Starting out in scuba diving there is a lot to research and some of the questions you don’t even know to ask!
One that isn’t considered but really should be is… which training agency?
Just recently we had a diver come to go diving in Lanzarote and showed their certification card. It was from an agency we had never heard of. We recognise all the major agencies such as PADI, SSI, BSAC, FFESSM, CMAS straight away. As a dive centre we know their different certification levels and maximum depths for each of them. For the smaller agencies we have to look them up online and see how deep we can take them on a guided dive.
When you are starting your scuba diving training we recommend choosing one of the larger training agencies. That way when you travel to a new place they will automatically recognise your diving certification and be able to get you in the water sooner! So which do we teach?
We choose to teach PADI courses
There are several reasons why we choose to teach PADI scuba diving courses. The main reason is that they are globally recognised. You can walk into any dive centre in the world and say I have my PADI and they will know your diving level and be able to take you diving! They have embraced the online training meaning that you can study in your own time at your own pace thanks to e-learning. PADI are constantly reinvesting in their courses finding ways to teach divers to be safer underwater. Also a huge benefit that only PADI and SSI (that we know of!) have is that if you are on holiday and want to go diving but you have forgotten your certification card any PADI diving professional can look you up on the online database using your name and date of birth and find all of your certifications.
The risk of choosing a smaller agency
Until the other day we have always found the information we need to take divers from smaller diving agencies diving – thanks to Google! However the case we had the other day turned out the agency they had gone with had gone into liquidation. We had no way of verifying their certification or training level. Unfortunately the certification card had very little information on it, no maximum depths, no date of births. Don’t worry we could still take this diver to experience the amazing diving in Lanzarote. However it meant we had to do some training with the PADI discover scuba dive first.
We asked the diver why they choose this agency? It turns out their instructor gave them the option of the PADI course or this one. That they were told the courses were similar but the other agency was cheaper.