Scuba diving is one of the greatest ways to explore the final frontier on earth. Oceans and fresh water bodies cover 75% of the earth, enticing people to brave the depths for exploration.
In the culture of scuba diving, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) provides training to help people safely engage in the amazing sport of scuba diving. So, what is PADI Scuba Diving Certification?
Scuba diving is diving underwater and swimming using additional air in either tanks or a hose to the surface. Some people do scuba diving because they love exploring, other people make a career out of various industries associated with scuba diving, including exploration, industrial work, scientific research and conservation, or tourism.
Although scuba diving is incredibly enjoyable, it also has a high amount of dangerous possibilities, including equipment malfunction, decompression illness, running out of air, getting stuck, or getting injured by wildlife or rock formations. With so many risks, you should seek to get training and certification from a scuba organization before going out in the deep blue sea.
And, if you are wanting to scuba dive with a resort, cruise ship, or dive shop, you have to get certification for each level of scuba you desire to do.
History of PADI
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, or PADI, was formed in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson. They formed it to change the way scuba divers were trained. Now, over 50 years later, PADI is the largest diver training program in the world (Divers Alert-Network).
PADI was different from other training organizations because they pioneered modular scuba certification; you didn’t have to prove you were an expert in order to get a certificate but could move up the ranks, getting certificates for each level. Because of that unique system, the PADI certification system has many levels as you will see below.
PADI Certification Levels
Besides the following levels, there are additional milestones, technical courses, and training that can all improve your ability to enjoy exploring and moving within the beautiful oceans of our earth.
Open Water Diver Certification
The true prerequisite for engaging in the world of scuba, the open water diver certificate shows that the holder of the certificate can be trusted to get themselves into the water safely, use their equipment efficiently, and avoid many pitfalls of inexperienced divers.
This certification is therefore incredibly basic but most advanced courses will require this as a prerequisite to further study and practice in the scuba diving world.
Advanced Open Water
This certification is designed to advance you from open water certification towards more expert levels. As such, it starts with basic open water dives, introduces the diver to some limited specialty scenarios, and teaches the student how to log their dives and develop their scuba diving capabilities.
This certification is designed for recreational divers, to enable them to get themselves and others in the party out of bad situations safely. It includes first aid treatment for yourself and for others, as well as limited diving rescue training.
The rescue driver training is not designed to give you full paramedic or lifeguarding training, but to empower you to perform self-rescue, manage stress in others, use emergency equipment well, and do limited in water rescuing for distressed and non-responsive divers.
Those who want to take the rescue diver certification training need to have done the open water, advanced open water, and emergency response training (CPR and first aid).
Specialty Scuba-Diving Certifications
This is where scuba diving gets interesting. There are specialty certifications for enclosed spaces, under the ice, caving, deep water diving, and more. To see the full list of specialty certifications, look at the PADI website.
From adventure dives to technical training, as you grow your scuba skills, scuba diving certifications verify that you are ready to perform them consistently and safely on your own.
Master Scuba-Diver Certificate
The end goal of any scuba diving certification, the master scuba diver certificate requires that you have passed open water, advanced open water, rescue driver, at least 5 specialty certificates and 50 or more logged dives.
And that’s just to start the course.
At this point, you will be trained and certified as someone who loves the ocean, loves exploring, and understands the dangers and wonders available through scuba diving.
Mostly outside the scope of this article, PADI offers certificates for trainers and dive leaders as well. These professional certificates are as varied as the consumer certificates.
Using Your Scuba Certificate
So, what do you do with a certificate once you have one?
The joy of PADI courses is the fact that the organization has over 4,600 diving locations and retail centers. This means that you will be able to sign up for an ever-increasing number of dives throughout the world as you journey towards becoming a master scuba diver.
Open Water Diving
The fundamentals of diving, and also the introduction to all things underwater. You start the certification course and then end in stable real-world environments of a lake or a swimming pool. With this certificate, you will be able to participate in scuba dives at many resorts and many cruise ships around the world.
While smaller in scope, opportunities for freshwater diving abound. Whether you are looking to go someplace exotic the cenotes in Mexico or find an unknown gem like the warm underground scuba diving at Homestead in Utah, there are many opportunities to use your certificate for freshwater scuba diving year round.
As mentioned above, one of the most interesting scuba diving experiences combines scuba diving with spelunking or cave exploring.
The level of skill required for this is high, but through a progressive series of courses, you may be able to log the hours, craft your skills, and partake in the exploration of the truly unknown places on planet earth.
Adventures in the Seas
Whether you are looking to swim in the shipwrecks of World War II, photograph exotic sea life, deep dive or explore the Great Barrier-Reef, your certifications will open up the world to you.
What is PADI scuba diving certification
It is a passport to the wonderous adventures of exploring much of our world. It is also the proof that you have engaged in one of the most exciting hobbies, and it is the path towards a professional life as a scuba diver, if you are willing to accept the mission.