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 Administrator Staff Member

    # of Dives:
    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 Surface Interval Member

    # 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 Single Diver

    # 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 Loggerhead Turtle

    # 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 Surface Interval Member

    # 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 Manta Ray

    # 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 Nassau Grouper

    # 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 Surface Interval Member

    # 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.
  11. knotical

    knotical perpetual student Staff Member

    # of Dives:
    Location: Ka'u
    Based on observations while hanging out in various dive shops and phone answering in one of them, most people look for cost and convenience. And maybe a vibe from the salesperson. The agency seems well down on the list, if it makes the list at all.
  12. NWGratefulDiver

    NWGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: Pugetropolis
    When I got certified I wasn't even aware that there were agencies. My OW certification was through the YMCA. When I told someone at work I was taking scuba lessons he asked me if I was being certified by PADI. I replied "No ... I'm being certified by Loren" (my instructor's name).

    Thinking back on it, that was probably the best answer ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
    BDSC, tracydr, rhwestfall and 3 others like this.
  13. ScubaSteve1962

    ScubaSteve1962 Single Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Ellenwood, Georgia, United States
    I would have loved to have seen the look on his face:confused::rofl3:
  14. GinaRae

    GinaRae Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Olympia, WA
    I didn't choose an agency...
    I went through the dive shop where I got the best "vibe", even though the other dive shop is closer to where I live.
  15. FoxHound

    FoxHound Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canada
    Im gonna echo the vibe comments......when I first started diving i had no idea what the difference in agencies were. What I went with was the person I talked to, I called around to a few shops and didn't get much more besides trying to sell me a course....except for one place....they told about the course, what I would be doing, how things worked.....didn't even mention price until I asked, he then gave me a no bull**** rundown of all the costs associated. Because of this I got certified by that shop....the shop owner even ended up being my instructor on that course, he is also an instructor for 2 different agencies which I didnt know at the time.

    That being said, you are at a resort location, the biggest thing I'd like from there is trying to plan dive trips I like to chat with the shop I dive with beforehand.....if you have good communication, quick to reply to customers....especially by email these days, you will generate a lot of business even with people wanting to do the courses down south. This generates the best vibes and that's what people I dive with, and those who want to learn will go with, because unless they do a ton of research doesn't matter.
  16. DukeAMO

    DukeAMO Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: North Carolina, United States
    Like a lot of people here, I went to the dive shop that offered the best/cheapest/easiest deal for Discover Scuba first. After meeting a couple of people who worked there, we decided we liked them, and we signed up for OW. They're a PADI shop. We also like the local SSI shop, and probably would have been happy with them too, if we had started there.

    I agree, for resort visits, I put a lot of premium in how prompt and friendly the communications are. Straightforward and competitive pricing is good too. And online recommendations, for example, through TripAdvisor or Scubaboard, are very important.

    For training, I'd stick with my first agency (PADI) where I have a choice between basically the same class through two or more agencies. But I'd take a class with another agency if I liked the topic or if it was convenient.
  17. MG11

    MG11 Deep South DIR

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: GA
    Went to dive shop to by snorkel gear, asked questions about dive training, enjoyed snorkeling so much began investigating dive trng and went to same shop, they are PADI, so did e-learning due to distance from shop then scheduled pool trng and immediately went to springs in Florida for OW cert dives.

    Never previously heard of PADI or NAUI

  18. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Tech Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    The first place I went to felt the best. Came back from vacation and it was gone. The owner of the building died and his kids sold the land that the shop sat on. Three days after the sale some two bit lawyer came in and told them they had 2 weeks to vacate the premises. Three weeks later the bulldozer knocked it down. The owners went to Florida for six months and I had to go for my second choice. Good instructor but as others have said I didn't know there was anything but PADI and my instructor made damn sure I didn't find out otherwise from him. Then I was told about Scubaboard and things changed rapidly. Went to NAUI for tech training. Instructor was also a YMCA Instructor Trainer. Didn't take long for me to see stark differences. Crossed over to the Y, then SEI. Then got SDI solo cert and crossed over to SDI/TDI instructor. Why? Because each offered things I wanted in ways the others did not and because of the people involved. SEI is smaller and I have real voice in things. I've written courses, been asked to collaborate on others and help shape policy. SDI/TDI has been so easy to work with and has some really great people in high places that don't act like they are. They listen and respond to instructors. And their ethics and morals, like SEI's, are a match for mine. Some things I don't necessarily agree with but that's why on those items I cert through SEI or CMAS. And the expense for the crossover was very reasonable and the process was quick and easy.
  19. Quero

    Quero Will be missed

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
    I got certified on a whim, and the instructor present and able to do the cert was PADI. Therefore, I put 0% consideration on agency and 100% on convenience.

    These days I do a lot of booking of courses and dive trips. Obviously, if a diver chooses to train with me specifically (and this does happen in the case of most of my students), they will be PADI divers. But sometimes I can't teach prospective students for whatever reason, and when I give them a choice of agency so that I can "farm out" the teaching duties, the overwhelming choice is PADI. I think, but can't be certain, that the reason for this is brand recognition.
  20. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    I was fortunate to get OW certified through a PE class that was through the YMCA (which was fantastic!). Since then, I recruited my AOW instructor (1 on 1), chose a shop by their approach to instruction for Nitrox (NAUI), and used the same instructor to complete Rescue Diver (NAUI). There are other shops and other certifying agencies available, but i chose them due to their approach in training. They too will likely be the ones to train my daughter.

    Its the personnel and philosophy, not the agency.....

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