Table of Contents

Best Places For Scuba Diving In World

If you are looking to dive in a new place, you’ve probably been reading up.

If you are looking to dive in a new place, you’ve probably been reading up on the Internet and asking other scuba divers where are the best places for scuba diving in world. I’ve compiled a list of what I believe are the best scuba diving in world spots.

If you’ve always been curious about the world of scuba diving, but never had the opportunity or courage to try it, we can help. We have googled list of the best places for scuba diving in the world. These destinations will not only allow you to enjoy one of the most exciting water sports, but also offer all-inclusive packages that are truly budget-friendly.

1. Great Barrier Reef, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders. It is also the largest coral reef system on Earth, stretching for over 2,000 kilometers along the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, including over 1,500 species of fish, 400 types of coral, and countless other invertebrates. The reef also supports a wide range of threatened and endangered species, including turtles, dolphins, and dugongs.

scuba diver in great barrier reef

Diving in the Great Barrier Reef is special because you’re not just going deep underwater to see some coral and fish – you are seeing another world entirely. It’s not just one reef either; there are over 900 islands that make up the Great Barrier Reef, each with its own unique ecosystem. This means there are endless opportunities for adventure.

Great Barrier Reef inside water scene

There are so many reasons why people should consider doing a scuba diving course before heading off to explore the reef.

2. The Red Sea, Egypt

The Red Sea is one of the world’s most iconic bodies of water. It is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, including over 1,200 species of fish, and is a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. The sea is also home to some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs, which are threatened by pollution and overfishing.

scuba diver with pakistani flag under sea

The Red Sea is like no other place in the world for scuba diving. The reef systems, teeming with an incredible variety of marine life, are unlike anything you will have seen before.

It is considered to be one of the top diving destinations in the world. It has a unique combination of exceptional visibility, abundant reefs and marine life, plus warm water temperatures all year round. The Red Sea is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world and because of its location it is a popular destination for divers from all over.

It offers many different types of dives for every type of diver. There are reefs where the primary focus is on underwater photography, there are wrecks which are perfect for wreck divers, drift dives where you can see lots of fish and harder dives where you can see hammerhead sharks. In short, there is something for everyone in the Red Sea!

3. The Amazon River, South Amerifa

The Amazon River is the largest river in South America and one of the longest rivers in the world. It stretches for over 6,000 kilometers through Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia. The Amazon River is home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life, including over 3,000 species of fish. The river is also an important source of fresh water for the people who live in its basin.

This river is home to a number of unique aquatic species, all of which can be found on the river’s large body and its many tributaries. Despite this, scuba diving in the Amazon is not common due to the large volume of rain that falls into the river. Therefore, very little sunlight reaches beyond a few meters below the surface.

amazon river inside ocean view

However, some divers brave these waters to see what lies beneath. If you are interested in scuba diving in this river, here are a few things you should know:

The Amazon River’s water is mostly fresh, but it does have several small areas where salt water seeps in from the ocean. This affects the types of fish and other animals that can survive in any given area.

amazon river top place for diving

The best time for scuba diving in the Amazon River is from June through August when the water level is lowest and visibility is at its peak. However, this time of year also coincides with heavy rainfall and flash floods, so be prepared for potential danger.

If you want to dive at night (when most underwater creatures are active), be sure to bring a high-intensity torch or light source so you can see where you’re going while navigating through murky waters.

4. Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe:

Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders. It is located on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and it is one of the largest waterfalls in the world. Victoria Falls is a popular destination for thrill seekers, as it is possible to bungee jump from the bridge that spans the gorge. The falls are also a popular spot for rafting and kayaking.

Victoria Falls map

Visiting the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe offers the unique experience of being able to combine an adrenaline activity like white-water rafting with a relaxing activity like scuba diving.

When scuba diving in Victoria Falls, you’ll be submerged in the Devil’s Pool, which is a small pool of water at the edge of a 100m drop over the waterfall. The pool is only accessible from mid-August to mid-January, when water levels are lower and a natural rock barrier is formed to stop divers going over the waterfall.

scuba diving in victoria is a best experience

The pool is situated right on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and both countries operate tours to it. While it’s possible to climb down to the pool independently, this is not advised as people have died doing so.

5. Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia

Chuuk Lagoon is a world-famous scuba diving place located in the Federated States of Micronesia. The lagoon is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, including over 1,000 species of fish. The lagoon is also home to many shipwrecks, which attract divers from all over the world. Chuuk Lagoon is a popular destination for live-aboard dive boats.

war plane in chuuk lagoon

Thirty-four Japanese naval and merchant vessels, as well as some 300 airplanes, were sunk there during Operation Hailstone, one of the most important naval battles of the Second World War.

