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Abyss Scuba Diving
My Journey with SSI Diving: Exploring the Underwater World with Scuba Schools International
Scuba diving is a breathtaking and transformative experience that allows us to immerse ourselves in the underwater realm and marvel at its extraordinary ecosystems. Undertaking an open water course unlocks the gateway to endless opportunities for adventure, travel, and personal development. Scuba Schools International (SSI) is a leading scuba diving certification agency that offers a variety of courses for divers of all skill levels. Follow me as I transition from a PADI Open Water Diver to an SSI instructor! I'll explore the advantages of advanced scuba diving skills, essential dive gear must-haves, and how Scuba Schools International measures up against other certifying organizations like PADI and SDI.
My Journey with Scuba Diving and SSI
I undertook my padi open water course in Cains and became a proud PADI open water diver. However, upon my return to Sydney, I discovered that the local dive shop was an SSI center. As a result, I switched to SSI for my scuba diving training. As I continued to scuba dive, I expanded my skill set by completing my SSI Advanced Open Water certification and various specializations, including deep diving, underwater naturalist, underwater navigation, and rescue diver. My next goal was to achieve the Master Scuba Diver rating, which I ultimately accomplished. From there, I became a Dive Control Specialist (DiveCon) before finally achieving SSI instructor status.
When the only SSI dive shop in Sydney switched to PADI, I had no choice but to follow suit. The transition back was both time-consuming and costly at my instructor level. In hindsight, it would have been wiser for me to initially complete my Divemaster and Instructor training under PADI due to its limited number of SSI dive centres in Sydney. Though arduous, this process granted me invaluable knowledge of scuba diving education and various teaching philosophies and methods that I will always cherish!
Benefits of Being a Qualified Scuba Diver
Becoming an experienced and more highly trained scuba diver opens up a world of possibilities. Advanced training allows you to safely explore more challenging dive sites, learn specialized skills, and gain a deeper understanding of diving theory and practice. Some benefits of being an experienced scuba diver include the following:
- Access to more challenging and rewarding dive sites
- For the safety of every diver, setting Rescue Diver qualification as their minimum goal is highly recommended.
- Greater confidence and comfort underwater
- Opportunities for leadership roles, such as divemaster or instructor
I would recommend all divers strive to obtain the following training if they wish to maximize their safety, fun, and enjoyment:
- Advanced open water course, to help you find the best path to fulfil your interests and needs.
- Underwater Navigation Course, to build your confidence in the underwater world and at the same time add to your safety.
- Deep Diving, expands your horizons and allows you to explore more of the ocean.
- Wreck Diving gives you entry into a world like no other,
- Rescue Diver Course, to prepare you for whatever happens in the underwater world.
Essential Diving Gear for Underwater Exploration
A successful scuba diving experience requires the right equipment and appropriate diving gear. Some of the essential equipment includes:
- Scuba gear: This includes a buoyancy control device (BCD), which helps divers maintain neutral buoyancy; a regulator, which delivers air from the tank to the diver; and a tank, which stores compressed air for breathing underwater.
- Dive gear: Basic dive gear consists of a mask, snorkel, and fins, which allow divers to see underwater, breathe at the surface, and move efficiently through the water.
- Dive computers: These devices monitor important information such as depth, dive time, remaining air supply and nitrogen uptake, helping divers manage their dives safely and efficiently. A critical piece of diving equipment for deep diving.
Comparing SSI with PADI and SDI
Based on my personal experience, I can attest to the high-quality training provided by both SSI and PADI. While PADI is the largest and most recognized organization worldwide for recreational diving, SSI is also a respected agency in the diving community. There are some differences between the two organizations:
- Certification levels and course structure: PADI and SSI certification levels are quite comparable; however, the way their courses are structured may vary. Under PADI's system, course structures tend to be more standardised, while under SSI, there is greater freedom for instructors to adjust programs according to individual student needs. Nonetheless, I have some concerns about this latter approach as it can easily lead teachers into taking shortcuts which could end up detrimental for diving students.
- Teaching philosophies: PADI's teaching techniques centre around performance-based learning, permitting students to progress as they become adept at individual skills. Meanwhile, SSI has chosen a more all-encompassing route that focuses on forming confident and self-assured divers. Unfortunately, this approach gives subpar instructors greater freedom than I feel is appropriate.
- Size Does Count: One significant benefit of PADI is its size. PADI can allocate more resources to program development, so PADIs programs tend to be better than other agencies. Additionally, their larger size enables them to train PADI instructors to a higher standard, supported by an active quality management system.
Scuba Diving International (SDI) is a leading certification agency known for exceptional training of divers - from novices to experienced enthusiasts. SDI specialises in online coaching, with various remote learning options. Meanwhile, PADI and SSI offer online and traditional teaching methodologies, giving them broader appeal among learners.
My Experience with SSI in Australia
SSI certifications are widely accepted in Australia, a country known for its diverse and world-class diving destinations. My experience with SSI in Australia has been overwhelmingly positive, with dive operators recognizing and accepting my SSI qualifications without issue. Australian dive operators typically accept SSI certifications, allowing divers to rent equipment and scuba out, participate in guided dives, and continue their dive education with SSI courses. While SSI is a recognised diving agency, its size is comparatively smaller than PADI in Australia, limiting the amount of assistance instructors can get. As a consequence, seeking out an SSI dive centre may be a challenge at times.
My lifelong enthusiasm for diving has brought me to awe-inspiring places! In my three decades of experience, I have completed over 10,000 logged dives, from recreational to technical diving. Moreover, my expertise granted me recognition as a PADI Course Director, and since then, I have forged an incredible career in professional diving. My experience with SSI was both enjoyable and educational. However, I switched to PADI due to the limited number of SSI dive centers in Sydney. Then, I realised the error of my initial decision to go down the SSI path. If making a hobby or career out of diving is what you desire, the lack of SSI stores in Australia will severely limit your options. Nonetheless, no matter which organization you decide on, a world brimming with adventure and potential awaits! Make this journey yours and reap all its rewards.
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