Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by sdexcalibur, Jun 13, 2002.

  1. sdexcalibur

    sdexcalibur Nassau Grouper

    Hello all I'm a new fish so bare with me. I have my choice of either SSI or PADI any input on which one to choose.
  2. Burke

    Burke Nassau Grouper

    then training agency is the instructor. Talk to both instructors and base your decision on the quality of the instructor not the agency. You should also talk to people certified by them and see how they liked them.
  3. Burke

    Burke Nassau Grouper

    Jason Wolf likes this.
  4. SubMariner

    SubMariner Victim of The Pogrom ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives:
    Location: A Canuck Conch
    NOT the agency.

    As Burke suggested, do some homework on some local Instructors and find out which ones can match your personal diving goals.

    Bon chance,

  5. Welshman

    Welshman senior member

    Burke and Submariner are both right on the ball.
  6. Jeblis

    Jeblis Nassau Grouper

    I did SSI and my instructor rocked, but I think it is more a function of the dive shop not the agency. A reputable shop will tend to recruit solid instructors. The agencies just supply the materials
    (which I'm guessing are pretty much the same: Log book, Video, C-card, book)
  7. gentlegiant

    gentlegiant Nassau Grouper

    As others have said it really comes down to the instructor and the LDS as both PADI and SSI cover pretty much the same info. The instructor is most often the determining factor in how much you learn. Also, dive shops differ in how they prefer to handle courses. When my wife and I did our OW class (SSI) we did the classes over a period of several weeks. I have heard of several DS's which give you the workbooks and video's and do all the classroom and confined water training in 1 weekend. I much preferred the several weeks method as it gave me more time to digest all the info and get any questions I had answered without being rushed. It also made for a smaller class since we met 1 evening a week for 2-4 hours. Some of the weekend classes are 6-14 divers per instructor and have to proceed quickly to cover all the material.

    Try to find an instructor that fits your personality and can make the boring material seem interesting. Our instructor is a cave diver and must have been the class clown when he was in school. My wife and I had a great time in the class. We both feel that the good times we had in class encouraged us that diving was great fun and had us set to dive a bunch. Since OW class we have completed 4 specialty classes, racked up over 30 dive apiece and are now AOW certified.

    One more piece of advice for you. Make sure that if you find an instructor that you like and are comfortable with that you do your checkout dives with that instructor if at all possible. Doing your first few dives with someone around that you have confidence in and who make you feel comfortable can mean all the world when doing your checkouts. We had a different instructor, from the same shop, and it took my wife 2 dives before she felt comfortable with him and was able to complete all her skills successfully.
  8. Scottri

    Scottri Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Tigard Oregon
    I did my OW, Advanced and 8 specialties with SSI and my Divemastwer with PADI. Both agencies were good just a little different approach. The key is the instructor. SSI and PADI cards are equal when it comes to renting gear and such. The individual who trained you and how well you learned are more important than any agency. I don't think much about agency when I DM or dive with new people. I think more about the individual and their skill level.

  9. AliKat

    AliKat Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: SF Bay Area, CA
    I agree, its the instructor that counts! Find an instructor you like and go with him/her regardless of the agency.
  10. art.chick

    art.chick Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Hollywood, USA
    A great point came up in Cbriggs' well-articulated post: the time spent in class can make the difference between whether you join the masses who got their c-card & never used it after the class (with the exception of the vacation scheduled for the day after the class ended) or whether u join the camp of happy divers who keep learning & stay wet.

    My OW went on for many weeks. We had lots of guidance to get past the discomfort inherent to the many new gadgets & elements. When we finished, we knew we could dive independently. To feel more versitile, we took an advanced class that covered 10 weeks (a whole summer). Sounds like a huge commmitment, but here's what we got: a variety of dive sites with different challenges, time to really get to know our fellow students (who we still dive with frequently), lots of pool time & high quality lectures that gave us plenty of time to ask questions & resolve confusion.

    See, every graduate of every program swears that their instructor & agency is "top-flight", the greatest, awesome. (Often because that's what the shop told them) So ask them if they have been diving recently; if not, WHY not? Many claim it is their own failing (couldn't be because they were rushed thru!) I'd find out where the divers dive, approach them while they are still dripping, & say, "Gee, I'd love to learn how to do that!" See who taught the divers who still dive.
  11. Walter

    Walter Scuba Instructor


    That sounds like an LA County course. I'm not aware of any other agency that has a ten week Advanced class. While the Silver Advanced class I teach is excellent compared to most, the 10 dives required by YMCA simply don't measure up to the LA County program. Perhaps there are differences from agency to agency?
  12. JamesK

    JamesK Great White

    # of Dives:
    Location: SW Florida

    I notice you are from Atlanta, and you said that your instructor was a class clown cave diver. I am wondering if you could tell me their name. I have a coupld of friends who cave divewith me, that are instructors for OW also. Just want to know if it was one of them.
  13. art.chick

    art.chick Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Hollywood, USA
    I was not going to name names (we all know what that leads to!), but yes, my LA County Advanced followed VERY nicely after my YMCA course in OW. It is hard to explain to a non-diver shopping for a class why "longer is better." I, myself did not see why I should "waste" a whole season in 1 class when some "fun guys" were promising c-cards in a week. Fortunately my husband is the son of 2 instructors (ca. 1972) & insisted that we not skimp or rush. I needed it; I had no experience with the ocean having grown up in Illinois!

