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Scuba Associations

Scuba Association comparison chart


PADI - Professional Association of Diving Instructors

Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)


Established since 1966

Purpose – Developed easy to follow programs that encourage the general public to take an interest in recreational diving and snorkelling on a worldwide basis.

Motto – The way the world learns to dive!

Headquarters – California, USA

Founders – John Cronin and Ralph Erickson

CEO – Drew Richardson


In 1966 two friends bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black label and decided it was time to start a scuba training organisation! They sat down to few scotches and the acronym PADI was established!

PADI works hard to be the best partner to its members and is committed to:

1. Safe and responsible diver acquisition and retention

2. Quality member acquisition and retention

3. Financial prosperity

4. Worldwide alignment in message, products, systems and procedures

Padi strives to be the worlds most respected and successful organisation in recreational scuba diving and snorkelling Padi is committed to product and service excellence

Webpage – http://www.padi.com/


British Sub-Aqua Club

British Sub-Aqua Club


Established – 1953

Purpose – Recreational diving – Training

Motto – Dive with Friends

Headquarters- UK

Founders – Oscar Gugen – Peter Small – Mary Small – Trevor Hampton

CEO Mary Tetley


Run by divers for divers

The BSAC has offered 2 separate training schemes since the 1950s – the Diver Training Programme for scuba diving and the Snorkeler Training Programme for snorkelling.

BSAC is unusual for a diver training agency in that most BSAC instructors are amateurs operating in diving clubs as opposed to professionals operating in diving schools.

Given that UK waters are relatively cold and have restricted visibility, BSAC training is regarded by its members as more comprehensive than some. Specifically it places emphasis on rescue training very early in the programme.

Webpage – http://www.bsac.com


Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques

Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques


Established – 1959

Purpose – underwater sports and sciences and diver training

Motto – Quality in Diving

Headquarters – Rome Italy

Founders – one of the founders Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Leader – Achille Ferrero


Its English name is known as “The World Underwater Federation” comprises over 130 federations, In addition to organizing international underwater sport events it is at the forefront of technical and scientific research and development.

It is one of the worlds oldest

CMAS itself does not provide training or conduct the issuing of certifications – this is available from two sources. Firstly, from national diving federations affiliated to the CMAS Technical Committee using their member diving clubs, their member instructors where the federation is exclusively an instructor organisation or by agreement with independent underwater diving training organizations operating in the countries where those federations are based

Webpage –http://www.cmas.org


NAUI logo

The National Association of Underwater Instructors


Established – 1959

Purpose – Diver Training

Motto – Dive safely through education

Headquarters – Florida

Founders – Albert Tillman and Neal Hess

President – Jim Bram


Naui worldwide is an international non- profit training agency

NAUI is not only history it is also the future. NAUI is its members. Our Association will continue to grow as we promote “Dive Safety through Education”. NAUI members are known and respected all across the industry for the quality of their teaching, concern for the individual student, and safety awareness. Even as we grow, we remain a real association of members who share common values and a trust in one another’s commitment to our motto.

NAUI sanctioned Nitrox training in 1992 – the first recreational training agency to do so – continuing to innovate in support of its members and in the interest of diving safety

Webpage – http://www.naui.org


SSA Scottish Scuba Association

Scottish Sub-Aqua Club


Established -1953

Purpose – Diver Training services and advocacy

Headquarters – Scotland

Chairman – Iain Graham

Where – Scotland Northern England

“Want to experience the underwater world; explore shipwrecks, and exciting scenery? The coastline of Scotland offers divers some of the most exciting diving in the world.”

The Scottish Sub Aqua Club is the National Governing Body for the sport of diving in Scotland

The Scottish Sub Aqua Club is governed by the Board of Directors, elected by the Membership and responsible for the legal governance of the company. Each individual Branch is governed by its Branch Committee

Dec 2006 completed the move to make a company limited by guarantee this process was the result of several years of effort by the General Committee and support from Sportscotland

The SSAC training schedule offers three diver grade awards; Sport Diver, Master Diver and First Class Diver and three instructor grade awards; Branch, Regional and Examiner.

Webpage – http://www.scotsac.com


SDI Scuba Diving International

SDI Scuba Diving International


Established – 1999

Purpose – Underwater Diver Training

Headquarters – Florida, USA

President Brian Carney


Sister organisations are TDI {technical diving international} and ERDI emergency response diving international

SDI’s philosophy is to take recreational scuba diving to new levels, enhancing older – maybe even out-dated – diving practices by incorporating new diving technology and emphasizing safety

Both students and instructors have embraced the no nonsense approach that the SDI training system offers. We have streamlined the course materials to let students study the essential academics with an emphasis on practical diving skills learned in both the pool and open water environments. SDI is the only scuba training and certification agency to require students to be taught with modern dive computers from the onset of training.

Webpage – http://www.tdisdi.com


Scuba schools International

Scuba schools International 


Established – 1970

Purpose – diving education that specializes in business support for dive businesses

Motto- Serious Diving, Serious Fun!