As a diver who enjoys wreck diving, I is keen to dive in Chuuk. But you would be even more excited by different opportunities photographing the legendary place using underwater camera.

best place for scuba divers to explore sunk warships and planes

It is also known as Truk Lagoon. In the past it was called Lagoon of Ghosts and Wrecks, as many of the wrecks were left untouched for decades until divers started exploring them in the 1960s.

6. Maldives

The Maldives is the best place to go scuba diving, especially if you are a beginner. The crystal clear waters and the warm weather make this activity very enjoyable.

beautiful scene inside sea in best scuba diving places which is in maldives

Many resorts around the Maldives offer scuba diving lessons and guided tours at affordable prices. These resorts have their own dive centers where they train new divers, give open water dives to advanced divers, and offer guided dives to intermediate divers.

The Maldives are located along a major shipping route between Europe and Asia. This means there can be strong currents at certain times of year as well as high waves during windy weather. The best diving conditions occur from October through May when the water tends to be calmer.

7. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

The island of Bali is a world-class destination for divers. The warm tropical waters are teeming with life including an impressive variety of corals, fish and critters.

ubud bali under sea experience is great

The diving in Bali is suitable for all levels of divers and snorkelers, but the best dive sites are found off the southeast coast around Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan where the currents make for great drift dives.

The Balinese are very friendly people and love to share their culture with visitors. There is always something new to discover on this beautiful volcanic island with its lush terraced rice paddies, towering sacred volcanoes and pristine beaches.

8. The Great Blue Hole, Belize

The Great Blue Hole, in Belize’s Lighthouse Reef, is one of the most famous dive sites in the world. It’s a huge round sinkhole almost 1000 feet across and more than 400 feet deep. From space, it looks like an eye staring back. It is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, including over 150 species of fish. The hole is also a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling.

diving in the great blue hole

The hole formed naturally during past ice ages when sea levels were much lower than they are now. The area was dry land and a cave system formed in the limestone rock. When the ice melted, the sea rose again and flooded the caves, leaving just the holes visible.

Another theory holds that it was carved by water draining from a lake on top of the surface through fissures in the limestone floor. The falling water would have caused an erosive effect that widened the cracks into a massive cavern, which eventually collapsed.

9. HaLong Bay, Vietnam

HaLong Bay is a world-famous scuba diving destination located in northeastern Vietnam. The best part about scuba diving in this Bay is that the water is so clear and clean that you can see the incredible underwater world from the surface.

halong bay scuba scene

“It’s like outer space on Earth,” said Carl Roessler, a scuba diver and underwater photographer who lives on the island of Koh Tao in Thailand. “The world is all blue and the light is beautiful.”

diving in halong bay vietnam

HaLong Bay is in eastern Vietnam, about three hours from Hanoi. In addition to being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s a popular spot for scuba divers because of its numerous species of fish and coral.

Because of its karstic topography, which includes thousands of islands and caves, it’s also an easy place to get certified — there’s no current or waves and you can see everything clearly.

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10. Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Cocos Island is a world-famous scuba diving destination located off the coast of Costa Rica. This Island is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, including over 500 species of fish. Cocos Island is also home to many shipwrecks, which attract divers from all over the world. Cocos Island is a popular destination for live-aboard dive boats.

In the last few years, diving in Cocos Island has become a world-class destination for shark lovers and underwater photographers. The teeming waters around this island, located about 350 miles off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, are home to more than 30 species of sharks. If you’re there during the right season, you’ll have a good chance of spotting hammerheads, whitetips and blacktips circling the island by the hundreds.

cocos island, the best place for scuba diving

Getting there is part of the adventure. Because flights to Cocos Island can be tricky, I highly recommend that you go with a travel agency that specializes in diving trips there.

Once you arrive on the island, be prepared for some serious diving. You’re likely to spend up to six hours every day underwater, making three or four dives each day. It’s not uncommon for divers to be in the water for nearly an hour at a time when they come across a large school of hammerheads or other sharks.

11. Silfra, Iceland

Silfra is a world-famous scuba diving destination located in Iceland. It is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, including over 300 species of fish. Silfra is also home to many shipwrecks, which attract divers from all over the world. This is a popular destination for live-aboard dive boats.

