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hychang
10-15-2007, 18:50
I earned my OW Cert earlier this year from SDI. Recently, I completed the Nitrox class and am taking the Deep Dive and Dive Computer classes through SDI. The question is, is there a big difference between the various Scuba Certification Agencies? Thanks.

Desert_Diver
10-15-2007, 20:00
I've only taken classes from two agencies. My feeling is that you should find and instructor that you feel is effective teaching you. Then take your classes from him. All the agencies and dive operators honor each others c cards.

Art

cummings66
10-15-2007, 21:15
The honest answer is yes there is a difference on paper, IE minimum standards required to pass and how much leeway the instructor is allowed in teaching. Some can fail you even if you do the skills because they wouldn't trust you to take a loved one out. Others must pass you if you can do the skills.

In the real world it more often boils down to the instructor. I've had good instructors and poor ones. The good one taught beyond the standards, the poor one taught to the standards. Both were safe and taught you to be safe, but I learned more from the one who went the extra mile. He was a Padi instructor FWIW.

hychang
10-16-2007, 12:35
I am and will be taking specialty classes towards obtaining an "advanced" certification. Presently, I'm staying with SDI as I like my instructor, the same one with whom I did my OW and who did go beyond the course material provided. So, should I look at other agencies to take their courses or stay where I am and maybe later take another specialty, like Rescue, with another agency? Thanks.

Netsloth
10-16-2007, 12:45
Some can fail you even if you do the skills because they wouldn't trust you to take a loved one out.

This doesn't make any sense to me. You shouldn't be diving with a non-certified diver. I would never take someone under who didn't have a C card. Might as well point a loaded gun at them.

TxScubaBear
10-17-2007, 06:42
I agree with folks here....the agencies all have their own little tidbits- for AOW PADI wants 5 dives, NAUI 6,- I did OW PADI and AOW NAUI and loved the 6 dives; moreover- it IS the instructors who make a huge difference in learning! The ones who really love teaching as I discovered in the AOW class, are the ones who you'll benefit the most from.

Kingpatzer
10-17-2007, 09:54
The answer is that there is really little difference between the agencies for recreational non-professional divers.

Regardless of agency, they will adhere to the minimum training standards set by the World Recreational Scuba Training Council http://www.wrstc.com/main.php).

Some may add to those standards, but they don't take away from them.

Agency difference only start to show themselves once you move into the world of professional certifications and rec-tech diving.

Prior to that level, the quality of the instructor matters, the agency doesn't.

fire diver
10-17-2007, 10:02
Some can fail you even if you do the skills because they wouldn't trust you to take a loved one out.

This doesn't make any sense to me. You shouldn't be diving with a non-certified diver. I would never take someone under who didn't have a C card. Might as well point a loaded gun at them.

I think he meant that the shop wouldn't trust you be on the same dive as anyone THEY cared about.

I have seen people who can perform the skills, but are WAYYY too cocky and thrillseeking to be allowed in the water unsupervised.

FD

CompuDude
10-17-2007, 12:30
One thing I will say: Avoid the e-Learning courses. They're not there yet in content. I've spoken with students from both SDI's class and PADI's, and none of them had received the same level of education you get from actually sitting in a class with an instructor. And worse, in the case of PADI's, you often end up paying a lot more for the privilege!

cummings66
10-17-2007, 13:51
This doesn't make any sense to me. You shouldn't be diving with a non-certified diver. I would never take someone under who didn't have a C card. Might as well point a loaded gun at them.

What it means is that if the instructor feels that you are not safe, even if you did the skills correctly he can fail you and the agency he represents will back him up.

It has nothing to do with you having a cert or not, we're talking about instructors and agencies giving dive instruction and the resulting card if you pass the course. Some agencies will give you a card even if the instructor would not allow you to dive with his wife and child because you did all the skills.

For example say you have a bad habit which isn't a test standard but one which will kill you in the end. He can fail you for that. Some agencies can not fail you for that. That's what I meant. It's how he "feels" about you.

For those that think all agencies are the same, at the base they all teach you the same skills but some go for more material. Take an LA County diver for example, he'll have more skills out of OW than a NASE diver would for example, or could have. Compare my Padi OW with my buddies YMCA OW. He learned things I was never taught and it wasn't in my book but it was his. My instructor covered many topics he didn't cover such as some simple rescue skills, but they were not required and he couldn't fail me if I could not do them but they were covered.

That goes to the point that on paper some agencies are clearly better, but the instructor makes the course what it is and therefore a course is more than the paper which represents it.

hychang
10-17-2007, 14:03
So, I guess it's safe to say that if you've found an instructor with whom you're comfortable it's ok to stay with that instructor for as far as the instructor can take you. This happens to be my case as I just completed last night the classroom portion of the Deep and Computer Dive courses (SDI). The instructor was the same one with whom I did my initial OW (SDI). He's terrific and went beyond the course material which was very instructional and complementary to the course material as well reinforcing what I learned from my OW and Nitrox classes.

