What the heck is a PADI?

Training Agencies, what is that?


A short history

In the early days of diving, most training came from the military.  Navy divers would teach others to dive outside the official auspices of the military.  Usually this took the form of a single instructor in a back yard pool who would generally follow the curriculum he was exposed to by the navy.

This lead to lots of people teaching scuba independently with few guidelines on how to teach effectively and safely.

By the early 1960's scuba was gaining popularity but training was incredibly inconsistent and in some cases unsafe.  In an effort to make scuba training safer, easier, and more consistent Albert Tillman and Neal Hess founded the first training agency: the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI).  Since then, dozens of other agencies have sprung up.  In 1999, the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) was founded in an effort to create global training standards.  All reputable training agencies follow the WRSTC guidelines and therefore the water training is very similar across agencies.

Our Take

Here at HDA we officially represent 3 different agencies, Scuba Schools International (SSI), the Professional Association of Underwater Instructors (PADI), and the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI).  Each agency has their own advantages and disadvantages and we have found that these three agencies provide what we need to offer you the best training possible.  Since they all fall under the WRSTC guidelines there is not much difference between them at the entry levels of diving.  Many of the courses have the same names across agencies, such as "Open Water Diver".  There are differences in how we present the information, especially in the quality of the digital materials, but by the end of the course you will  be in the same place regardless of the agency: SSI and PADI both say to remove and replace your mask, there is no real difference: you simply remove and replace your mask.

Certifications are also interchangeable.  All WRSTC agencies will accept each other's cards as prerequisite for further training.  You can do Open Water with PADI, Advanced with SSI, Rescue with NAUI, then Enriched Air back with PADI.

Training Agencies

These are the three main agencies we use at HDA.  Each has advantages and disadvantages.
If you have any questions or you want a course taught by a specific agency, let's talk about it
call us 808-232-3193

SSI is the second largest and fasted growing agency in the US.  They have been aggressively working on the digital front and as a result their online learning curriculum is the best we have found.  They are still growing and are not yet as well known as some of the other agencies.  You may find an old timer DM that has never heard of them.

PADI is by far the largest training agency in the world.  Their name has become synonymous with diving in many parts of the world.  Because of this, it is easiest to find PADI training and to be a PADI professional anywhere in the world.  PADI does tend to be the most expensive option.  Their learning packs can be triple the cost of other agencies.

NAUI is the oldest training agency.  They are a non-profit organisation built around their members.  The curriculum at upper levels of training is very intense, a throw back to the early days of diving.  NAUI's Master Diver is the most difficult scuba course you will find.  NAUI is a bit old fashioned, their online services are still in their infancy.

There are many other training agencies out there: INTD, SDI/TDI, PDIC, ANDI, and others world wide such as BSAC and CMAS.  Some are more focused on technical diving, others are trying to compete with the big guys.  Ultimately, it does not matter which agency you dive through, they just print books and cards.  It is the training you get in the water that is most important.  The instructors at Hawaiian Diving Adventures will make sure you have the best training possible regardless of the brand name on your cert card.

Please feel free to call us to discuss the best option for you. 808-232-3193