The Silfra is a fissure filled with fresh glacial water within the Pingvellir National Park in Iceland, and it is one of the country’s most popular diving sites. The crack opened between the North American and Eurasian continents, and although this is not a true ocean dive, it is unique in being a rare opportunity to dive between two tectonic plates.

i love silfra for scuba diving

While Silfra has long been a popular site for snorkelers because of its crystal-clear visibility, the diving at Silfra is definitely the way to go. The fissure extends for over a mile, so there’s plenty to see beyond what you could cover with a snorkel. Also, since the water comes from melting snow, it can be quite cold, and it takes some time for your body to adjust to that temperature. Wearing a drysuit definitely makes this much more comfortable!

The fissure winds through beautiful caves and tunnels before opening up into wider spaces where you can really enjoy the view. The color of the rock is spectacularly blue from all of the glacier meltwater filtering through; when combined with the clear water, it creates an unreal setting that’s even more amazing than I was expecting.”

12. Monterey Bay, California:

Monterey Bay is one of the most popular diving destinations in California. The bay receives an influx of cold water from major underwater canyons and upwelling zones, and this creates a rich marine environment that attracts a wide variety of sea life. Divers can easily find California sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters and whale sharks in the waters around Monterey Bay.

monterey bay is the one of the best scuba diving destination

Scuba diving in Monterey Bay is an adventure. The bay offers a wide variety of dive sites, making it ideal for divers of all levels. From the famous breakwater to the Point Lobos pinnacles and beyond, there’s something for everyone. Many sites are protected from the open ocean by the breakwater and are classified as sheltered to semi-sheltered. Others are exposed to the open ocean and its swells and currents. Some sites are known for their sea life, while others offer interesting geology or unique topography.

The best time to go scuba diving in Monterey Bay is between June and September when visibility is at its best (up to 30m/100ft). Water temperature varies between 10°C/50°F and 15°C/60°F year round.

Top 7 scuba diving organizations and certification programs in 2022

There are many diving organizations, each with their own specific and customized certification programs. The top 7 scuba diving organizations are PADI, CMAS, SSI, BSAC, SDI, NAUI, RAID. Discover in this article specific information about each one of them.

Scuba Diving Organizations

Table of Contents

Scuba diving organizations

There are more than 160 scuba diving organizations, not counting those for technical and specialized diving.

With so many options, how do you choose the most suitable organization for you?

It is difficult to say that one organization is better than another. Some of the organizations are bigger and have more experience. Others are better known or specialized or have different teaching methods.

The first organizations with a diving system, not as we know it today, were developed from the 1950s onwards.

Thanks to the well-known Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who between 1942 and 1943, I developed the first open-circuit autonomous breathing system, with the help of his father-in-law. A military engineer from World War II.

With the invention of modern breathing equipment, scuba diving is within the reach of nearly everyone.

The exploration of the underwater world is no longer related only to military or complex underwater jobs.

In order to systematize diving training methods and procedures, the first diving organizations began to appear.

All these federations belong to the category of non-profit organizations or private enterprises, oriented to the development of diving in the world.

Most dive organizations started in there first steps in the United States, but almost every country in the world has its own type of dive organization.

Some of them are famous all over the world and others are still local groups.

Here we share the 7 than we consider the best ones, based in the aspects mentioned above.

1. PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors)

PADI is one of the oldest and most recognized diving organizations.

The fathers of this association are (a former NAUI instructor) and Ralph Erickson in 1966.

The two experts had a very clear vision when they started PADI. The main goal was to make the diving courses much more accessible to everyone and not just to a few group of people.

Cronin and Erickson’s proposal succeeded much more than they could have imagined. For this reason PADI is now the largest dive training institution in the world. And they have reported a total of 27 million certifications, valid in any country.

PADI dive centers are in more than 180 countries around the world and it is estimated that 70% of all dive certificates in the world are issued by PADI.

PADI’s Teaching method

Among other certification programs, PADI’s stands out for combining safety and convenience in learning.

The theoretical class can be carried out in person or online while the practices are carried out in swimming pools and in open water.

PADI’s input in the field of security has been invaluable. A large number of the rules for safe diving have been introduced by this organization.

PADI also promotes awareness of marine conservation and diver safety in its classes. Once you have completed the basic course, you can go for other advanced certifications.

PADI Training flowchart

Why choose PADI as your certifying organization?

On its website PADI presents some good reasons why to choose this organization for your training and certification. We share three of them:

  • Education: PADI’s educational system is one of the strongest according to experts considerations.
  • Performance-based learning: The student progresses at their own pace.
  • Training materials: PADI has very complete and professionally designed learning materials for the student to learn in the best possible way.

PADI really has a lot to offer. You can learn more about all the benefits of certifying with PADI on their website.

2. CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques)

CMAS is a non-profit institution. This organization is famous since one of its founders was Jacques-Yves Cousteau. It was founded at the Monaco Congress in 1959.
The original purpose of CMAS was to support the development of diving and to unify educational standards in the different countries where it is present.

