Professional Association of Diving Instructors

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"PADI" redirects here. For other uses, see Padi.
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
Region served
Membership over 130,000 dive professional, 6000 Dive Centers and Resorts
Leader Drew Richardson
Parent organization
PADI Worldwide Corp.[1]
Affiliations DSAT
Project AWARE
Emergency First Response
Current Publishing

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is the world's largest[2] recreational diving membership and diver training organization founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson.[2] Cronin was originally a NAUI instructor who decided to form his own organization with Erickson, and to break diver training down into several modular courses instead of the single universal course then prevalent.[3]

PADI courses range from minimal entry level to relatively advanced recreational diver certification, several specialized diving skills courses, usually connected with specific equipment or conditions, some diving related informational courses and a range of recreational diving instructor certifications. Under the PADI TecRec brand, they also offer various technical diving courses. 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. Each module is a stand-alone course for which certification is provided to the successful participant. Theory is mainly conveyed by way of self-study using books, computer based training using CD-ROM or online learning.[4] All study options are supplemented with video to help the participant 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.[5][6]


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 diving skills certifications:[citation needed]

Recreational Specialty courses[edit]

Examples of PADI specialty courses include:[citation needed]

"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.[citation needed] 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,[citation needed] some of which are included as part of a standard diving skills course by other organizations. 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.")[9][dead link]

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.[10]

Open circuit scuba[edit]
  • Discover Tec
  • Tec 40 (pre-requisite - Advanced Open water Diver, Deep Diver, Enriched Air Diver)[11]
  • 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)[12]
  • Tec 60 CCR
  • Tec 100 CCR
  • Tec CCR Qualifier
  • Tec CCR Refresher
  • Tec Gas Blender speciality
  • Tec Sidemount speciality
Professional certifications[edit]

[citation needed]

  • Tec Gas Blender Instructor (pre-requisite - Open Water Scuba Instructor)
  • Tec Instructor (pre-requisite - Master Scuba Diver Trainer)
  • Tec Deep Instructor (pre-requisite - Master Scuba Diver Trainer)
  • Tec Sidemount Instructor
  • Tec Trimix Instructor

Workplace programs[edit]

PADI offers a speciality program called Public Safety Diver for divers who are either employed in or serve as volunteers in the public safety diving sector principally within the United States.[13]

First aid programs[edit]

PADI via its subsidiary, Emergency First Response, Corp, distributes the following programs in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid for both divers and non-divers:[14]

  • Primary Care (CPR)
  • Secondary Care (First Aid)
  • Care for Children
  • Region-specific workplaces courses for countries including Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States.[15][16]

Contributions, Accreditations, Recognitions & Affiliations[edit]

PADI courses are recognized, recommended and cited by a variety of institutions and organizations throughout the world for both recreational diving and vocational training.

The United States[edit]

PADI is the only recreational scuba diving organization whose courses are eligible for the American Council on Education (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT). As of May 2014, 20 PADI courses are recommended for college credit by ACE.[17]

PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Examination fees qualify for reimbursement for veterans and military personnel under the GI Bill. Veterans can earn up to $575.00 for the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Examination.[18]

Since 2009, PADI and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have maintained a mutual support partnership.[19] PADI is the only scuba training organization with this formal relationship with BSA.[citation needed] The BSA’s Florida National High Adventure Sea Base has a twenty year partnership with PADI, citing PADI’s leadership in developing the Snorkel BSA Award, Scuba BSA Award, and the Scuba merit badge.[20] The Sea Base exclusively offers PADI certifications.[21] The PADI Dive to Adventure Scholarship Program for the BSA provides training materials and/or course fees for various levels of scuba training for up to 100 scouts each year.[22] When adding up these 25 annual scholarships, the value is $23,350.

PADI is a member of the United States Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC).[23]

Other countries[edit]

In Canada, PADI is the exclusive sponsor of the Scouts Canada Scuba Program.[24]

Recognitions and equivalencies has been established between PADI and Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques,[25] the Colombian Navy,[26] the Chinese Underwater Association,[27] and Fédération Française d'Études et de Sports Sous-Marins (FFESSM).[28] PADI is also a registered training organisation in Australia.[16] As of 2012, PADI rescue diver and divemaster programs are included on the United Kingdom's Health and Safety Executive list of approved diving qualifications.[29]

Those PADI courses aligning with standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for ‘Recreational diving services’ were audited by the European Underwater Federation (EUF) Certification Body in 2004 and 2009, and were certified at both times as complying with these standards.[30]

PADI is a member of the following member councils of the World Recreational Scuba Training Council - the RSTC Canada, the RSTC Europe and the C-Card Council (Japan).[23][31][32][33]

Acclaim cited in professional literature[edit]

