Diving Lore

Diving Organisations

Professional Association of Dive Instructors

Established in 1966. What began in America from a handful of scuba instructors has become the largest dive organisation on the planet. A US success story in many respects PADI trains divers at an incredible rate and many divers from all over the globe are likely to be PADI certified.

PADI's strengths are legion; easy to understand teaching and diving methods in a low pressure environment. Versatile, gradual learning curve for those starting to learn diving. Care for the marine environment and reef conservation is a cornerstone to the PADI teachings earning them much praise from environmentalist groups. In the tropics many countries economies are benefited upon by having a strong core of PADI Instructors and Divemasters catering to armies of holidaymakers eager to dive in a warmer climate. Apart from the UK and a select few European countries PADI is almost always the foremost dive shop/Resort/companies chosen affiliation.

PADI believes (almost) anyone can be a diver and takes great steps to 'spread the word of Scuba diving' to the world. One of its favoured slogans is 'Teaching the World How To Dive". While this is perhaps a noble gesture and inspires many to don aqualung to become certified divers, others disagree stating that not everyone is up to the rigors of diving. An often sited critique of PADI is that the organisation often comes across as overzealous in its marketing strategy. A common insult thrown PADIs way is 'Put-Another-Dollar-In', a play of words on the PADI Acronym!

PADI Resort Managers and Instructor's are expected to be proficient in selling PADI products and and materials to dive customers, however this is an oft needed skill in the sometimes 'cut-throat' world of Resort diving!

The PADI Diver Hierarchy

Sport Diver

Discover Scuba Diver

Open Water Diver

Advanced Open Water Diver

Rescue Diver

Leadership Ranks


Assistant Instructor

Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)

IDC Staff Instructor

Course Director

The Diving Hierarchy for PADI is not so clear and straight-forward as it first appears. Rankings (with the exception of DSAT and the senior Instructor grades) can be purchased and obtained fairly easily when on holiday.

For example one diver may have 5000 dives, be very experienced in temperate, icy and tropical climates while only holding an 'entry' grade Open Water Diver certification. At the other end of the scale his inexperienced cousin could have trailblazed through the PADI rankings to reach Divemaster / Assistant Instructor with 65 - 125 dives in a tropical climate.

The links are in alphabetical order with some notes next to each.

Diver Alert Network - DAN


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