During the last decades CMAS has expanded its operations around the globe. Today, CMAS is in charge of regulating diving in more than 130 countries. To do so, it works directly with the national federations of each one, supervising the training they offer.

CMA’s Teaching method

CMAS teaching has a fairly traditional style. This is why the training of this organization belongs within the official diving standard.

For this organization the practical part is a high priority in all diving courses.
CMAS certifications are valid worldwide. This means that with your certificate you can dive in any country and continue your training in any other agency.

CMAS Training flowchart

diving organizations - CMAS Training flowchart

Why choose CMAS?

  • International recognition: CMAS licenses are all around the world, so no matter where you are, you can use your certification.
  • Different concept: CMAS is non-profit. This organization is more like a club than a commercial company.
  • Cheaper: Because the CMAS concept is more club-like, trainings are typically not somenthing to charge for certification but rather for membership.

If you want to know more about this association, you can visit its official CMAS website. In it you will find detailed information about the Federations in each country.

3. SSI (Scuba Schools International)

SSI is one of the oldest agencies, founded in 1970. Its main headquarters are in Colorado, United States, but it is present in more than 110 different countries.
In 1999 SSI merged with NASDS (National Association of Diving Schools). This gave it greater visibility.

Currently SSI is one of the largest organization with more than 2800 dive centers around the world, including the 5 continents.

One of the main features of SSI is the regulation of instructors. Everyone has the possibility of accessing available training materials without having to pay memberships. However, they must teach at one of the agency’s centers, as doing so on their own is not an option.

SSI’s Teaching Method

SSI certification programs start at the basic level. Later it is possible to advance to others of greater complexity. In any case, the first level training is somenthing to do online, and is absolutely free of charge.

The practical part has to be in person. SSI allocates several sessions in open and confined waters, and assigns you a specialized instructor. He will organize the skills to teach you according to your own performance.

SSI Training Flowchart

Starting with the Course “Scuba Diving Test” SSI offers a great variety of opportunities to train in diving.

The diagram below shows the SSI training outline for recreational diving only.

If you want to enter the professional world with SSI there is a specific diagram for professional diving available on their website.

Why to choose SSI?

  • Flexibility: The courses are organized according to the student’s performance.
  • Price: Basic Theoretical courses are free and available online
  • Certification recognition: Currently SSI is recognized throughout the world so you can dive without problem with its certifications.

You can find more useful information about this organization in SSI official website.

4. BSAC (Best British Contingent)

The BSAC has been active since 1953. However, it did not start as a training center. It was just a club for recreational diving. It was not until 1960 that it became an institution when it launched its first course to train instructors.

Nowadays, BSAC is the organization that regulates diving within the United Kingdom.
BSAC courses are viewed by many expert divers as an indisputable quality option. This is based on the harsh conditions of the waters where they are taught.

BSAC’s Teaching method

BSAC has its certification programs in basic and professional levels. The beginner course mixes several theory classes with a long training in a pool.
Later, when you have passed the pool courses, you will move on to open water training.

You must complete a minimum of four open water dives. After that, you can opt for any of the more technical courses.

Why choose BSAC for your certification?

If you live in the UK: Because BSAC is highly recognized in the United Kingdom, if you live in the area it is a good idea to choose this certification.
Quality: Their trainings are known for their high quality, although the organization is not as internationally known as is the case of PADI.

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You can find more information on the official BSAC website.

5. SDI (Scuba Diving International)

This diving organization is one of the newest. It was founded in 1998 and originally emerged as a sister institution of TDI (Technical Diving International), which specialized in technical diving.

The idea behind the creation of SDI was to offer a somewhat less technical alternative. The aim was to provide training in recreational diving, without discarding the professional knowledge of the trainers.

There are SDI training agencies in more than a hundred countries. And their certification programs are available for both adults and children. Many of the experts that teach in SDI also work at TDI, which ensures a wealth of experience.

SDI’s Teaching method

SDI’s method is based primarily on e-learning and multiple pool sessions. This is complemented with open water dives at the end of the course.
This diving organization has always been innovative. The agency has dive computers for you to learn. This alternative is easier than the typical dive tables.
SDI was the first dive training agency to offer a “Solo Diver” certification, which has cost it some criticism in the world of diving.

Why choose SDI?

  • Innovation: SDI is usually an agency that incorporate new technologies quickly.
  • Flexibility: Instructors have the flexibility to rearrange course content according to students.
  • Technical Background: if your goal is to become a technical diver. The fact that SDI arises from TDI gives the instructors a very valuable technical background, useful in your learning process.

