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Discussion in 'SSI: Scuba Schools International' started by mir, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. mir

    mir Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Roswell, Georgia United States
    I just earned my AOW/Nitrox with SSI this summer, but the more divers I meet the more I hear of PADI. Even the Atlantic charter I did for a week in Myrtle Beach was PADI affiliated. Is there really a difference or is PADI the king and SSI just small potatoes in comparison?
  2. 300bar

    300bar ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Don't worry about it,SSI is just as good as PADI.
    You'll have no problems with the card.
  3. 24940

    24940 Instructor, Scuba

    PADI has the lion's share of the market, but SSI is one of the top certifying agencies. There are good and bad instructors with each agency. How was yours?
  4. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

    Why do you ask?
  5. emoreira

    emoreira Dive Resort

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: ARGENTINA
    Hi, I'm new in diving and new in the forum. Now I have only 10 logged dives. I want to give my experience.
    I made the OWD course in April 2007 in an institution afiliated to SSI.
    I made a little search to define if I should do the course with PADI or with SSI.
    The answer was easy after the first few questions.
    The course to get the OWD certification with PADI was composed of 5 theorical classes of 1 1/2 hour each and 5 practical classes in the pool, again 1 1/2 hour. After this, the check-out is in an artificial lake.
    From the first practical class in the pool is with scuba equipment.
    The course to get the OWD certification with SSI was composed of 16 theorical classes and 16 practical classes in the pool of 1 1/2 hour. After the course we had a written exam and a practical exam in the pool. After this the check-out in open sea. The first practical class with scuba equipment was the 8th. The first one was swimming, swimming and swimming. The instructor wanted we to feel comfortable in water. We must be "waterized". I did the check out in the sea off the coast of Brazil (reserva de Arvoredo). I remember that a part of the practical exam was 20 minutes swimming in the pool with no stops and without touching the pools´walls.
    I think that the main difference between PADI and SSI is security. SSI remarks security as a way to have fun, to feel safe in water. Part of the exercises is to abandon equipment, re-equip under water, share regulator and some emergency procedures.
    I was able to access some videos from PADI OWD course and there is not much difference regarding contents.
  6. diver200

    diver200 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Antonio, Texas
    Outstanding question. I am an OW instructor with SSI and with NAUI. The biggest difference is the methodology of the instructor as is "dictated" by the store. What do i mean by that. Some store owners stress safety more than others. Some ae more interested in getting your money than providing a good training experience. I know from my own experience that SSI and NAUI have institutional safety oversight over the store owners. PADI, I'm sure, has standards as well. One of the big differences is that SSI is the only agency that requires instructors to teach through one of the affiliated stores. This builds quality assurance right into the system. If an instructor isn't teaching the way the store owner wants, he lets them go. NAUI and PADI, the main two other agencies for recreational diving instruction, do not require working with a store. I could teach as a NAUI instructor out of my garage if I wanted. To me, that is worth a lot. But no matter how you look at it, the store management and the instructors are what make or break the experience. I've dived with people from certified by all different agencies. I've seen good ones and bad ones from any agency. I truly believe that the reason a person becomes a bad diver (i.e. unsafe) is really nothing at all to do with the certification agency. To toot my agencies horn, I feel that most of the SSI and NAUI divers I have seen are more consistently well trained.

    For what its worth, there it is. Either way, I wish anyone reading this the best of luck. Remember to plan the dive and dive the plan. And perhaps more importantly, dive often and dive safe!!

  7. Probably the biggest difference between SSI and some of the other certifying agencies is the fact that with SSI you have to show experience in the water before advancing...ie: you have to complete 12 dives before taking a specialty class (Nitrox excluded) 24 dives before taking Advanced, etc...

    My experience is that this makes a more comfortable diver before doing additional training...I too have seen very comfortable divers after just completing OW regardless of the agency, some depends on the instructor but more depends on the person.

    ...and yes, as mentioned SSI requires that Instructors work thru a store where they can be monitored and I appreciate that as it helps to bring the students into the store where they can browse, ask questions and make better informed decisions about purchasing equipment. I admit if I don't get the students in the store there is less chance of making a sale and sales are what pay the bills and allow us to stay open to provide these divers with air fills, travel opportunities and con ed...:D
  8. diver200

    diver200 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Antonio, Texas
    Underwater Adventure definitely points two other key elements to the SSI experience. You do show your advancement by the number of dives you do. Secondly, SSI does tend to encourage more involvement by divers in the store itself. Not that it doesn't happen otherwise. But one of your best sources for information, education, dive travel, and dive buddies is through a well run scuba store. SSI does a lot to help the scuba store survive and thrive, even in an economy where the disposable income is decreased due to higher gas prices, housing costs, etc. Divers that work with a store develop a bond of camaraderie with the owners and other divers. That is unstoppable for developing a well rounded, comfortable, and independent diver. What? Independent? Yes. Even though you are diving with a store group, you will be developing invaluable skills that will serve you well.

    Good luck!!
  9. garyfotodiver

    garyfotodiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Chicago, but dive in FL. Not true anymore, as I di
    Obviously, merely to start another endless disgusting about the merits of the various certifying agencies.
  10. diver200

    diver200 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Antonio, Texas
    Gary: Did you mean "discussing?"
    Also, I went through the NASDS Scuba Diver Course just as my shop was getting in the SSI transformation!! I still have my NASDS dive tables and book.

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