    Such strange myths abound: ie; You need to belong to an organization with the most shops, most resorts, most members, most merchandise. If salespeople are suggesting that there are real benefits to this, how can a new student know any better? Everyone wants to get the most for their money, and they want their class to be enjoyable. Why would a class be oppressive because it is longer? What is fun is getting past the awkward beginnings with the self-assurance to handle real-water challenges. Are those poor souls I see losing their tanks in the surf really having fun? They look scared, to me, but, hey, their instructor sure knew some great jokes!
  14. rjrobson

    rjrobson Garibaldi

    I agree, it is defiantly the instructor that makes the difference. You have good and bad instructors in every agency. I like Padi because it has very good materials for beginner learning. But I like SSI because it is a lot more lenient when it comes to advanced training (Solo diver and ties to TDI). But these are just small differences. Many instructors have instructor cards for many agencies. But all and all, which instructor do you think could teach you more. Look at their experience, level of diving both teaching and more importantly not teaching, and their passion for the sport.

    Good Diving,
  15. Tavi

    Tavi Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Rochester, NY
    Hi Rich,
    Welcome to the boards!!

    I think you're confusing SSI withSDI,

    SSI does not offer solo, SDI does.
    SDI is affiliated with TDI

    My training has been SSI and NAUI. I like both!
  16. Deep-Blue

    Deep-Blue Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Asia
    Scuba Diving Certification Agencies

    There are over 27 Scuba Diving training systems and certification agencies including PADI, NAUI, BSAC, SDI, TDI and SSI

    These agencies create and comply with strict professional standards set by RSTC, and their certifications are recognized worldwide. Each agency establishes its own agenda for diver training and issues certification for each level of scuba diving competency and experience, from beginner to instructor. Courses vary in teaching methods for the beginner's level, but they all cover the same essential knowledge and practical skills development as set by RSTC.

    The Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC) was incorporated in the United States in 1986. RSTCÃÔ mission is to establish minimum training standards at all levels of recreational scuba diving in order to promote public safety. The RSTC is also the Secretariat for ANSI Committee. (American National Standards Institute).

    The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is one of the world's largest diving organizations. It has succeeded largely as its programs make diving accessible to the average person, plus its gets students into the water quickly and easily same as SSI. Most PADI courses consist of approximately 32 hours of classes, both in the classroom and in the water.

    Scuba Schools International (SSI) places strong emphasis on supporting retail dive shops and this leads to instructions. All SSI instructors are affiliated to an authorized dealer and unlike other agencies; instructors are not allowed to operate independently. SSI basic beginner's course, open water diver, is similar to those offered by the main agencies, and it consist of six academic classes, five pool sessions, five logged open water dives and one skin dive.

    SSI & PADI jointly combined in their efforts, have played a major role in making scuba diving a popular recreational activity
    Scuba Schools International is a worldwide diver certification agency and educational support organization. Recognised as an innovative leader in diver education, we create state-of-the-art training programs, training standards and materials for all levels of diver education.

    The main mission of certification agencies (SSI PADI) is the Marketing of Scuba Diving. Some do a better job than others. The organizations you have heard of have done a better job of selling their brand.
    The dive course you take is going to be no better than the DIVE INSTRUCTOR who teaches it. So how do you choose?

    Select a reputable Dive Operator.

    Ask about the people who represent the Dive Centre

    Ask about the Scuba Instructor who will teach you

    Ask if the Instructor is Legal to work within the country

    On arrival ask for that proof No Proof means No Insurance
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  17. eponym

    eponym Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: Oregon, USA
    Crikey, Roatan, you're right. Time to go to bed.

    rest of post redacted . . .

    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  18. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives:
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year with

    This thread was a few days shy of being dead for 7 years

    Calling all mods.... is that a record?
  19. ZigZag

    ZigZag Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Charleston, SC
    I skipped all the above posts, as I caught glimpses of people saying... its all about instructors. There is a lot of truth in that, but....

    I went SSI back in 84 because thats what the LDS offered. Fast forward 2 decades.. I went PADI for Advanced for one simple reason (because most dive ops require it nowadays): If you forget/lose your card.. there is an online/phoneline database that the dive operators can use to verify your Cert. on the spot. Even on weekends... night/day, out of country etc.
  20. Walter

    Walter Scuba Instructor

    What a crock! The RSTC is a joke. The "strict professional standards" to which you refer are the lowest of the low. No agency has ever had to raise standards to comply with RSTC standards, but as the RSTC has lowered it's standards over the years, some of the members have dropped their as well. Some agencies are members of the RSTC, the majority are not. Some agencies have standards that far exceed those of the RSTC. Some agencies have standards that follow RSTC minimums. There are hugh differences between agencies. The fluff about "it's the instructor, not the agency" is merely an attempt by agencies with low standards to look better than they are.

Share This Page