Find more information about SDI certification programs and training in SDI’s official website.

6. NAUI (The National Association of Underwater Instructors)

NAUI is an institution with quite a brilliant career and history. It is the oldest of all the ones you will see here. It’s founding dates back to 1959, and since then it has set the standard for certification programs.

Unlike other diving organizations, NAUI has not expanded as much. Its main headquarters are still in California, USA, although it has other centers throughout the country. However, it is not as present in the rest of the nations.

NAUI is a non-profit organization. In fact, in the official registry it appears as a non-profit educational association. At the same time, this agency has a very particular philosophy based on quality over quantity.

That is why it prefers to train a few divers, but who know well what they do. The idea of ​​training many people, from their perspective, would reduce the attention that each one requires.

NAUI’s Teaching method

The NAUI method is very flexible, since the trainers are able to design the teaching process. For this reason each one will structure it as you learn or assimilate each lesson.

For example, if the instructor considers that you need more open water dives to practice, he can expand them. In other words, there is no obstacle to increasing the standard number of dives required in order to ensure proper student learning.

As soon as you finish the first course, you can go for other certification programs. NAUI has different levels of courses, from the most specialized to the recreational. And you could even become an official NAUI instructor, being able to teach independently.

NAUI Training process diagram

The NAUI training process incorporates the following courses:

Why choose NAUI?

  • If you live in the US: NAUI is international, but it is especially recognized in the United States. For this reason, If you live in this country it may be a good idea to train with NAUI
  • Personalized courses: NAUI’s focus on quality over quantity makes its courses smaller and more personalized.

NAUI is internationally recognized. You will have no problems diving in other countries with this certification. You can find more details on the official NAUI website.

7. RAID (The Rebreather Association of International Divers)

Last but not least, we have RAID, another young diving organization, officially founded in 2007, in Sweden. Behind its creation, there are several members who were in other agencies. Among them key figures from SSI and PADI.

RAID was born as an agency for everything related to SCUBA diving. However in 2014 its structure was expanded and many courses were added. From that moment on, RAID became an organization with an ecological philosophy.

RAID’s Teaching method

RAID’s training is completely online, as well as free of charge. This means all courses are held on the digital platform. There you will be able to communicate with your instructor.

Of course, there are more practical hours than theoretical ones. RAID is one of the organizations that requires more water hours in their certification programs. This way they guarantee a more vivid learning experience.

RAID training flowchart

Why to choose RAID as diving organizartion?

  • E-learning concept: RAID has a very complete online course structure.
  • Price: Theoretical training is free.

Technical diving International (TDI)

Technical Diving International (TDI) is probably the largest technical diving certification agency in the world.

TDI specializes in more advanced diving techniques and offers a wide variety of courses, including rebreather diving and the use of different breathable gas mixtures, such as Heliox and Trimix.

TDI was founded by Bret Gilliam, David Sipperly, and Mitch Skaggs in 1994, with the goal of providing training for emergency situations and a focus on specialized diving.

The Organization mainly focuses on three training areas:

Open Circuit Courses

In open circuit systems, air and gas mixture are used as the supply, however, air is the main gas supply. The diver breathes through a demand regulator connected to the compressed gas tank.

Re-breather courses

A system made up of a breathing circuit, a mouthpiece, a CO2 absorbent container and a counterlung. Rebreathers allow for higher gas efficiency, optimized decompression characteristics, and quieter operation, but require training to use.

Overhead Environment Courses

Consider diving situations in which there is no open water above the diver and a direct ascent is not possible. This training considers diving in caves and closed spaces.

The organization also offers other courses such as Technical Diving Instructor and Technical Divemaster.

Many diving organizations. How to choose one ?

As you have seen, there are many diving organizations. To choose in which of them you will carry out your training it is important to consider three aspects:

  • What is your goal: If you only want to dedicate yourself to recreational diving, possibly any of the mentioned organizations will work for you. But if you want to venture into more advanced courses, you must evaluate the training structure. Knowing where you want to go is important.
  • Where do you want to dive: If your goal is to travel and have different diving experiences in different places, it is very positive that you have valid and internationally recognized certifications. If you are diving on your vacation and the dive guide must search the internet for your certification, it could be that it is not well known.
  • The community: While this is not synonymous with quality, it is always good to be part of a recognized community. Learning does not only occur in the classroom. It occurs in interaction with other divers who belong to the same organization and who use the same language and standards.

Which organization do we belong to?