Headquarters – Colorado

Founders – Robert Clark

CE0 – Doug McNeese


it is a Retail based organization

Scuba Schools International grew out of the passion of a few avid divers who were intent on making it possible for anyone to learn how to scuba dive.

It is the largest school based training agency in the world. In the spring of 1999, SSI merged with the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools (NASDS founded in 1967) and created a new synergy in the dive industry. The sales and marketing expertise of NASDS, when joined with the renowned educational products of SSI, created a stronger company that is in a better position to serve Dive Canters & Dive Resorts, Dive Professionals and Instructors, and ultimately you, the divers. Together, SSI and NASDS are responsible for a remarkable list of innovations and consequently have been recognized with the highest honours in the diving industry. Some of our most noteworthy accomplishments include:

First to require open water classes for certification. First integrated teaching systems.

First to require six open water dives for certification. Created a sales and marketing program to benefit retailers.

First to require visual inspections of cylinders. Introduced a buoyancy compensator device.

First to introduce an alternate second-stage. First full-motion video training system.

Development of an equipment inspection program. Development of the Risk Awareness system.

First to develop a Total Dive Log and complete Recognition System. First to develop a Global Online Divers Network System.

Global ISO Certification

In 1999, NASDS – The National Association of Scuba Diving Schools – merged with SSI

Celebrated it 40th anniversary in 2010

Webpage – http://www.divessi.com


ITDA - International Technical Diving Agency

International Technical Diving Agency


Established – 1999

Purpose – unique training and Certification Agency owned and operated by Diving Professionals for Diving Professionals, meeting the Highest International Standards and Safety Requirements Sports & Recreational Diving, Advanced Diver Training, Public Safety Diving and Professional / Occupational Diving.

Motto – we truly are a Global Organization

Headquarters – Malaysia

CEO – Steve Murray


British owned business with registered offices in several places such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, United Kingdom and Europe

2008, UK ITDA operations and Merged with the newly formed “ITDA Europe Ltd.” And in 2009 we moved our HQ administration to Malaysia

2011 Reformed the UK ITDA “International Technical Diving Agency Ltd

They are the ONLY training and certification agency in the diving industry to cover / offer, every aspect of diver training, from recreational diving novice (Entry Level Scuba) programs, to Technical Diving, Medical Training and Occupational / Commercial & Public Safety, Services and Professional diver training in the world.

Webpage – http://www.diveitda.com


American Nitrox Divers International

American Nitrox Divers International


Established – 1988

Purpose – recreational and technical diving

Motto original motto was “the leaders in optimal breathing gas technologies”ANDI now – International – Dive The Future®

Headquarters’ / Contact – NEW YORK

Founder’s Ed Betts and Dick Rutkowski

CEO – E Betts


It is one of the world’s fastest growing diver training agencies. ANDI began by specializing in training programs for Enriched Air Nitrox ( SafeAir ) diving. As a natural evolution from SafeAir®, ANDI developed training programs for what has now become known as Technical diving and Closed Circuit Rebreather systems.

“We will be known for our high standards, integrity, reliability and the entrepreneurial growth opportunities we create within a participatory culture, so that members, staff and divers may fulfill their highest potential, and be rewarded for their affiliation with ANDI and its core values”

“SafeAir” is ANDI’s term of art for breathing mixtures with extra oxygen added that are commonly known as nitrox or Enriched Air Nitrox

Also the highest and most defendable standards in the industry, ANDI strives to support the local facility and instructor. Sure, some agencies say they support the facility but few go out of their way to do so in their instructional materials.

ANDI DOES have a standard, ANDI does require that EVERYONE measure up to that standard and the only way we can possibly provide the tools and measure the individual is to ask that instructors be evaluated

Webpage – http://www.andihq.com/


Global Underwater Explorers

Global Underwater Explorers


Established – 1998

Purpose – Research exploration science and education recreational technical and cave diving

Headquarters High Springs, Florida

Founders – Jarrod Jablonski

President – Jarrod Jablonski –


Non-profit organization

Global Underwater Explorers emerged out of a shared desire to safely explore and protect the underwater world and to improve the quality off education and research in all things aquatic. In line with the original vision of its founding members, GUE is committed to:

Developing safe, skilled, and knowledgeable divers Undertaking and promoting underwater research Pursuing global underwater exploration Safeguarding the integrity of the underwater world giving the public a complete source on all things aquatic.

Working to redefine the ties binding the average underwater enthusiast to underwater explorers, conservationists and scientific researchers, GUE is committed to the overall goal of promoting the interests of the underwater world and of those who seek to engage it

Amongst the diving community GUE is recognised for a arduous style of training that separates from other diver training organizations and seeks to form high levels of diver proficiency by extending training time, establishing objective performance criteria and requiring requalification among its instructors and divers

GUE and its connected projects are accountable for conducting some of the world’s most amazing dives, making numerous world records.

