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PADI vs SSI, from instructor / dive shop owner point of view

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by vovanx, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    John, that is all very interesting. Reminds me of my teaching certification in Manitoba. Technically, a certified Manitoba teacher can teach any subject and any grade. Hard to believe. I guess it makes it easier for administration to slot in people where staffing requires it. One year I substituted in a Math class once a week while the regular teacher was away doing some course or something. Can you imagine a Band teacher like me doing that....? Fortunately Lonnie, a smart 8th grade student I knew from my own class, sat in the front and could quickly explain to ME what the Hell the lesson I was left with was all about. I quit that school. For some reason my cert. does read "Special in Music"--why bother? I'm not one for adding more certification rules, but man.....
  2. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Dubai UAE
    At the end of the day, all agencies are businesses who get their revenue vai training materials etc.

    Regional managers are just salesmen/women and their role is to grow their territory.

    I've seen recently some back and forth from centres switching agencies. One agency in particular has a very aggressive RM. That's their job and they probably earns commission from it.

    As a business owner you may more readily identify more with the philosophy or one agency rather than another, or one agency might through their RM might offer you support. And there are "introductory deals" for those switching - a bit like car salesmen giving you a good deal on a car to keep their volume discount intact.

    There are always two overriding factors.

    A business needs to make a profit, and the bottom line is that generally it will align with whatever agency helps it to do that, be it cost or exclusivity etc.

    If one Agency was significantly better and offered a real advantage over the rest then dive shops would flock to it
    davetowz and Billy Northrup like this.
  3. Sean Walberg

    Sean Walberg Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Northern Virginia
    Having had my kids go to school there until 3 years ago, and knowing that Manitoba was tied for last place in all provinces for outcomes, I totally believe it. Knowing that some scuba agencies allow that too will definitely get me asking about experience the next time I'm looking for more scuba training.
  4. vovanx

    vovanx Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: pl. Earth
    oh, I've recalled one important question I wanted to ask: are SSI-branded shops forced to sell one brand only (Mares)?
    AFAIK PADI shops are free to sell whatever they want.
  5. vovanx

    vovanx Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: pl. Earth
    The main problem is - you don't know what to ask when you are a fresh open water student.
    KWS likes this.
  6. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    No. They can sell whatever they want. They just get extra discounts on Mares gear.
  7. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    I thought that SDI/TDI was the number 2 agency. Do we have figures for all this?
  8. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    I'm pretty sure it is SSI. I say that based upon the "find a dive op" maps on the SSI website. In some countries, they have more shops than PADI (but only a few).

    I believe NAUI is #3. Not sure where SDI/TDI sit. It would be interesting to see actual numbers of dive shops (though some will be multi agency), instructors (also many will be multi agency) and number of certifications each year.
  9. kmarks

    kmarks Divemaster

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    It's about 2.5 years old (so very out of date, I'm sure), but this article from Deeper Blue ranks PADI at about 60-75% of diver certifications (I'm assuming that only means OW), followed by SSI, having recently knocked NAUI out of 2nd. The top five are rounded out by RAID and BSAC. In the year 2001, in the US, 98.2% of divers are trained by PADI, SSI, or NAUI and the rest are slit up amongst 20 different agencies.

    I did my OW with PADI and everything since with SSI. PADI required everyone to purchase printed materials (in 2013) individually and was more strict about the instructors following a script. Ours went a little off script one morning to teach us about BP/W, but otherwise you had to do skills in a particular order. SSI does all of the classroom training online followed by in class and there is nothing to buy and the instructors get a little more leeway in what order they teach each skill and how much time to dedicate to it. SSI also allows instructors to do combo dives, like a deep dive to a wreck can count for both classes, whereas I'm pretty sure PADI frowns on that. At the end of the day, the instructor matters a lot more than the agency, though. Some instructors will sign off on mastery of a skill if you do it once, others will want to see real mastery; some instructors will coach you and train you, others think they need to be a drill sergeant and just yell at you.

    SSI does not require a certain brand, but they do require that you train in affiliation with a shop. If you shop is partnered with a certain brand or two (mine is SP and Atomic), instructors will almost certainly be required to wear that gear, usually from the shop's rental fleet, while training. We have several instructors who are both SSI and PADI instructors. They wear different gear if they are training independently (as PADI) than they wear if they are doing a shop class (with SSI).
  10. Sh0rtBus

    Sh0rtBus One of those damn FFM divers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Denton, TX
    I think pretty much just as a good rule of business, most shops want their "employees", be they instructors, DM's, etc., to dive gear they sell in the shop. That way when a student asks about it, they can get the "Yeah it's this and we sell it at the shop". I'm finishing up my DM course with my LDS at the moment but I can tell you that even before that, I bought all my gear from them because they earned my business through good customer service and developing personal relationships. And to date they've never steered me wrong. Thus the reason I wanted to DM with them, regardless of training agency. As fate would have it, my DM class is the first class to be trained there through SDI since they just switched near the end of the year. And I'm pretty excited about that because it means our OW students will start learning with computers rather than tables. Plus along with SDI comes TDI, which means now we'll have a tech program and a really good tech instructor.

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