Costa Rica Dive and Surf is part of the PADI family. We are a certified dive center through which you can obtain almost all PADI certifications.
We have all the necessary equipment, boats, location devices and a trained staff so that you can enjoy diving with peace of mind.

Scuba diving organizations – Summary

There are hundreds of dive organizations, of varying sizes and experience. Some are newer than others or have different approaches.

While there is no better one, there are some that are globally recognized and have many members and experience.

Choosing a good organization is important. Especially if you plan to travel and dive in other parts of the world.

If you have questions or are interested in obtaining a certification in Costa Rica, we are waiting for you! Send us a message or give us a call! We will be happy to chat with you.

Top 7 scuba diving organizations and certification programs in 2022

There are many diving organizations, each with their own specific and customized certification programs. The top 7 scuba diving organizations are PADI, CMAS, SSI, BSAC, SDI, NAUI, RAID. Discover in this article specific information about each one of them.

Scuba Diving Organizations

Table of Contents

Scuba diving organizations

There are more than 160 scuba diving organizations, not counting those for technical and specialized diving.

With so many options, how do you choose the most suitable organization for you?

It is difficult to say that one organization is better than another. Some of the organizations are bigger and have more experience. Others are better known or specialized or have different teaching methods.

The first organizations with a diving system, not as we know it today, were developed from the 1950s onwards.

Thanks to the well-known Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who between 1942 and 1943, I developed the first open-circuit autonomous breathing system, with the help of his father-in-law. A military engineer from World War II.

With the invention of modern breathing equipment, scuba diving is within the reach of nearly everyone.

The exploration of the underwater world is no longer related only to military or complex underwater jobs.

In order to systematize diving training methods and procedures, the first diving organizations began to appear.

All these federations belong to the category of non-profit organizations or private enterprises, oriented to the development of diving in the world.

Most dive organizations started in there first steps in the United States, but almost every country in the world has its own type of dive organization.

Some of them are famous all over the world and others are still local groups.

Here we share the 7 than we consider the best ones, based in the aspects mentioned above.

1. PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors)

PADI is one of the oldest and most recognized diving organizations.

The fathers of this association are (a former NAUI instructor) and Ralph Erickson in 1966.

The two experts had a very clear vision when they started PADI. The main goal was to make the diving courses much more accessible to everyone and not just to a few group of people.

Cronin and Erickson’s proposal succeeded much more than they could have imagined. For this reason PADI is now the largest dive training institution in the world. And they have reported a total of 27 million certifications, valid in any country.

PADI dive centers are in more than 180 countries around the world and it is estimated that 70% of all dive certificates in the world are issued by PADI.

PADI’s Teaching method

Among other certification programs, PADI’s stands out for combining safety and convenience in learning.

The theoretical class can be carried out in person or online while the practices are carried out in swimming pools and in open water.

PADI’s input in the field of security has been invaluable. A large number of the rules for safe diving have been introduced by this organization.

PADI also promotes awareness of marine conservation and diver safety in its classes. Once you have completed the basic course, you can go for other advanced certifications.

PADI Training flowchart

Why choose PADI as your certifying organization?

On its website PADI presents some good reasons why to choose this organization for your training and certification. We share three of them:

  • Education: PADI’s educational system is one of the strongest according to experts considerations.
  • Performance-based learning: The student progresses at their own pace.
  • Training materials: PADI has very complete and professionally designed learning materials for the student to learn in the best possible way.

PADI really has a lot to offer. You can learn more about all the benefits of certifying with PADI on their website.

2. CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques)

CMAS is a non-profit institution. This organization is famous since one of its founders was Jacques-Yves Cousteau. It was founded at the Monaco Congress in 1959.
The original purpose of CMAS was to support the development of diving and to unify educational standards in the different countries where it is present.

During the last decades CMAS has expanded its operations around the globe. Today, CMAS is in charge of regulating diving in more than 130 countries. To do so, it works directly with the national federations of each one, supervising the training they offer.

Read Post  10 Incredible Scuba Diving Records

CMA’s Teaching method

CMAS teaching has a fairly traditional style. This is why the training of this organization belongs within the official diving standard.

For this organization the practical part is a high priority in all diving courses.
CMAS certifications are valid worldwide. This means that with your certificate you can dive in any country and continue your training in any other agency.

CMAS Training flowchart

diving organizations - CMAS Training flowchart

Why choose CMAS?

  • International recognition: CMAS licenses are all around the world, so no matter where you are, you can use your certification.
  • Different concept: CMAS is non-profit. This organization is more like a club than a commercial company.
  • Cheaper: Because the CMAS concept is more club-like, trainings are typically not somenthing to charge for certification but rather for membership.