PADI’s instructional methodology is cited in EDUCAUSE’s 2012 book, Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies regarding badges as “a symbol or indicator of an accomplishment, skill, quality, or interest. From the Boy and Girl Scouts to PADI diving instruction, to the more recently popular geolocation game Foursquare, badges have been successfully used to set goals, motivate behaviors, represent achievements, and communicate success in many contexts.” [34]

PADI’s environmental emphasis is cited in the 2007 book, New Frontiers in Marine Tourism, in its section, Dive Tourism, Sustainable Tourism and Social Responsibility: A Growing Agenda - Environmental management and education: the case of PADI, (Chapter Seven). “PADI, as well as other diver certification organisations and individual businesses, has put significant resources into conservation and developed public awareness programmes”.[35]

New Frontiers in Marine Tourism also cites in the section entitled Student Scholarships and Social Responsibility: A Growing Agenda for PADI, that “The PADI Scholarship programme … is a good example of the way that various disparate parts of an industry, each with limited resources, can pool their efforts to help more people from developing countries to enter the diving profession… PADI recognises that good relations with the involvement of local people is essential both to business development and to environmental protection. The scholarship scheme makes entry into the dive business more possible for some students who have the backing of their dive centre.”[35]


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;[36] and that it "profiteers" from demand for diver training.[37]

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.[38] 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.[39]

PADI has been referred to facetiously as a mnemonic for 'Put Another Dollar In'.[40]

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.[citation needed]

Affiliate companies[edit]

  • Emergency First Response provides CPR and First Aid training both for the lay person and in the workplace.[41]
  • Current Publishing Corporation develops marine science programs for high school and upper level educational facilities.[42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Company Overview of PADI Worldwide Corp.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b DAN News (2003-07-17). "PADI CEO & Co-Founder John Cronin Dies at Age 74". Divers Alert Network. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  3. ^ Tillman, Tom. "The history of PADI". Scuba America Historical Foundation. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  4. ^ PADI. "PADI eLearning". Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Staff. "National Geographic Diver Certification from PADI". PADI. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Richardson, D; Menduno, M; Shreeves, K. (eds). (1996). "Proceedings of Rebreather Forum 2.0.". Diving Science and Technology Workshop.: 286. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  9. ^ "Specialty Courses". Ocean Divers. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  10. ^ "PADI TecRec". Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Tec 40 Course". Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  12. ^ "Tec 40 CCR Diver". Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Retrieved 10 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "Public Safety Diver". Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "Emergency First Response, Course links". Emergency First Response, Corp. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Emergency First Response Workplace Courses". Emergency First Response, Corp. Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Organisation details: 6729 - PADI Asia Pacific Pty Ltd". Retrieved 25 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "PADI International, Inc.". American Council on Education. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  18. ^ “Click on the 3rd link on the page 'To look for currently approved tests, click here', then type” PADI”, choose “certification” and click “CA” on the map. |url= missing title (help). 
  19. ^ "Boy Scouts of America". 
  20. ^ "PADI and Boy Scouts 20 Year Partnership". 
  21. ^ "Scuba Certification". Boy Scouts of America - Florida Sea Base. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  22. ^ "PADI Dive to Adventure Scholarship Program". Boy Scouts of America. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "United States Agencies". WRSTC. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  24. ^ "Scouts Canada Scuba Program". Scouts Canada. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  25. ^ "C.M.A.S. / PADI Agreement". Norges Dykkeforbund. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  26. ^ "Graduation of the first divers in the Navy "Barranquilla" NCO School ARC". Colombia National Navy. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  27. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. ^ Staff (25/11 /2013). "Passerelles FFESSM/PADI". Brevets et qualifications (in French). FFESSM. pp. 1 – 13. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  29. ^ "Diving at Work Regulations 1997 List of Approved Diving Qualifications dated 22nd October 2012". HSE. pp. 4 & 24. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  30. ^ "EUF Training systems for Recreational Scuba Divers - certificate holder Professional Association of Diving Instructors, null, US CA 92688 Rancho Santa Margarita". Austrian Standards plus GmbH. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  31. ^ "Canadian Agencies". WRSTC. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  32. ^ "European Agencies". WRSTC. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  33. ^ "Japan Agencies". WRSTC. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  34. ^ Oblinger, Diana. Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies. EDUCAUSE (April 26, 2012). p. 279. ISBN 978-1933046006. 
  35. ^ a b Garrod, Brian. New Frontiers in Marine Tourism. Routledge (October 18, 2007). ISBN 978-0080453576. 
  36. ^ "Unsafe at any Depth: PADI Scuba Diver". CDNN. Retrieved 2009-04-16. ; "Find out how divers do it". Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  37. ^ "Scuba diving". Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  38. ^ 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. 
  39. ^ "ANSI Accredited Standards Developers listing" (pdf). American National Standards Institute. p. 150. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  40. ^ "PADI: put another dollar in?". Dive Herald. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  41. ^ "Emergency First Response". PADI. 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  42. ^ "Current Publishing". Current Publishing Corp. 2006. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  43. ^ 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]