Professional Association of Diving Instructors

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Professional Association of Diving Instructors
Logo of PADI.svg
Abbreviation PADI
Motto The Way the World Learns to Dive
Formation 1966
Headquarters Rancho Santa Margarita, California, United States
Membership over 130,000 dive professional, 6000 Dive Centers and Resorts
Leader Drew Richardson
Affiliations DSAT
Project AWARE
Emergency First Response
Current Publishing

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is the world's largest recreational diving membership and diver training organization founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson.[1] Cronin was originally a NAUI instructor who decided to form his own organization with Erickson, and to break diver training down into different courses instead of the single universal course then prevalent.[2]

PADI courses range from entry levels (such as "Scuba Diver" and "Open Water Diver") to "Master Scuba Diver" and a range of instructor certifications. Under their PADI TecRec brand, PADI also offers various technical diving courses, including decompression diving, trimix diving and gas blending. Similarly, PADI's sister company Emergency First Response Corp provides a range of first aid and CPR programs for lay people, including workplace specific programs in Australia, Canada and the UK.

The PADI system is composed of modules with standardized learning objectives divided into theory and practical skills development. Theory is mainly conveyed by way of self-study using books, computer based training using CD-ROM or online learning.[3] All study options are supplemented with video to help the student diver visualize what they have read. Confirmation of the student diver's level of mastery in standardized knowledge review sessions is carried out by a scuba instructor. Practical skills mastery is obtained through confined water training (pools or relatively shallow water) and performance evaluations in open water. Upon completion of each course, a certification is issued to the student.

PADI courses are performance based dive programs, and at the introductory level emphasize practical knowledge, safety and motor skills. The foundations of diving physics, physiology and chemistry are built during entry level programs. The more esoteric details of these concepts are left for later courses when the diver has gained practical knowledge and experience beyond the entry level. These practices fall within current modern learning philosophies and receive regular updates via peer review.[4][5]

PADI is a member of the following member councils of the World Recreational Scuba Training Council - the United States RSTC, the RSTC Canada, the RSTC Europe and the C-Card Council (Japan).[6][7][8][9] PADI obtained CEN certification from the EUF certification body in 2004. [10]


Non certification[edit]


For kids[edit]

  • PADI Seal Team (Age 8 and above)
  • PADI Bubble Maker (Age 8 and above)

Recreational diving[edit]

The PADI training system.

Recreational Specialty courses[edit]

Examples of PADI specialty courses include:

"Distinctive" specialties[edit]

In addition to the mainstream specialty courses above, individual PADI instructors can prepare and teach (with PADI's approval) their own distinctive specialty courses, and dozens of such courses abound. Some of the courses represent less frequently used mainstream skills (such as "Twin-set diver", "Full face-mask diver", "Surface Marker Buoy" and "Advanced wreck diver" specialties). Others are abstract either with reference to skills or locale (it is possible to take specialties in "Golf ball diver", "Zen/Yoga diver", "Underwater wedding" or site-specific specialties such as "Wreck of the Rhone diver" and "Spiegel Grove Diver.")[12]

Professional certifications[edit]

Technical diving[edit]

PADI have developed courses for those divers wishing to dive beyond 40 metres (130 feet), use stage decompression, dive in an overhead environment beyond 40 linear metres (130 linear feet), use accelerated decompression or use variable gas mixtures during a dive.[13]

Open circuit scuba[edit]
  • Discover Tec
  • Tec 40 (pre-requisite - Advanced Open water Diver, Deep Diver, Enriched Air Diver)[14]
  • Tec 45
  • Tec 50
  • Tec Trimix 65
  • Tec Trimix Diver
Closed circuit rebreather[edit]
  • Tec 40 CCR (pre-requisite - Advanced Open water Diver, Deep Diver, Enriched Air Diver & Rescue Diver)[15]
  • Tec 60 CCR
  • Tec 100 CCR
  • Tec CCR Qualifier
  • Tec CCR Refresher
  • Tec Gas Blender speciality
  • Tec Sidemount speciality
Professional certifications[edit]
  • Tec Gas Blender Instructor (pre-requisite - OWSI)
  • Tec Instructor (pre-requisite - MSDT)
  • Tec Deep Instructor (pre-requisite - MSDT)
  • Tec Sidemount Instructor
  • Tec Trimix Instructor