If you want to know more about this association, you can visit its official CMAS website. In it you will find detailed information about the Federations in each country.

3. SSI (Scuba Schools International)

SSI is one of the oldest agencies, founded in 1970. Its main headquarters are in Colorado, United States, but it is present in more than 110 different countries.
In 1999 SSI merged with NASDS (National Association of Diving Schools). This gave it greater visibility.

Currently SSI is one of the largest organization with more than 2800 dive centers around the world, including the 5 continents.

One of the main features of SSI is the regulation of instructors. Everyone has the possibility of accessing available training materials without having to pay memberships. However, they must teach at one of the agency’s centers, as doing so on their own is not an option.

SSI’s Teaching Method

SSI certification programs start at the basic level. Later it is possible to advance to others of greater complexity. In any case, the first level training is somenthing to do online, and is absolutely free of charge.

The practical part has to be in person. SSI allocates several sessions in open and confined waters, and assigns you a specialized instructor. He will organize the skills to teach you according to your own performance.

SSI Training Flowchart

Starting with the Course “Scuba Diving Test” SSI offers a great variety of opportunities to train in diving.

The diagram below shows the SSI training outline for recreational diving only.

If you want to enter the professional world with SSI there is a specific diagram for professional diving available on their website.

Why to choose SSI?

  • Flexibility: The courses are organized according to the student’s performance.
  • Price: Basic Theoretical courses are free and available online
  • Certification recognition: Currently SSI is recognized throughout the world so you can dive without problem with its certifications.

You can find more useful information about this organization in SSI official website.

4. BSAC (Best British Contingent)

The BSAC has been active since 1953. However, it did not start as a training center. It was just a club for recreational diving. It was not until 1960 that it became an institution when it launched its first course to train instructors.

Nowadays, BSAC is the organization that regulates diving within the United Kingdom.
BSAC courses are viewed by many expert divers as an indisputable quality option. This is based on the harsh conditions of the waters where they are taught.

BSAC’s Teaching method

BSAC has its certification programs in basic and professional levels. The beginner course mixes several theory classes with a long training in a pool.
Later, when you have passed the pool courses, you will move on to open water training.

You must complete a minimum of four open water dives. After that, you can opt for any of the more technical courses.

Why choose BSAC for your certification?

If you live in the UK: Because BSAC is highly recognized in the United Kingdom, if you live in the area it is a good idea to choose this certification.
Quality: Their trainings are known for their high quality, although the organization is not as internationally known as is the case of PADI.

You can find more information on the official BSAC website.

5. SDI (Scuba Diving International)

This diving organization is one of the newest. It was founded in 1998 and originally emerged as a sister institution of TDI (Technical Diving International), which specialized in technical diving.

The idea behind the creation of SDI was to offer a somewhat less technical alternative. The aim was to provide training in recreational diving, without discarding the professional knowledge of the trainers.

There are SDI training agencies in more than a hundred countries. And their certification programs are available for both adults and children. Many of the experts that teach in SDI also work at TDI, which ensures a wealth of experience.

SDI’s Teaching method

SDI’s method is based primarily on e-learning and multiple pool sessions. This is complemented with open water dives at the end of the course.
This diving organization has always been innovative. The agency has dive computers for you to learn. This alternative is easier than the typical dive tables.
SDI was the first dive training agency to offer a “Solo Diver” certification, which has cost it some criticism in the world of diving.

Why choose SDI?

  • Innovation: SDI is usually an agency that incorporate new technologies quickly.
  • Flexibility: Instructors have the flexibility to rearrange course content according to students.
  • Technical Background: if your goal is to become a technical diver. The fact that SDI arises from TDI gives the instructors a very valuable technical background, useful in your learning process.

Find more information about SDI certification programs and training in SDI’s official website.

6. NAUI (The National Association of Underwater Instructors)

NAUI is an institution with quite a brilliant career and history. It is the oldest of all the ones you will see here. It’s founding dates back to 1959, and since then it has set the standard for certification programs.

Unlike other diving organizations, NAUI has not expanded as much. Its main headquarters are still in California, USA, although it has other centers throughout the country. However, it is not as present in the rest of the nations.

NAUI is a non-profit organization. In fact, in the official registry it appears as a non-profit educational association. At the same time, this agency has a very particular philosophy based on quality over quantity.

That is why it prefers to train a few divers, but who know well what they do. The idea of ​​training many people, from their perspective, would reduce the attention that each one requires.

NAUI’s Teaching method

The NAUI method is very flexible, since the trainers are able to design the teaching process. For this reason each one will structure it as you learn or assimilate each lesson.

