and extra specialties if you want to do them. I’ll over simplify it but basically it goes like this:-
In more hostile waters like England, the British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) have different certification program.
BSAC training is done at a dive club – where each club has an Instructor
and a Dive Officer.
At the end of the day, any certification agency will give you a "C-card" or certification card. This is what you will show anywhere to buy equipment or services.
Because of this, it really does not matter who issues your card. What is important is that you like the way things are done where you received your training, and you trust & understand your instructor.
Choosing the right instructor is the most important thing. The choice of instructor is more important than choosing a particular dive shop or training agency. To me SAFETY is the first priority and having FUN is close behind. So if you find a scuba instructor you like - go with them.
We are learning to dive for fun. The classes should be fun. We are not training to be Military or Commercial divers. Some instructors need to ‘lighten up" a bit.
I did my Divemaster Certification with Dave Reynolds, formerly of Aqua Adventures. Thanks Dave.
As a Divemaster, I have worked with quite a few students. It has been great fun working with them, and I have had the honor to meet some super people this way.