5 Popular SCUBA Certification Agencies

scuba certification agenciesThere are numerous SCUBA certification agencies in the world. Because SCUBA (self contained underwater breathing apparatus) is an underwater activity using highly specialized equipment to allow for breathing underwater, it is important to completely understand the process of safe usage. There are a variety of organizations that can get you started. Below are five of the more popular SCUBA certification agencies.


PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) was founded in 1966, and is the world’s largest recreational diving and dive training organization. With over 130,000 dive professionals as members, PADI is known for its rigorous standards for dive training. Over 6,000 dive centers and resort facilities are members of PADI.

NASE (National Association of Scuba Educators) was founded in 1982, and today is a worldwide organization dedicated to the training of recreational SCUBA divers. Founded in Texas, NASE offers certification in the areas of recreational, technical, and cave diving. They have more recently become the first organization to offer diver training courses in commercial diving.

NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) was founded in 1959, and specializes in the area of diver training at both recreational and professional levels. As one of the older SCUBA certification agencies, famed underwater expert Jacques Cousteau was once on the board of advisors for NAUI.

scuba certification agenciesSSI (Scuba Schools International) was organized in 1970 and offers training programs in recreational diving through over 2,500 dealers throughout the world. SSI is known for its worldwide dive training programs for both recreational and professional levels. SSI is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado.

BSAC (British Sub-Aqua Club) is the governing body for diving in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1953, this organization offers five grades of diver training and certification. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is the President of the organization. The BSAC is considered an international organization, and offers dive training in over 400 dive schools worldwide.

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  1. what about TDI SDI ???

  2. “PADI is known for its rigorous standards for dive training”… LOL

  3. I’m PADI advanced diver for long time, but have to say there’s nothing rigorous about dive training under PADI. Have been very disapointing with that lately. I even reported an unsafe behaviour to PADI “HQ” on one of their resorts and they never even came back to me. 🙁

  4. Robert Jensen says:

    It’s hard not to throw the baby out with the bath water. An institute’s certification is only as good as the instructor who teaches YOUR class. I actually have 2 OW certs: 1 from NASDS (1976 – way back in the day), and more recently, PADI. While my diver training under NASDS was very comprehensive, my PADI class was thorough and professional. I was glad I took the OW course for a 2nd time to brush up as much has changed in diving over the past 20-30 years. My instructors from both NASDS and PADI were great. I even got my 13 yr. old grandson PADI certified. If I didn’t trust PADI’s training, I wouldn’t have done this. I also went back and got an advanced OW and am likely to press on to the Rescue program this Summer.

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