Introduction to Scuba Diving Training Agencies

There are numerous Diving Agencies competing in the market. In the UK, the most widely represented are listed below. Press on the logo to read more about each of the them. In the detail section, we have outlined the typical training program / hierarchy. The agencies have slightly different structures and content, as they may be more focused on the specific type of diving you are aiming at.


Important to note. In most cases you are not restricted to a single organisation. You can start with one organisation and decide at a later stage to change to a different agency and "cross-over" quite easily. An example from one of our instructors, he started with BSAC (Ocean Diver and Sports Diver), then crossed-over to PADI for his Divemaster and Instructor ratings and later continued his technical dive qualifcations with PSAI. Therefore it is important to remember, you are only restricted of what type of diving you want to do.

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CMAS Logo CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques) is one of the two leading umbrella organisation to which many of the other Diving Agencies subscribe to, especially club based organisation such as BSAC, VDST (German Divers Club) and others use the same rating structure.




More about CMAS

NAUI LogoNAUI is the National Association of Underwater Instructors. It is a non-profit organisation which was founded in 1959. It still has a strong academic link in the USA (i.e. offering training at Universities) and has a strong link to the media industry (such as Kevin Costner, Lloyd Bridges).


The program is very similar structured to commercial organisations and since 1997 it offers a technical dive program as well. In the UK, NAUI is not well represented, but if you are considering training on the American continent for your training, you may wish to investigate further.


Please visit the NAUI website for more information


Visit NAUI website

BSAC Logo with Neptune (Diving for Divers) BSAC is the British Sub-Aqua Club, the governing body for UK diving. BSAC is structured around a club structure with local branches all over the UK.


BSAC was established in 1953 as a club for divers by divers. The training is aimed clearly at diving safely in UK waters, which means able to deal with currents, colder waters and a lower degree of visibility.


More about BSAC

SSI LogoSSI (Scuba Schools International) was founded in 1970 with the aim of offering a clear learning progression ladder. The concept developed by SSI have copied and amended by many of the other training agencies.


SSI has a well established recreational program with over 30 different specialities. SSI offers technical courses under their XR (Extended Range) program.


Globally, there are over 2,500 registered SSI dive resorts and in the UK there are about a dozen registered SSI training centres. As Scuba Schools International is not well presented in the UK, please visit the SSI website if you wish to find out more.



Visit SSI website

PADI LogoThe Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) was founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erikson with the aim of offering Scuba Diving training in the USA. It is worldwide the largest and most recognised SCUBA diving brand with over 130,000 members in 183 countries and over 5,300 Dive Centres. The training is highly standardised and is recognised worldwide.


More about PADI

PSAI Logo The Professional Scuba Association International (PSAI) is one of the leading technical diving agencies in the world. It was founded by Hal Watts (as something to get into) and the focus has always been to develop program for the technical diver.


PSAI offers an extensive Sport Diver Program aimed at the recreational market. The progression is designed around personal interest and capabilities, rather than a structured ladder.


In the UK, the majority of Rebreather Instructors,as well as, Technical Diving Instructors offer the PSAI program.





More about PSAI

SDI TDI LogoScuba Diving International (SDI) is the recreational arm of TDI (Technical Diving International) and was founded in 1999, therefore a lot of their training has a strong "technical" background.


TDI is better known for its ERDi (Emergeny Response Diving), which trains fire and police divers.


More about TDI/SDI
DSAT Tec/Rec

DSAT TecRec LogoTo ensure balance, it is important to mention DSAT. DSAT is the technical arm of PADI, their TecRec courses are aimed at offering training beyond the recreational limit (i.e. more than 40m depth).


Similar to the recreational program, DSAT TecRec is split into small modular training session, aiming to extend your capability in small controlled steps.The training starts with using technical equipment to the recreational limit (i.e. 40m) and then extendeding the depth. PADI / DSAT now also offer Rebreather training in their progression ladder, which is aligned to the recreational limits (18m, 30m and 40m).


To learn more about TecRec, please visit the PADI website, a direct link to DSAT TecRec is below.


Visit DSAT website