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Learn to dive

Recreational scuba diving does not have a centralized certifying or regulatory agency, and is mostly self-regulated. There are, however, several large diving organizations that train and certify divers and dive instructors, and many diving related sales and rental outlets require proof of diver certification from one of these organizations prior to selling or renting certain diving products or services.


The largest international certification agencies that are currently recognized by most diving outlets for diver certification include:

  • Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)—based in the U.S., largest recreational dive training and certification organization in the world
  • Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS), the World Underwater Federation
  • American Canadian Underwater Certifications (ACUC) (formerly Association of Canadian Underwater Councils)—originated in Canada in 1969 and expanded internationally in 1984—certifications recognized worldwide.
  • British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC)—based in the United Kingdom, mostly for UK divers and clubs
  • European Committee of Professional Diving Instructors (CEDIP) based in Europe since 1992 but international certifications are recognized all over the world.
  • Scuba Schools International (SSI)—based in the U.S.
  • National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI)—based in the U.S.
  • Professional Diving Instructors Corporation (PDIC)—based in the U.S.
  • International Training SDI, TDI & ERDi
  • YMCA scuba—based in the U.S., part of Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a Christian related organization (open to all faiths, ages and genders despite the historic name)


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