When it comes to choosing a certification agency is there really a difference? The truth of the matter is YES there is! it comes down to what you really want to get out of scuba diving and what your future goals in diving are.
If you’re thinking “well maybe once in a while would be nice or especially if I were on vacation” you may find it is a very simple choice. A certification is, after all, just that. The agency really does not matter. The most important idea and goal is for you is to be a safe scuba diver and have tons of fun along with enjoying time with friends, and making new friends along the way. Now should you be thinking maybe the idea of photography/video diving or wreck diving, night diving, drift diving, maybe your looking at going deeper or perhaps rebreather diving.
This is where the training does matter and choosing the agency for you, TDI, SSI, PADI, NAUI, with so many out there you may find it almost a confusing decision to make and hopefully I can help shed some light for you. So let us start from this point all agencies no matter who they are all have one thing in common and that is SAFETY first and foremost which is awesome that all the certifications are built around it. Next is the old adage that bigger is better with scuba diving that may not apply in your decision making skills because smaller agencies can do just as good if not better. We are now to location, where would you like to take your training ? Locally? Or maybe and exotic island paradise? Doing your training locally really is an advantage with no added cost for hotels and you can have some scheduling flexibility.
Most inland training uses old rock quarries or mines, lakes for you to work your skills and some do pools and schedule trips to an ocean destination somewhere close by. Which now leads us to cost and this does matter, through the many years I have been in the business it is true in scuba diving you get what you pay for ( cheap is not the way to go when your talking about scuba diving ).
Now when it comes to choosing a dive shop or dive center, the majority generally head under a banner of SDI/TDI or PADI that they use as a training agency and some have multiple agencies. They all have a different approach on the information they provide and what they feel is necessary to complete for training. So the difference here is a dive shop offers equipment sales, air fills, training to some levels but not all and takes care of equipment repair. A dive center provides all levels of training and covering all aspects of equipment sales and repairs, air fills. Finding the right instructor is key !, looking for that seasoned well experienced instructor can be a challenge, but you have resources on your side. Do your research is the advice you can get to help you on your way—word of mouth works, internet, yelp, trip advisor, Facebook, personal interaction or talk with the instructor. Age can be one way to find that experienced instructor nothing worse than a sixteen year old teaching you how to drive a car right? Yet that could back fire too, but generally it holds true in scuba diving as dive shops and dive centers tend to hire the young fresh out of instructor school young adults. A lot of people may disagree and say how do you expect them to get that experience? Well just like a truck diver or doctor they should be working with senior instructors to learn the ropes beyond the instructor school if a shop is working in this mode you may find your right where you need to be, if not I would say keep looking. So now you have some good key points that will help you in your search and start to enjoy scuba diving no matter what style of diving you choose.
At Kauai Rebreather and Technical we chose to work with two agencies SDI/TDI and PADI. We feel it provides the best mix of training from beginners to the most advanced courses. We strive to provide the most up to date information and knowledge on every course and that our instructors are required to continue their own education and training keeping them at the top of their game. We want you to get the most and the best out of your training, our classroom setting allows you to relax and ask the questions you feel important. Give us a call and we can help you plan a path for your scuba diving or rebreather diving enjoyment.
Kauai Scuba, Rebreather and Technical