Diving Associations

Diving Associations

The bigger the choice, the bigger the fish

There are various diving associations where you can register and get your identification as a diver. The decision with which association you want to do your diving course is up to you. But honestly, in the end it remains the least important decision of all.

You can easily have a 1* CMAS certification and obtain your AOWD certificate at SSI and then do your Search&Rescue Diver at ProRecTec and finally have a Dive Leader certification at PADI. As you might already notice, in the end it is all the same.

Thus, it can be very difficult for a layman to find out which organization is the right one for him or her.

Each diving association has different names and levels for their courses. Also the contents of the courses can differ considerably. Yet, the organizations basically only employ different ways to achieve the same goal. The choice of the right instructor is therefore much more important than the choice of the diving association.

The so-called EU standards offer a small support and reference for this choice.

Äquivalenzliste der Tauch-Verbände
European Standards PADI SSI CMAS ProRec i.a.c.
EN 14153-1 Scuba Diver Passport Diver Basic Diver Basic Diver Scuba Diver
EN 14153-2 Open Water Diver Open Water Diver CMAS 1* ProRec 1* Open Water Diver
Adventure Diver Speciality Diver
Advanced Open Water Diver Advanced Open Water Diver CMAS 2* ProRec 2* Advanced Open Water Diver
Speciality Diver Master Diver
Rescue Diver
EN 14153-3 Dive Master Dive Control Speciallist CMAS 3* ProRec 3* Master Diver

If you consider now that each note costs one more time extra money… well, everybody has to know that for himself.

This table is intended as an orientation for designations and certifications.

I have chosen CMAS (Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques). At first, because it was offered to me. Now, however, CMAS turned out to be just the right association for me, because it is the most sportive and, in my opinion, conveys the most knowledge and thus trains you to dive more safely.

Even the navigation system in your car is not always reliable. Therefore, you should have a clear understanding of what a dive computer does – and does not do.

Moreover, CMAS is not profit oriented and free of shareholders who insist on their returns.

What you will hear again and again are sales stories that only certain diving associations are internationally recognized. These stories are mostly pure marketing strategy.

Statements like for example you would be required to do PADI or SSI Crossen, that is for example an equivalent AOWD, are only given to make money. Inform yourself! If you have concerns, write a short e-mail to the diving base and ask.

To be honest:

If you come to a dive center with an internationally recognized certification, they will let you dive. They won’t want to waive your money. You, as a beginner, will usually go into the water with a guide and they will assess where and how you can dive.