Clearing up the confusion on Dive certifications

As the diving industry evolves, training standards are continuously updated to improve safety and customer satisfaction. The training agencies, including SSI, adopt these standards and produce new materials and occasionally, new certification types.

Most divers are familiar with the Try Scuba course (Discover Scuba, Resort Course) and the Open Water Diver certification. With some recent changes, SSI now has 3 certification options in addition to the Try Scuba course - Basic Diver, Scuba Diver and Open Water Diver

Try Scuba - The SSI Try Scuba program is your introduction to the underwater world. This entry-level program gives you the opportunity to experience the underwater world in a confined water setting like a pool or other shallow, warm, clear contained environment. You will earn the SSI Try Scuba recognition rating. This is not a certification, but is a great way to “get your feet wet”.

Basic Diver - The Basic Diver course is similar to a resort course, but with a little more structure. It includes an academic session, pool session and one open water dive. The Basic Diver certification is good for 6 months for dives with a dive professional to a maximum depth of 40'.  If you enroll in the Scuba Diver or Open Water Diver course within the 6 months, the open water dive is credited to the next course.

Scuba Diver - The Scuba Diver course is the first “permanent” certification course. Completing the Scuba Diver course allows you to dive with a dive professional to a maximum depth of 40’ similar to the Basic Diver, but includes a certification card and is good permanently. This is basically a shortened version of the Open Water Diver course, with on-line academics, academic review, exam, pool sessions, and two open water dives. If you decide to complete the Open Water Diver course in the future, all of your work is credited to the Open Water course.

Open Water Diver - The Open Water Diver course is the full certification most divers completed, entitling you to dive with an equally or better qualified buddy to a maximum recommended depth of 60’, opening a world of diving opportunities and with the option of continuing your dive education and experience with an entire spectrum of specialty courses like Deep Diving, Underwater Navigation, Night/Limited Visibility, Wreck Diving and more. Universally recognized, this course involves the full on-line academics, academic review, exam, pool sessions and four open water dives (2 if upgrading from Scuba Diver).

All 3 certifications are open to dive candidates as young as 10, with a Junior designation that automatically updates to full certification at age 15.

If you’re looking for additional information about diving or about these coursed specifically, feel free to send us a note and we’ll be happy to answer.

Scott Laderer, Undersea Outfitters