For example, if the instructor considers that you need more open water dives to practice, he can expand them. In other words, there is no obstacle to increasing the standard number of dives required in order to ensure proper student learning.

As soon as you finish the first course, you can go for other certification programs. NAUI has different levels of courses, from the most specialized to the recreational. And you could even become an official NAUI instructor, being able to teach independently.

NAUI Training process diagram

The NAUI training process incorporates the following courses:

Why choose NAUI?

  • If you live in the US: NAUI is international, but it is especially recognized in the United States. For this reason, If you live in this country it may be a good idea to train with NAUI
  • Personalized courses: NAUI’s focus on quality over quantity makes its courses smaller and more personalized.

NAUI is internationally recognized. You will have no problems diving in other countries with this certification. You can find more details on the official NAUI website.

7. RAID (The Rebreather Association of International Divers)

Last but not least, we have RAID, another young diving organization, officially founded in 2007, in Sweden. Behind its creation, there are several members who were in other agencies. Among them key figures from SSI and PADI.

RAID was born as an agency for everything related to SCUBA diving. However in 2014 its structure was expanded and many courses were added. From that moment on, RAID became an organization with an ecological philosophy.

RAID’s Teaching method

RAID’s training is completely online, as well as free of charge. This means all courses are held on the digital platform. There you will be able to communicate with your instructor.

Of course, there are more practical hours than theoretical ones. RAID is one of the organizations that requires more water hours in their certification programs. This way they guarantee a more vivid learning experience.

RAID training flowchart

Why to choose RAID as diving organizartion?

  • E-learning concept: RAID has a very complete online course structure.
  • Price: Theoretical training is free.

Technical diving International (TDI)

Technical Diving International (TDI) is probably the largest technical diving certification agency in the world.

TDI specializes in more advanced diving techniques and offers a wide variety of courses, including rebreather diving and the use of different breathable gas mixtures, such as Heliox and Trimix.

TDI was founded by Bret Gilliam, David Sipperly, and Mitch Skaggs in 1994, with the goal of providing training for emergency situations and a focus on specialized diving.

The Organization mainly focuses on three training areas:

Open Circuit Courses

In open circuit systems, air and gas mixture are used as the supply, however, air is the main gas supply. The diver breathes through a demand regulator connected to the compressed gas tank.

Re-breather courses

A system made up of a breathing circuit, a mouthpiece, a CO2 absorbent container and a counterlung. Rebreathers allow for higher gas efficiency, optimized decompression characteristics, and quieter operation, but require training to use.

Overhead Environment Courses

Consider diving situations in which there is no open water above the diver and a direct ascent is not possible. This training considers diving in caves and closed spaces.

The organization also offers other courses such as Technical Diving Instructor and Technical Divemaster.

Many diving organizations. How to choose one ?

As you have seen, there are many diving organizations. To choose in which of them you will carry out your training it is important to consider three aspects:

  • What is your goal: If you only want to dedicate yourself to recreational diving, possibly any of the mentioned organizations will work for you. But if you want to venture into more advanced courses, you must evaluate the training structure. Knowing where you want to go is important.
  • Where do you want to dive: If your goal is to travel and have different diving experiences in different places, it is very positive that you have valid and internationally recognized certifications. If you are diving on your vacation and the dive guide must search the internet for your certification, it could be that it is not well known.
  • The community: While this is not synonymous with quality, it is always good to be part of a recognized community. Learning does not only occur in the classroom. It occurs in interaction with other divers who belong to the same organization and who use the same language and standards.

Which organization do we belong to?

Costa Rica Dive and Surf is part of the PADI family. We are a certified dive center through which you can obtain almost all PADI certifications.
We have all the necessary equipment, boats, location devices and a trained staff so that you can enjoy diving with peace of mind.

Scuba diving organizations – Summary

There are hundreds of dive organizations, of varying sizes and experience. Some are newer than others or have different approaches.

While there is no better one, there are some that are globally recognized and have many members and experience.

Choosing a good organization is important. Especially if you plan to travel and dive in other parts of the world.

If you have questions or are interested in obtaining a certification in Costa Rica, we are waiting for you! Send us a message or give us a call! We will be happy to chat with you.

Source https://scubapromax.com/guides/best-places-for-scuba-diving-in-world/

Source https://www.costaricadiveandsurf.com/scuba-diving-organizations-certification-programs/#:~:text=Currently%20SSI%20is%20one%20of%20the%20largest%20organization,available%20training%20materials%20without%20having%20to%20pay%20memberships.

Source https://www.costaricadiveandsurf.com/scuba-diving-organizations-certification-programs/

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