Thanks everyone for your input! :smiley1:

cummings66
10-17-2007, 21:20
I'd say you're fine then. Read everything you can and ask questions if there's any confusion.

plot
10-21-2007, 07:48
How do you know your instructor is terrific if you've never had another one? You might not realize how much stuff he's leaving out or how relaxed he is in some areas until you get to experience another instructor...

Most people love their first instructor if they have an enjoyable OW experience, but realize later on how crappy he really was when they go onto AOW or something with someone else who is more effective for whatever reason.


Also, SDI is one of my favorite agencies right now in terms of business practices, and it's sister company is TDI which is for technical diving.

fire diver
10-21-2007, 08:04
How do you know your instructor is terrific if you've never had another one?

Very true. This is why I tell people to ask other divers in thier area about local instructors they recommend.


I'll admit that when I got my OW, I went based on price and convenience. Luckily I got a good instructor too. I think having experience with different instructors is very helpfull in the big picture. I liked my OW instructor, not so much my nitrox instructor. I am going to take cavern from a completely different shop. And will travel (more than the 150 miles for cavern) to take my wreck training.

I don't believe one instructor can be great in all aspects. Pick the instructor who has a passion for the type of diving you want to learn.

FD

mm2002
10-21-2007, 09:38
One thing that impressed me about our PADI instructor is that he was in no hurry to get anyone certified. He even spent extra time taking us on fun dives between class dives, just to increase our relaxation. I know of three other students in our class that he spent an extra couple of days with just because they had minor issues. The class is a flat rate cost, and he owns the LDS, so it's not like he's getting paid by the hour. Sure, I haven't experienced any other instructors, but I really can't imagine a better one out there.

plot
10-21-2007, 13:35
Another thing to keep in mind - the best classroom instructor I've ever seen was probably the worst pool/ow instructor I've ever seen.

hychang
10-23-2007, 12:54
Plot, my OW and AOW instructor is terrific, though your point is very true as I don't have a basis on which to really compare. I was not what you'd call a great student. I needed some extra help and he met with me for extra dives to help me get comfortable in the water where I believe he ate the cost as he's not the LDS owner. He's also very analytical and loves explaining more of the science and other technical aspects of diving (he calls himself a dive nerd!). The Nitrox instructor I had, through the same LDS, was good, but seemed more interested in getting the class over with. I am lucky in that my instructor is a great classroom instructor and excellent in the water as well. That's why I'm perfectly content to stay with him. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" a wise person said.:smiley20:

mm2002
10-23-2007, 18:29
Plot, my OW and AOW instructor is terrific, though your point is very true as I don't have a basis on which to really compare. I was not what you'd call a great student. I needed some extra help and he met with me for extra dives to help me get comfortable in the water where I believe he ate the cost as he's not the LDS owner. He's also very analytical and loves explaining more of the science and other technical aspects of diving (he calls himself a dive nerd!). The Nitrox instructor I had, through the same LDS, was good, but seemed more interested in getting the class over with. I am lucky in that my instructor is a great classroom instructor and excellent in the water as well. That's why I'm perfectly content to stay with him. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" a wise person said.:smiley20:

Good story, and I'd rather learn anything from a "nerd" than just about anyone else in any industry. Stick with him!

Navy OnStar
11-17-2007, 08:46
How do you know your instructor is terrific if you've never had another one? You might not realize how much stuff he's leaving out or how relaxed he is in some areas until you get to experience another instructor...

Most people love their first instructor if they have an enjoyable OW experience, but realize later on how crappy he really was when they go onto AOW or something with someone else who is more effective for whatever reason.


Also, SDI is one of my favorite agencies right now in terms of business practices, and it's sister company is TDI which is for technical diving.

I really like my OW cert instructor. He went the extra 3 miles in being flexible for OUR schedule and my wife and I even remarked at how well he taught and how patient he was. I would definetly do another course from him. But I also want to get other perspectives.
I am a Flight Instructor for the Navy and I can relate my qualifications to those of a diver. We all are not qualified to teach every aspect of flying but we teach most. I teach guys who have never flown a helicopter before as well as the advance navigation and a few others. I do not teach formation flying. After about 6 flights with me they are sent for one flight to another instructor so that instructor can ensure I have taught them everything properly and didn't leave anything out. Then at the end of that phase they do a check ride to see if they are safe for solo. I can do a check ride for any student other than the ones I taught the first 10 flights to. That way it eliminates any bias and ensures everything was taught because they learned from at least 3 instructors.
Although I am confident in my ability to do the skills I was taught in the manner I was taught them, I would like to have another instructor for another course who will let me know if there is something that was overlooked or could be done another way.

Just my 2psi

OnStar

Brandon Belew
11-19-2007, 21:02
There was a lady that went through the PADI OW class our dive club teaches for 200$, she was afraid of water.. wouldn't even get in.. it took several years, but finally she got through the training and is still involved in the club and diving today. Our instructors will not give up on a student who wants to learn; if the student drops they are welcome to come back and start over or where they left off without having to pay anything else. Same goes for club members, if they are in need of a touch-up, they can sit in on the classes / pool sessions, all they have to do is pay for air.