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

In general, diving organizations train instructors and prepare diving course programs. Before starting to learn, a prospective diver has to decide in which organization he wants to do his diving courses. For someone who is not yet experienced in diving, this choice can be a challenge. Therefore, we have prepared a comparison of different diving organizations.

With the invention of modern breathing equipment, diving has become available to virtually everyone. Exploration of the underwater world ceased to be associated only with the military or complicated underwater work. In order to systematize training methods and diving procedures, the first diving organizations began to emerge.

All of these federations, whether they were originally non-profit organizations or private ventures, had the goal of advancing diving in the world. Most diving organizations originated in the United States, but almost every country in the world has its own type of diving organization. Some are internationally known, while others remain local groups.

What are the diving organizations in the world?

Each diving federation is similar to each other and the purpose of each is to teach the principles of safe diving. And in fact, it does not matter which diving organization you choose, because it is the instructor who will pass you the knowledge, not the logo … Nevertheless, to make your decision on the choice of diving federation easier, we have prepared a brief characteristic 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 now the largest diving organization in the world, which develops many of its own programs and conducts research. The purpose of founding 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, based on research, introduced standards for safe diving, including safe ascent speed. It must be admitted that this organization quickly conquered the diving market and more centers began to join PADI. As a result, PADI dive centers are present in more than 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 a congress in Monaco in 1959 as a non-profit organization. The headquarters of this diving federation is located in Paris, and the first president was the famous Jacques-Yves Cousteau. CMAS was to promote the development of diving and to standardize training standards, but the federations of individual countries were given a lot of freedom in this regard.

Diving licenses of CMAS federation are recognized around the world, so there is no problem with diving with such licenses. As in the case of 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 founded 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 recognition. 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 defined and apply worldwide. SSI diving organization is now known around the world, and its certificates are recognized in every diving center. There is also no problem to continue training in another organization.


IANTD (International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers)

diving federations IANTD What is the best diving organization

IANTD was founded in 1991 and was the first diving organization to introduce nitrox, and later trimix, into its training courses. This organization is more focused on technical training and even recreational courses are seen more as an introduction to technical diving.

The training standards are more extensive and may seem more complicated. IANTD has more equipment 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

NAUI diving federation was founded in California in 1961. The main goal of this diving organization was to create a safe training program for divers. At that time there were many accidents, because divers were often not properly trained and used untested equipment.

Over time, the organization began to operate outside the United States, and NAUI evolved into an international organization. It wasn’t until 2001 that integrated training programs were completed and standards were introduced that are still in place today. NAUI Federation is recognized around the world, and its licenses are recognized by all dive 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 expanded its training to include basic diving courses, as well as freediving and technical diving courses.


Are there other diver training organizations?

The diving federations listed above are currently the largest in the world and every dive center knows them very well. This does not mean, however, that there are no other diving organizations. There is a lot of them and listing such as TDI / SDI. PSAI, GUE or CEDIP will certainly not be a complete list. However, as a future diver you must understand one important issue.

What logo you will have on your card is completely irrelevant. The most important thing is your diving skills and preparation. Therefore, the most important choice you have to make is your choice of instructor. It is up to the instructor to teach you how to dive correctly and safely.

Diving organization for people with disabilities

The best thing about scuba diving is that anyone can try it. It is one of the few sports where any disability no longer matters. Therefore, scuba diving is a highly recommended activity for people with disabilities. Of course, depending on the degree and type of disability, different standards have to be prepared and sometimes diving equipment has to be modified.

This is why diving organizations have been created to address the issue of diving for people with disabilities. At Costa Rica Divers we support these projects and want to promote diving as a means 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 founded in the United States in 1981 with the goal of training people with disabilities. It is a non-profit organization that has developed standards for training people with disabilities. These standards are now used all over the world. Diving certificates issued by HSA are recognized in all dive centers.


IAHD (International Association for Handicapped Divers)

IAHD diving federations disabled diving

IAHD is a non-profit organization based in the Netherlands. This organization has been 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 dive organization is one that trains its instructors to high standards, develops knowledge about diving, and is present and known in the diving community. As you can see, each of the listed organizations meets these criteria. Also, new projects are constantly being created in order to achieve business success in the diving world.

Because it must be clearly understood that diving is a huge business and each diving federation wants to attract as many members as possible, because it translates into profits. Therefore, once again, we emphasize – the most important is the instructor and his approach to training, and not the logo, which has on the shirt.

What diving organization is Costa Rica Divers member of?

As we have already mentioned, logo is less important than skills. Nevertheless, our dive center belongs to the largest diving federation PADI, because the standards of training and service allow us to provide training at the highest level.

When choosing a training center, remember that as a customer you have the right to demand a high standard of training. That is why in our center we do not take shortcuts. Do you know why? Because for us you are not just a customer, but your future partner in diving projects. We want to make sure that you are well trained.


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