Scuba Schools International

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Scuba Schools International
SSI Scuba Schools International
HeadquartersFort Collins, Colorado, United States
Region served
Parent organization

Scuba Schools International (SSI) is an organization that teaches the skills involved in scuba diving and freediving, and supports dive businesses and resorts. SSI has over 2,500 authorized dealers, 35 regional centers, and offices all over the world.[citation needed]


SSI was founded by Robert Clark in 1970, and was one of the pioneers of professional scuba training. They were the first organization to present a complete training program including full motion video and they pioneered some areas of diving education.[clarification needed][1] SSI headquarters are in Fort Collins, Colorado, and it is owned by Concept Systems International, Inc. In 2008, it was acquired by Doug McNeese (owner of NASDS (USA) until the merger with SSI in 1999) and Robert Stoss (manager of Scubapro and Seemann Sub). On January 1, 2014, SSI was acquired by MARES, a diving equipment brand in turn owned by HEAD NV, for €4.9m.[2][3]


SSI offers internationally recognized recreational diver training programs - starting with snorkeling and entry level scuba diving courses up to Instructor Certifiers. The most common programs are: SSI Open Water Diver (OWD), Advanced Open Water Diver (AOWD). There are more than 30 different specialty courses. Dive leader training programs start with the Dive Control Specialist (who is qualified like Assistant Instructor) followed by Open Water Instructor and above.[citation needed] SSI's training program for children aged 8–12 years is called Scuba Rangers.[citation needed] The training program for technical divers is called TechXR (Technical Extended Range) and includes decompression diving, trimix and other courses that exceed the limit for recreational divers.[citation needed]

SSI scuba certifications are recognized throughout the world (such as RSTC - Recreational Scuba Training Council, EUF - European Underwater Federation, CUA - China Underwater Association and others).[citation needed]

The main difference to other dive training organizations is that SSI instructors are only allowed to teach at SSI Dive Centers or SSI accredited dive clubs that adopt a franchise-like concept.[4]

SSI is a member of the following councils of the World Recreational Scuba Training Council - the United States RSTC, the RSTC Europe and C-Card Council (Japan).[5][6][7] It is also a member of the European Underwater Federation.[8] SSI obtained CEN certification from the EUF certification body in 2005.[9] It received ISO certification on June 1, 2010.


SSI education system

Non-certification programs[edit]

  • Try Scuba Diving

Freediving programs[edit]

  • Try Freediving
  • Basic Freediving
  • Freediving Level 1 & Pool
  • Freediving Level 2
  • Freediving Level 3
  • Freediving Specialty Programs such as:
    • No-Fins Freediving
    • Monofin Freediving
    • Free Immersion
    • Training Tables[10]

Recreational diving certifications[edit]

Recreational specialty programs[edit]

  • Altitude diver - planning, procedures and equipment for diving at altitudes above 300 metres (1,000 ft) with reference to the modified decompression procedures required.[11]
  • Boat diving - boat diving techniques, choosing a travel agency and diving operator and what equipment to take when travelling.[12]
  • Deep diving - planning and conducting recreational dives below 18 metres (59 ft)[12]
  • Underwater photography - introduction to underwater photography, using a digital camera system, composition and editing of underwater photos[12]
  • Diver stress and rescue - how to avoid, recognize and deal with problems on the surface and underwater.[12]
  • Dry suit diving - advantages of dry suit diving, types of suits, valves, underwear and accessories, dry suit diving techniques and suit maintenance[12]
  • EAN Nitrox - planning dives with Nitrox and using Nitrox safely, including analyzing the mix before use.[12]
  • Equipment techniques - choice of diving equipment to suit needs, and how to fit, adjust, maintain and make minor repairs to equipment.[12]
  • Navigation - using a compass and using environmental clues, how to estimate distances, navigate search patterns, find waypoints, and return to the exit point.[12]
  • Night and limited visibility - comparison of night and limited visibility diving, preparing for the dive, and the appropriate equipment and procedures.[12]
  • Perfect buoyancy - understanding the principles of buoyancy control and applying them in the water to reduce diver impact on the environment.[12]
  • Recreational sidemount diving - background, history, benefits and equipment of sidemount diving and how to configure the equipment and manage it in the water.[12]
  • River diving - peculiarities of diving in rivers, identifying and assessing hazards an how to manage river diving equipment.[12]
  • Science of diving - physics, physiology, decompression theory, marine life and diving equipment.[12]
  • Search and recovery - various search patterns using ropes and compasses, planning of search and recovery operations in a team, and the correct handling of lifting bags.[12]
  • Shark ecology - biology, ecology and identification of sharks, and procedures for diving with sharks.[12]
  • Waves, tides and currents - basics concepts of waves, tides and currents, and suitable equipment and procedures for diving in them from the shore and from boats.[12]
  • Wreck diving - how to get information on wrecks, to locate them, to prepare for a wreck dive, use appropriate wreck diving techniques, and identify and avoid hazards while diving on wrecks.[12]

Professional diving certifications[edit]

  • Dive Guide (DG)
  • Divemaster (DM = DG + Science of Diving)[clarification needed]
  • Snorkel Instructor
  • Dive Control Specialist (DCS = DM + Snorkel instr. + Diving assistant instr.)
  • Training Specialist (TS = DCS + limited specialties instructor)
  • Open Water Instructor (OWI)
  • Classified Open Water Instructor
  • Specialty Instructor (SI = OWI + 2 specialties instr.)
  • Advanced Open Water Instructor (AOWI = OWI + 4 specialties)
  • Divemaster Instructor (DMI = AOWI + online exam)
  • Dive Control Specialist Instructor
  • Master Instructor
  • Instructor Trainer
  • Instructor Certifier

Advanced diving certifications[edit]

Extended Range certifications[edit]

  • XR Nitrox Diver
  • XR Limited Trimix Diver
  • XR Advanced Wreck Diver
  • XR Cavern Diver

Technical Extended Range certifications[edit]

  • XR Technical Extended Range Diver
  • XR Technical Extended Range Trimix Diver
  • XR Hypoxic Trimix Diver
  • XR Technical Wreck Diver
  • XR Cave Diver
  • XR Full Cave Diver
  • XR Gas Blender

Professional certifications[edit]

  • XR Nitrox Instructor
  • XR Extended Range Instructor
  • XR Cavern Diving Instructor
  • XR Advanced Wreck Diving Instructor
  • XR Technical Extended Range Instructor
  • XR Hypoxic Trimix Diving Instructor
  • XR Technical Wreck Diving Instructor
  • XR Cave Diving Instructor
  • XR Full Cave Diving Instructor
  • XR Gas Blender Instructor
  • XR Nitrox Instructor Trainer
  • XR Extended Range Instructor Trainer
  • XR Technical Extended Range Instructor Trainer
  • XR Hypoxic Trimix Instructor Trainer
  • XR International Training Director

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of SSI". Scuba America Historical Foundation. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
  2. ^ "Head 2014 annual accounts" (PDF).
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Es gibt so viele Tauchorganisationen. Welche ist die Beste?" (in German). Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  5. ^ "United States Agencies". WRSTC.
  6. ^ "European Agencies". WRSTC. Archived from the original on 17 June 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Japan Agencies". WRSTC. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Profit Distributing Members". European Underwater Federation. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  9. ^ "EUF Certified Training Systems/Training Organisations". EUF Certification International. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  10. ^ Krzywicki, Christian. "Freediving Program". SSI. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  11. ^ Staff. "SSI Specialty Course: Altitude Diving". Scuba Schools International. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Staff. "Specialty programs". Scuba Schools International. Retrieved 1 November 2016.

External links[edit]