History of PDIC

Please register or login

Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

Benefits of registering include

  • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
  • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
  • You can make this box go away

Joining is quick and easy. Log in or Register now!

Other than financial reasons, what do you suppose the members weren't being listened to about?
NAUI is entrenched in how much of a leader they are to ever be an actual leader in our industry. They weren't the first to do e-learning. They weren't the first to offer solo diving. I'm not sure they've even embraced PDCs yet and forget about side mount. They weren't the first to eliminate OW CESAs. They even refuse to be a part of ScubaBoard. They weren't the first to require all OW dives to be done entirely neutral (off the bottom). I think about their only 'first' was to teach students on their knees!!! :rofl3: The first major criticism I had about my "no kneeling class" was from NAUI corporate and then from a NAUI BOD. I was told I was endangering my students by not planting them firmly on the bottom. For reals.

Don't get me wrong, but there are many great NAUI instructors out there. This is not a matter of competency but of flexibility. Every agency has their own problems. NAUI's biggest problem, and the one I left over, is their inability to evolve or adapt. They are entirely happy and even proud doing things the same way they were done in the last century. You can't improve modalities under their current paradigm, with much success. The only way to do that is to find an agency more in line with how you want to teach... or create a new one. I found my home with NASE.

So, no... it's not about the money. That's just a way to shift the focus off the real problem and slime those who broke away. It's always been about a philosophy that NAUI didn't want to embrace at the time.
The stories I have so far heard made it sound more like they wanted to make more money than the nonprofit NAUI was providing opportunity for rather than a problem with the training its-self. Dr. Brylske's book cites padi as being started because NAUI was "unresponsive to the needs of inland instructors". That sounded to me a lot like Ralph Erickson wanted to create the "referral" program we know today for instructors who really weren't in a place to teach scuba to get a piece of the financial pie. It also covers briefly NASDS and IDEA/FSDA.

This History of NAUI, written in part by Al Tillman (NAUI Instructor #1), sheds more light on both issues.

NAUI's leadership came from the Los Angeles County program in California, which was taxpayer supported and thus able to work comfortably as a non-profit. It could not, however, take those taxes out of the county, so they had to create a non-taxpayer-funded organization (NAUI) to go outside that county. They set NAUI up as a non-profit as well, but it never really worked well. They enjoyed free office space out of the generosity of a skin diving magazine, for example, but when that magazine was sold to a less generous owner, they had to find a new home. For a couple of years they only stayed in existence because they got a substantial loan from Bill High, later founder of PSI. They were thus always strapped for cash. (NAUI today is partially profit making, which helps.)

They were also struggling to find a way to find students. Led for a while by Glen Egstrom, a university professor, they settled on focusing on university-based classes. This very much fit the non-profit thinking. Student fees were paid by their tuition, which would otherwise have been spent on some other P.E. class, so a scuba class was essentially free to the student. The instructor got paid through the university system. While the system worked for those reasons, it was very, very limiting in growing the numbers, and it shut out a huge portion of the potential market. A lot of NAUI members did not like that approach.

In 1965, for reasons that very much included cost savings, their new leadership decided to cut back on its national approach and focus on California. In doing so, it canceled a major instructor training session scheduled for Chicago. That was the last straw for the NAUI group in Chicago, which had differed on a number of policies, including the method of attracting students. They quit and formed a new agency, PADI. They immediately began to institute a new student recruitment system by partnering with the stores that were selling scuba gear, figuring that those stores wold be the best place to get new students. At about the same time, a trade association promoting the sale of scuba gear, the National Association of Skin Diving Stores (NASDS), had the same idea and changed its name to the National Association of Skin Diving Schools. They went a step further in requiring their instructors to be associated with a store so they could be effective agents of gear sales for those stores.
I attended the PDIC in the summer of 1975 in Monterey at 17 years of age. Ed Brawley (real spelling was Braly but he got tired of everyone pronouncing his name wrong so he changed the spelling) was the owner but relegated the management of the course to the instructors. We didn't see Ed until graduation which was at his home in Pebble Beach. Ed and Ruth had done well in owning a chain of SCUBA shops in Northern California but lost or sold them in the 80's. Ed was a pioneer in SCUBA from the SF Bay area and was instrumental in the professional development of the sport. The course was top notch, focusing a significant number of hours on presentation skills which had a significant impact on my ensuing career in Law Enforcement and college instructor. I lost contact with the Brawleys and my classmates and would be very interested in any updates post 1980.
Although never certified through PDIC, there's an interesting local tale about them, that started around 1989-90:
Once upon a time, PDIC was quite strong in Brazil, specially from Rio de Janeiro state towards north.
Due to excellent marketing there was a brief time that it was bigger than PADI at 90's
But, on the first half of 2000's the vanity tooks over the brazilian chairmans, and they start to "act independently " from the US Office (instructor and C cards fees included), launching a trimix technical program, and taking some GI3 attitude, with some head instructors betting on DIR way.
About 2005 the former brazilian chairman was taken over, and PDIC Brazil started to fade ... although there are still many PDIC fanboys around here
I attended PDIC In the fall of 1974. We lived above the dive shop on Hoffman St. In Monterey, CA.

I might not remember correctly but I think Ed Brawley's dive shop's storefront was on Foam Street near Hoffman Avenue. I think the name was 7 Seas. It was operating from the early 1960s or before.

The building is now the Sea Harvest Restaurant & Fish Market. The swimming pool is still there and is operated as a dive school, Dive to Survive Scuba. Ed was building an air saturation habitat from an old boiler from the canneries in the lot next to the shop. AFAIK, it was never finished.
Yeah... that's a code word for being pissed off, ie frustrated, about not being listened to. Very few people teach or create a new agency to 'get rich'. They see a need that's not being addressed and have probably gotten frustrated trying to get it dealt with. Hey, that's why I became an instructor. I didn't like the teaching I saw being given.
Yes, I believe that Dennis Graver, who was my ITC Course Director for NAUI, went over to PADI soon after I graduated in 1973 (if my memory is correct).

John C. Ratliff
NAUI #2710
blast pass,

I too was at Brawley's in 76. Lived in the dorm with the guys. Was one of two Canadians there and have tons of fond memories. Wondering if you are Rick?
McAbee Marauders 021 in 1976 a fellow PDIC student Pete from Puerto Rico and I painted on the Bayside wall to let you know as you crawled out of the water you were a McAbee Marauder on April 1 1976 the day we graduated. Gorge end up buying a dive shop in marin County, John from Texas also worked with him, along Debbie from 022, dove with them for years in the channel Islands. Only returned and dove McAbee one more time.
I think John from Texas may be the same John that was in my class. If he was a Marine that is. Don't remember the mural. Never dove there after the graduation. Been back to the area a few times and walked the beach. Lots of old memories

Top Bottom