The Truth About Getting Your Scuba Certification
The truth is that all of the major scuba certification organizations teach similar material. The lessons and structure may vary a bit, but the actual course requirements are very comparable.
The sport of diving tends to attract a crowd that loves adventure and loves to travel. For this reason, Wetsuit Pirates recommends that you get certified with one of the largest and most global scuba organizations: PADI or NAUI.
PADI and NAUI are the most known and best established diving certification organizations. Chances are that if you run into a fellow diver anywhere in the world, they are going to know of both PADI and NAUI.
Another advantage of being certified through one of these two diving agencies is that the great majority of dive shops and dive centers are affiliated with one of them. Pretty much every country and every town that is a hotspot for scuba diving will have dive shops connected with PADI and/or NAUI.
When it comes to your personal experience taking a diving course, the thing that will make the biggest difference is the instructor. The diving instructor is where you will get the hands on knowledge and diving experience from. Their personality, the way they like to teach and the instructor’s personal scuba experience all play into your certification experience.
Learning To Dive Safely
During our personal travels Living the Wetsuit Pirate Lifestyle, we have unfortunately seen some not-so-reputable diving trips available to the general public. This is most common in 2nd and 3rd world countries but does also happen in places yo would not expect it.
These not-so-reputable diving trips we have seen advertised are red flagged because they are:
- Not affiliated with any professional diving certification organization
- State that you can dive with them even without a diver’s license
- State that you can get your diving certification in just a couple of hours
While it is not illegal to go diving without a professional certification, it is definitely NOT recommended.
Scuba diving is a very fun, adventurous and amazing sport and recreational activity. However, the fact is that you are underwater. And that carries with it some very real risks.
One of the the biggest things things you learn by getting properly certified by a legitimate professional organization, like PADI or NAUI, is how to dive safely.
Human beings were not designed to breath or survive underwater. The ONLY way you can manage the risk that comes with diving is to learn how to dive safely and responsibly.
This is how you avoid things like:
- Getting “the bends”
- Spending days in a hyperbaric chamber recovering from nitrogen narcosis
No matter how beautiful the place is you are diving, none of these are worth it.
Learn to dive safely from a professional scuba organization like PADI or NAUI first.
Underwater Conservation & Diving Responsibly
The underwater world is an awesome thing.
Its even more awesome when you leave it untouched and unpolluted for the next generations.
Many new diver’s get excited about the sport and want to take a souvenir home with them beyond just the pictures they take. Please do not be one of these people.
While its obvious that trash and pollution kill underwater corals, fish, plants and animals, just touching them can be just as damaging. You leave behind residue, disturb natural growth patterns and kill off the plants and animals you came to see.
Always practice responsible diving.
Take Only Pictures.
Leave Only Bubbles.
Kill Only Time.
How To Get Certified
The actual process of getting your scuba certification is pretty straight forward:
- Find a PADI or NAUI certified instructor
- Take the class
To help get you started, the following gives you a bit about the professional diving organizations we recommend at Wetsuit Pirates…
PADI – Professional Association of Diving Instructors
PADI is by far the largest diving certification organization. Of all the certified divers in the world, over 60% earned their diver’s license through PADI. PADI also has over 70% of all scuba instructors.
The organization is in 100s of countries and recognized all over the globe. This makes them an ideal organization to get your diver’s license through, especially if you plan on doing any international diving. They have over 135,000 certified divers and over 6,200 certified dive shops and centers.
PADI is one of the main organizations for bringing the sport of diving mainstream. They are a for profit business, but their pricing is reasonable and they donate a lot of time, money and effort to furthering the sport of scuba diving in general.
In 1989, PADI established the nonprofit Project AWARE Foundation to join in the fight in conserving the world’s coral reefs and oceans.
Motto: The Way the World Learns to Dive
Year Founded: 1966
Headquarters: Rancho Santa Margarita, California, USA
NAUI – National Association of Underwater Instructors
Founded in 1959, was the first scuba certification agency. NAUI is also the largest non-profit scuba certification agency.
Like PADI, they have a major global presence and are good for diver’s that want to travel internationally. NAUI is responsible for certifying diver’s at many universities and elite public sector organizations, such as: the US Navy, the Navy SEALs, the Army Special Forces, and even NASA.
NAUI has been a pioneer in the sport of diving for decades. They have been the first to take the lead in several areas, including being the first to offer a course for diving with Nitrox. They also have dozens of more advanced and technical level courses.
NAUI has certified several famous personalities, including: Jacques Cousteau, Cameron Diaz, Kevin Costner and Tiger Woods.
Motto: Dive safety through education
Year Founded: 1959
Headquarters: Riverview, Florida, USA