Webpage –  http://www.gue.com/


International Association of Nitrox and Technical Dive

International Association of Nitrox and Technical Dive


Established – 1985

Purpose – underwater diver training

Motto – leader in diver education

Headquarters – Joseph st Rapid city SD

Key people – Dick Rutkowski – Tom Mount

CEO -Tom Mount


Former name of International Association of Nitrox Divers (IAND)
European Association of Technical Divers (EATD)

“To understand the opportunities and challenges of Nitrox, advanced and technical diving, in order to foster openness, individual responsibilities, and provide a standard of care for instruction in the diving community.

Can give training in cave diving – rebreather and diver leadership – recreational diving, – technical diving –  wreck diving

A forerunner in the introduction of Enriched Air Nitrox diving to the recreational diving community.

Established as first program to offer certification in Enriched Air Nitrox

Webpage – http://www.iantd.com/


The National Academy of Scuba Educators (NASE)

The National Academy of Scuba Educators (NASE)


Established – 1982

Purpose – scuba training organization to draw its extensive experience from the fields of commercial, recreational, technical and cave diver training

Aim – “Our goal is nothing less than to fundamentally change the way people learn and dive.”

Headquarters – Florida

Founders –  It was the idea of a group of scuba diving supporters and business experts who acknowledged a different attitude to scuba diver certification agencies and their business practices.

President – Darwin Rice

Executive Director – Scott Evans


NASE’s training philosophy is based on four fundamental principles: Make it real, make it Thorough, Make it Environmentally Responsible, and Make it Fun.

NASE Worldwide is dedicated to providing dive professionals state-of-the-art teaching materials, programs and leadership as the new standard of quality.

NASE Worldwide is a division of the CDA Training Group which is based out of Jacksonville, Florid

The National Academy of Scuba Educators (NASE Worldwide) is a training organization that provides state-of-the-art teaching materials, programs and leadership to scuba diving professionals around the world.

“NASE Worldwide has continued to make progress and has entered into a new era of diver education and diver training. As part of a larger whole, NASE Worldwide will continue developing programs and materials that are second to none and to provide members unparalleled support. The new wave is here.”

NASE’s parent company, Commercial Diving Academy, is the world’s largest commercial diving school.

A brief history of CDA Technical Institute (CDA), formerly Commercial Diving Academy

Gulf Coast Commercial Diving Academy was established in 1995, in Orange Beach, Alabama, in order to provide training and employable skills in the profession of commercial diving.

The school was established by Ray Black in answer to the need for trained commercial divers and the rare-existence of schools of this type. CDA is the realization of his dream of sharing his 15 years of experience and training with others.

Webpage –  www.naseworldwide.org


The Professional Scuba Association International

The Professional Scuba Association International


Established – 1962

Purpose – Technical diving and extended courses – wreck diving – sport diving courses – re-breather programs – Cave diving

Description – “What distinguishes PSAI from everyone else – Quality “

Headquarters- Sand point MI – USA

Founders – Hal watts

CEO – Hal watts


The Professional Scuba Association International is oldest technical and extended range scuba certification agencies in the world.

PSAI was the first agency to offer certification at the diver and instructor levels in both recreational sport and technical diving, almost three decades before anyone else.

PSAI was first founded in 1962 as Florida Divers Supply

In 1969 the name was changed to Florida State Skin diving Schools. FSSS at the time was one of the largest dive schools in the world.

It was as FSSS where the Golden Triangle originated and later evolved into the PSAI logo used today.

1998 the name was again changed to the Professional Scuba Association as the business started to grow so much that in  1995 the “I” was added to PSA to make it the Professional Scuba Association, International

Hal Watts came up with the idea of the octopus regulator (safe 2nd).

Hal Watts coined the phrase: “Plan your dive. ~ Dive your plan.”

The first agency to require power inflated Buoyancy Control Devices and submersible pressure gauges

The first agency to teach technical – extended range diving courses.

The only agency which teaches Narcosis Management®.

The only agency providing training for divers breathing air to 240 feet (73 meters).

One of the first certification agencies to issue Cave Diver certification cards in 1963.

Hal Watts authored the first extended range diver and instructor manuals.

Executive Chairman Gary Taylor authored some of the very first recreational sport and technical diving specialty manuals.

Hal Watts and PSAI Executive Chairman Gary Taylor are both Platinum Pro Award recipients with over 10,000 dives each.

They celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2012

Webpage – www.psai.com


Technical Diving International

Technical Diving International


Established -1993

Purpose – Scuba diver and instructor training and certification

Motto – the most trusted training for explorers

Headquarters – 1321 SE Decker Ave
Stuart, FL 34994

Founders -Bret Gilliam – David Sipperly   – Mitch Skaggs

People in the know – Bret Gilliam – David Sipperly   – Mitch Skaggs


TDI is the largest technical certification agency in the world.  As one of the first agencies to provide training in mixed gas diving and rebreathers, TDI is seen as an innovator of new diving techniques and programs which previously were not available to the general public

Affiliated- SDI – ERDI

Webpage  –  www.tdisdi.com/wpsite/