[singlepic id=203 w=320 h=240 float=left]There are HEAPS of different diving agencies in the world that promote different types of diving – commercial, recreational, and technical diving.  Examples of these agencies include PADI, SSI, CMAS, SDI, BSAC, and NAUI.  At Sairee Cottage, we mainly teach PADI and SSI courses.

One common question we receive is, “What exactly is the difference between these two diving agencies?” Below are a few examples of the differences between these two popular agencies.


Professional Association of Diving Instructors



Scuba Schools International


Internationally recognized diving agency

*World’s Largest Diver Training Organization*



Internationally recognized diving agency


Started in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson over a bottle of Johnny Walkers


Started in 1970 by Robert Clark. Merged with NASDS (The National Association of Scuba Diving Schools) in 1999.



PADI works directly with its members. A PADI member can independently conduct PADI courses.



SSI works directly with a dealership (SSI Dive Centers and Resorts).  Instructors have to be a part of a dealership in order to conduct courses.



Slogan:  The Way the World Learns to Dive


Slogan:  The Ultimate Dive Experience



Project Aware Foundation – PADI’s environmental non-profit that deals with underwater conservation issues


Mission Deep Blue: SSI’s environmental arm that promotes its four campaign missions


SSI’s philosophy revolves around the Diver’s Diamond Methodology.  The concept includes proper knowledge, skills, equipment, and experience. It believes in comfort through repetition.  Basically, each skill should become a conditioned response.  In order to achieve its goals, SSI incorporates the following three approaches:

  • its Total Teaching System, which allows you, the customer, to learn at your own pace and encompasses different learning capabilities;
  • its Total Diving System, which encourages equipment ownership from the beginning; and
  • its Total DiveLog System, which helps you to track and record your diving experiences, achievements, and goals.

PADI has a distinct diving philosophy and therefore teaches different methods and techniques as compared to SSI.  It believes that you must master certain performance requirements before continuing on in the course.  Its educational system mixes recognized instructional system design theory, educational psychology, and cognitive psychology. PADI prides itself on being the only diver training organization to receive acclaim from many international educational groups, such as the American Council on Education and the Australian National Training Authority.

Both companies offer an Open Water Diving certification.  We teach the open water course, which involves both water and academic sessions, over three and a half days.  The water work consists of a confined session where we teach you all the scuba skills and four open water dives where you can practice the skills learned in the confined session.  The theory work comprises of self-study, answering questions from each chapter (Study Guides/Knowledge Reviews), watching videos, and having discussions with your instructor to confirm understanding.

Both agencies offer additional training beyond the Open Water level.  For example, PADI offers an Advanced Open Water Course.  The course includes independent study, answering Knowledge Reviews, discussions with your instructor, and 5 dives!  SSI offers a comparable course called the Advanced Adventurer. Unlike PADI, there is no independent study.  The focus is more on detailed Instructor dive briefs and 5 dives.  Interestingly, SSI does not consider you an Advanced Open Water Diver until you have completed 24 dives and earned four specialty qualifications.

No matter which agency you choose to learn from, we will teach you to become a prudent and independent certified diver.  We will also show you how much FUN you will have as a diver.  If you would like more information, please shoot us an email at info@saireecottagediving.com. We would love to hear from you! In the meantime, keep diving!

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