Scuba diving is a sport requires certification from a reputable training agency to engage in diving activities, participate in fun dives, trips, get air fills, buy equipment, etc. The proof of certification can be in plastic cards issued by the certifying agency, or in electronic form where the information is easily verifiable.
Currently there are hundreds, if not thousands of accredited training agencies for diving, some are into a more specific area of diving type, technical, commercial, environment related like (wrecks, cave, cavern, lakes, etc), equipment or gas blend. Among these vast choice of organizations, 3 of them have been the forefront of scuba training and are considered as almost synonymous to scuba diving itself.
Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is no doubt, the most successful, most recognized brand in Scuba Diving. Hitting a milestone of 25 Millionth certification issued just this year since its inception 50 years ago, there is no question in anyone’s mind about its success in diver training and acquisition. PADI is estimated to hold over 70% share of the market with gap against it’s contender increasingly widening each year.
Scuba Schools International (SSI) comes at number 2. As the name suggest, SSI is a network of training schools and unlike PADI, instructors cannot teach unless they are affiliated with an SSI accredited training center. SSI has provided training, scuba diving certification, and educational resources for divers, dive instructors, dive centers and resorts around the world since its inception 45 years ago.
Finally at number 3, Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS), known in English as World Underwater Federation is one of the oldest dive training organization in the world. The federation was founded in 1959 and by now it comprises over 130 federations from 5 continents. CMAS has a very strong presence in the Philippines with some familiar names leading the Philippine chapter. In addition to organizing international underwater sport events it is at the forefront of technical and scientific research and development. It can be associated with elaborating one of the oldest and most extensive dive training systems.
As most, if not all of the training agencies we hear in our industry, all 3 are accredited members of The World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) is dedicated to the worldwide safety of the recreational diving public. As such, one of the WRSTC’s primary goals is the development of worldwide minimum training standards. The establishment of globally recognized and implemented standards is a valuable asset in addressing local and national regulatory issues.
The WRSTC is the mechanism for worldwide cooperation in reaching international consistency in minimum course training standards. Member Councils of the World Recreational Scuba Training Council recognize and accept responsibility for the promotion of worldwide safety of the recreational diving public, international consistency of training standards and worldwide credibility of the WRSTC.