Best diving organization? What are the differences between diving federations?

Diving organizations train instructors and prepare diving course programs. Before starting the education, the future diver has to decide in which organization he wants to do his diving courses. For someone who does not yet have any diving experience, this choice can be a big challenge. That is why we have prepared a comparison of different diving organizations.

With the invention of modern breathing equipment, diving has become available to practically everyone. The exploration of the underwater world is no longer related only to the military or complex underwater works. In order to systematize the methods of training and diving procedures, the first diving organizations began to appear.

All these federations, whether they were initially non-profit organizations or private ventures, aimed at the development of diving in the world. Most diving organizations were established in the United States, but almost every country in the world has its own type of diving organization. Some of them are known around the world and others remain local groups.

What diving organizations are there?

Each diving federation is similar to each other and the goal of each of them is to teach the rules of safe diving. And it doesn’t really matter which diving organization you choose, because it is the instructor who will provide you with knowledge, not the logo … Nevertheless, to make your decision about choosing a diving federation easier, we have prepared a short description of the most popular diving organizations.

PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors)

diving federations in costa rica

PADI was founded in the United States in 1967 by John Crowin and Ralph Ericson. It is currently the largest diving organization in the world that develops many of its own programs and conducts research. The purpose of establishing this diving organization was to promote diving. However, due to the fact that it is a business venture, everything went much smoother and faster than in other organizations.

As a result, PADI developed a modular training system and introduced a uniform standard for all courses. In addition, on the basis of research, standards for safe diving were introduced, such as those regarding safe ascent rate. I must admit that this organization quickly took over the diving market and other centers joined PADI. As a result, PADI diving centers are present in over 180 countries around the world. As many as 130,000 instructors and divemasters have professional qualifications issued by PADI, and 70% of all diving certificates in the world are issued by PADI.


CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques)

diving federations What is the best CMAS diving organization

CMAS – World Confederation of Underwater Activities. This organization was founded at the Monaco congress in 1959 as a non-profit organization. The seat of this diving federation is in Paris, and the first president was the famous Jacques-Yves Cousteau. CMAS was to support the development of diving and unify training standards, but the federations of individual countries were given a lot of discretion in this regard.

Diving licenses of the CMAS federation are recognized all over the world, so there is no problem with diving with such permissions. As with other diving federations, there is no problem with continuing training in another organization.


SSI (Scuba Schools International)

SSI dive federations What is the best diving organization

The SSI Diving Federation was established in the 1970s in the United States to offer its customers a full range of training and equipment sales. In 1999, SSI merged with the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools (NASDS), which had greater visibility. SSI Diving Federation instructors can only train at SSI-authorized dive centers, which affects the availability of training in less developed locations.

The training system is similar to that of other diving organizations, and the training standards are clearly established and apply worldwide. The SSI diving organization is now known worldwide and its certificates are recognized in every diving center. There is also no problem with continuing the training in another organization.


IANTD (International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers)

diving federations IANTD What is the best diving organization

The IANTD Federation was established in 1991 and was the first diving organization to introduce nitrox, and later trimix, into its training courses. This organization is more geared towards technical training and even recreational courses are seen more as an introduction to technical diving.

The training standards are more elaborate and may seem more complicated. IANTD has greater hardware requirements than other organizations, and the basic training program is more extensive.


NAUI (The National Association of Underwater Instructors)

What are the differences between the NAUI diving federations

The NAUI diving federation was founded in California in 1961. The main assumption behind this diving organization was to create a program of safe training for divers. There were many accidents in those days as divers were often not properly trained and used untested equipment. Over time, the organization began operating outside the United States and NAUI was transformed into an international organization. It was only in 2001 that the process of creating integrated training programs was completed and the standards applicable to this day were introduced. The NAUI federation is recognized all over the world and its licenses are recognized by all diving centers.


RAID (The Rebreather Association of International Divers)

What are the differences between diving federations RAID diving federations

RAID is an organization founded in 2007 to train divers using Rebreathers. Since then, the federation has extended the scope of training to basic diving courses, as well as freediving courses and technical diving courses.


Are there other diver training organizations?

The diving federations listed above are currently the largest in the world and every diving center knows them very well. This does not mean, however, that there are no other diving organizations. There are a lot of them and mentioning such as TDI / SDI. PSAI, GUE or CEDIP will certainly not be a complete list. However, as a future diver, there is one important point to understand. What logo you will have on your card is completely irrelevant. Your diving skills and preparation are the most important. Therefore, the most important choice you have to make is the choice of the instructor. It is up to the diving instructor to learn how to dive correctly and safely.

Diving organization for people with disabilities

The best thing about diving is that everyone can try it. It is one of the few sports where all disabilities cease to matter. That is why diving is a highly recommended activity for people with disabilities. Of course, depending on the degree and type of disability, other standards must be prepared and sometimes the diving equipment may also be modified. That is why diving organizations were established that deal with the issue of diving for people with disabilities. At Costa Rica Divers, we support these projects and want to promote diving as a way of recreation and rehabilitation for people with disabilities.

HSA (Handicapped Scuba Association)

HSA diving federations disabled diving

HSA – Disabled Divers Association – is an organization that was established in the United States in 1981 and its goal is to train people with disabilities. It is a non-profit organization that has developed standards for training people with disabilities. These standards are now used around the world. Diving certificates issued by the HSA are recognized in all diving centers.


IAHD (International Association for Handicapped Divers)

IAHD diving federations disabled diving

IAHD is a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands. The organization was dedicated to promoting, developing and running training programs for people with disabilities. The IAHD diving federation offers courses for people with physical or mental disabilities. The organization also trains instructors to work with people with disabilities. Since IAHD is a non-profit foundation, all board members are volunteers, as are local members around the world.


What is the best diving organization?

The best diving organization is one that trains its instructors according to high standards, develops knowledge about diving and is present and known in the diving community. As you can see, each of the organizations mentioned above meets these criteria. New projects are also constantly being created, the goal of which is business success in the diving world. Because we must make it clear that diving is a huge business and each diving federation wants to attract as many members as possible, because it translates into profits. That is why we once again emphasize – the most important thing is the instructor and his approach to the training, not the logo he has on his T-shirt.

What diving organization is Costa Rica Divers member of?

As mentioned above, the logo is less important than the skill. Nevertheless, our diving center belongs to the largest PADI diving federation, because the standards of training and support allow us to conduct training at the highest level. When choosing a training center, remember that as a customer you have the right to require a high standard of training. That is why we do not take any shortcuts in our center. Do you know why? Because for us you are not only a customer, but a future partner in diving projects. We want to make sure that you are well trained.


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