PADI is often subject to criticism. In particular, two accusations are sometimes made against the organization: that it "dumbs down" scuba diving training courses, making them too short and easy;[16] and that it "profiteers" from demand for diver training.[17]

In 2006 PADI was severely criticized by a Coroner's court in the United Kingdom for providing what experts regarded as short and insufficient training.[18] No representative of PADI gave evidence at the inquest, but PADI subsequently issued a rejoinder that in the decade since PADI had come to play a dominant role in diver training, the numbers of diving accidents had declined.[19] Although PADI training standards differ from those formerly prevalent in the United Kingdom under the BSAC system, PADI training standards are consistent with World Recreational Scuba Training Council standards.[20]

Although PADI is often referred to facetiously as a mnemonic for 'Put Another Dollar In',[21] PADI is a for-profit organization dedicated to generating commercial returns from diver training.

A third criticism that is sometimes made[by whom?] is that PADI over-elaborates the training process, leading to the award of large numbers of different certificates, certification cards and embroidered patches for any diver who continues its diving education up to advanced levels.[citation needed] For instance, divers can earn a "boat diver" specialty certification. For many divers, boat diving is a common occurrence that does not require the special, costly course that PADI may appear to convince novice divers they do need.[original research?] This criticism is further supported by PADI's elimination from their entry level course of what some authorities feel are critical skills such as buoyancy control, gas management and diver rescue, and the movement of such topics and skills into separately priced products such as the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Course.[citation needed]

Project AWARE[edit]

In 1995, PADI founded Project AWARE to help conserve underwater environments. Project AWARE information has been integrated in most courses and divers are offered the chance to exchange their normal certificate for an AWARE-certificate by making a donation to the program when sending in their application for a new certificate.

Affiliate companies[edit]

  • Emergency First Response provides CPR and First Aid training both for the lay person and in the workplace.[22]
  • Current Publishing Corporation develops marine science programs for high school and upper level educational facilities.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ DAN News (2003-07-17). "PADI CEO & Co-Founder John Cronin Dies at Age 74". Divers Alert Network. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  2. ^ Tillman, Tom. "The history of PADI". Scuba America Historical Foundation. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  3. ^ PADI. "PADI eLearning". Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  4. ^ a b Richardson, D and Shreeves, K (1996). "The PADI Enriched Air Diver course and DSAT oxygen exposure limits.". South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society Journal 26 (3). ISSN 0813-1988. OCLC 16986801. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  5. ^ a b Richardson, D and Shreeves, K (1998). "The PADI approach to diver rescue training.". South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society Journal 28 (2). ISSN 0813-1988. OCLC 16986801. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  6. ^ "United States Agencies". WRSTC. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Canadian Agencies". WRSTC. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "European Agencies". WRSTC. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Japan Agencies". WRSTC. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  10. ^ "EUF Certified Training Systems/Training Organisations". EUF Certification International. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  11. ^ Richardson, D; Menduno, M; Shreeves, K. (eds). (1996). "Proceedings of Rebreather Forum 2.0.". Diving Science and Technology Workshop.: 286. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  12. ^ "Specialty Courses". Ocean Divers. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  13. ^ "PADI TecRec". Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "Tec 40 Course". Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Tec 40 CCR Diver". Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "Unsafe at any Depth: PADI Scuba Diver". CDNN. Retrieved 2009-04-16. ; "Find out how divers do it". Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  17. ^ "Scuba diving". Retrieved 2009-04-16. [dead link]
  18. ^ McGrath, Ginny (August 9, 2006). "PADI scuba-dive course slammed". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-04-16.  "Inquest warning on diving courses". BBC News. August 8, 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  19. ^ "PADI response to "scuba crash"". The 10 Foot Stop. August 26, 2006. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  20. ^ "ANSI Accredited Standards Developers listing" (pdf). American National Standards Institute. p. 150. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  21. ^ "PADI: put another dollar in?". Dive Herald. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  22. ^ "Emergency First Response". PADI. 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  23. ^ "Current Publishing". Current Publishing Corp. 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  24. ^ Hamilton Jr RW, Rogers RE, Powell MR (1994). Development and validation of no-stop decompression procedures for recreational diving: the DSAT recreational dive planner.. Tarrytown, NY: Diving Science & Technology Corp. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 

External links[edit]