There has long been an ongoing debate among divers as to which dive agency is better.

There are countless numbers of training agencies, PADI, SSI, SDI,CMAS, BSAC, NAUI, RAID. These are just the ones that are more commonly known. However, all recognised training agencies are governed by the RSTC (Recreational Scuba Training Council) of which both PADI and SSI are founding members. They have to meet a certain level, a global standard to be able to teach divers to dive independently. At Island Divers we teach both PADI and SSI. We have a lot of experience with both and we can see that training wise, the agency you choose is irrelevant – it is not the agency that makes you a good diver, it’s your dive instructor.

PADI is bigger in terms of global brand and the money they charge for course materials. Now, MacDonalds is a lot bigger than the burger shop around the corner but does that mean MacDonalds is better? With that being said SSI is not a small agency either. If you walked in to a shop and showed them your SSI Open Water card and they didn’t know what it was then you are probably in a florist or bakery because if you were in a dive school, they would instantly know who SSI are. We are SSI and PADI and our instructors are both but we will take anyone with a diving licence from any training agency. Even if we’ve never heard of it a 10 second search on Google will tell us if it is a recognised agency or not.

We offer both PADI  and SSI course on all levels up to Divemaster. We do prefer to offer SSI over PADI because we feel the advantages of SSI are far greater than PADI.

On completion of your course, you will receive a plastic certification card with your photograph and personal details on it. The SSI smartphone app will give you access to your digital certification card for free. PADI has something similar but you have to pay extra for the digital card.

If you lost your PADI licence and you were to go to an area where there are no PADI shops, they can’t do an online search for it because you need to be a PADI member to access the divers database and the dive school you have chosen to dive with may not be a PADI member. With SSI anyone can search online for a diver.

SSI offer free online training. SSI also offers more flexibility with the structure of the course. If you get stuck on a particular skill of the the course, PADI standards dictate that we cannot continue until you have mastered that skill. SSI standards say you can move on and come back to that skill when you are more comfortable. This means with SSI we can offer tailor made courses to suit your learning style.

The theory for the SSI Open Water course is shorter than the PADI Open Water course. SSI has more emphasis on in-water training time because that is where you learn to dive. All the content is still the same, its just worded differently. This means with the SSI Open Water you will spend less time in the classroom.

So, if the advantages of SSI outweigh PADI why do we offer both? Our instructors have been hand picked from hundreds of applicants a year. We believe it’s the instructor that makes the diver not the agency so we want the best instructors just as much as you do. We offer both because we feel you should be able to choose which agency you want and still have access to the best instructors. As mentioned earlier, there is also the cost factor. PADI is more expensive than SSI and divers are often budget minded people who are practical about how they spend their diving dollar. We are like minded people and we would be happy having a choice that might save us some hard earned cash.


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