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How Much Consideration Goes Into Your Choice of PADI/NAUI/SSI etc. for New Divers?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Jason McAnear, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. Jason McAnear

    Jason McAnear Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Roatan, Honduras
    Hello Divers!

    As a NAUI Instructor caught in the land of PADI dive shops, I am curious as to how much thought a new or prospective diver gives in considering what certifying agency you choose. Is your selection primarily based on what is near you (i.e. PADI only)? What led you or is leading you to choose one over another?

  2. Laserjock

    Laserjock Angel Fish

    I am still waiting to start certification but come here to read as much as I can to learn as much as possible, as well as read the experiences of those in certification training to understand what to watch and look for.

    I only have PADI schools/instructors close by so that will probably be my only choice once we decide to start.
    Jason McAnear likes this.
  3. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    You are writing from a resort area. I was initially certified in a resort area, although it was quite a while ago. My choice was based on a combination of what was available locally and a strong recommendation from the person in charge of activities where I was staying. The name of the agency meant absolutely nothing to me. Scouting ahead via the Internet was pretty much not available then.

    Once I was back in the U.S., I had a choice of what operation I wanted to be associated with as I continued my diving. I was more careful this time, and I spent a lot of time scouting out local operations. My choice was primarily based upon the vibe I got dealing with the staff at the stores.
    Jason McAnear likes this.
  4. dwatts

    dwatts Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: SouthEast USA
    What ^ he said. When I got certified my choices were limited (being inland). There were several dive shops relatively nearby but only one with their own pool. The others rented pool time from nearby swim centers. Having practically unlimited pool access was important to me....more so than PADI versus NAUI versus SSI versus...

    Now, I will say that my OW training was HORRIBLE! But it's behind me. Now that I am PADI certified I prefer to keep further certs within the family. But I really focus more now on the instructor. I live in Atlanta, GA but drove down to Boynton Beach, FL to get my AOW because I wanted to train under a certain instructor. I'm very glad I did.

    RECAP: I think many new divers have not learned that it's the instructor more than anything else that matters.
  5. ScubaSteve1962

    ScubaSteve1962 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ellenwood, Georgia, United States
    For me it was about convenience, the NAUI classes were spread out over 6 weeks and was located on the other side of town, while the PADI was covered the same amount of time and was done in 3 days. And is about 3 miles from my house.
  6. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Captain

    # of Dives:
    Location: Florida
    Well, running a dive shop, and being a non-PADI instructor, I can tell you that EVERYONE that comes in has heard of PADI, most think they want PADI. But you asked ME how much consideration I give those three... None. I think they all suck :)
    mathauck0814 likes this.
  7. SnorkelLA

    SnorkelLA DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: The Water
    Well, for many divers they just waltz into the first shop they see and ask for a quick easy cert class so they can SCUBA dive on their vacation. These people are "vacation divers" or "cruise ship divers" and probably pose as big a risk to our underwater world as dropping 10 Titanic's anchors on the Great Barrier Reef. But you probably already knew that :rofl3:

    Disclaimer: We are ALL vacation divers and many of us dive on cruises, you all know who I'm talking about.

    Myself, I was about 16 or 17 when I was certified, and I didn't really put much thought in it- I knew it was something I wanted to do- and keep doing- so I went with PADI, but not for that reason, only because the instructors were awesome at the place I got certified
  8. Scuba_Noob

    Scuba_Noob Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Victoria, BC
    I barely did any research on the agency for certification when I first started. I chose PADI because it was the most widely-known and accepted certification worldwide. Also, all the shops nearby taught under the PADI agency.

    If I could go back, I'd still choose PADI for convenience, although other agencies might offer a more fitting education.
  9. Slmason.72

    Slmason.72 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Woodstock, Georgia, United States
    Same as BoulderJohn. Though I have taken AOW and am taking a few more courses through a local die shop in the Atlanta area. Instructors are friendly, knowledgeable and make allowances for those students that catch on quicker than others yet take the time to make sure everything is learned.

    Of course, I am one of those that thinks learning is the responsibility of the trainee; do your homework, come prepared, etc. a good instructor makes a difference, but is only a part of the overall process. If you just show up and expect the instructor to magically impart wisdom, which I have seen, you're going to be disappointed. I really don't understand the 6 week OW class.
  10. skearse

    skearse Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    When I did my OW cert 8 or so years ago I had heard of PADI and NAUI but no one else. I did mine through PADI because the shop at the resort I stayed at was PADI, honestly for no other reason. When we started looking for a shop for the wife to do her OW, it was still very much related to location. The first shop we went to was SSI, and we began talking with the owner and one of the other instructors who would be doing her instruction and hit it off with them, so she's SSI (as is my skills update). Her OW was well done, I thought. She had some issues when she first got in the pool with nerves and her mask filling with water. Instead of simply stamping her card and calling her good to go, the instructor pulled her out of the rest of the class, worked with her one on one (including a pool gear check where it was discovered that her mask issue was because her original high volume mask simply didn't fit, so they traded it out with a low volume one that was watertight [and refunded us the few $ difference]) for a couple of nights a week for a few weeks to make sure she truly was comfortable in the water and with the skills-all without extra cost to us for the additional sessions. As dwatts noted, from our perspective right now (newbies that are really *maybe* a few steps above 'vacation/cruise' divers), it's almost entirely about the instructor, and not the cert agency. Now, we are planning to get into some higher complexity down the road, and I would imagine that the differences in the agencies will show themselves as we progress, but, bottom line right now, it's about our comfort with the instructor, not the oversight body.

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