I always believed that scuba certifications from the various mainline agencies were basically all the same, just depended on which agencies name you wanted on the card. That is, until today.
I just found out that the Master Scuba Diver certification from NAUI is nowhere near the same level of training and experience as the Master Scuba Diver certification from PADI.
To achieve the PADI certification you have to have Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, and 5 specialty diver certifications which take an additional 1 to 4 dives each to complete, and at least 50 logged dives.
For the NAUI Master Scuba Diver certification qualifications I looked it up on the NAUI website. Their course requirements are shown below, copied directly from their website:
“A minimum of eight open water dives is required. A maximum of three dives per day shall be applied toward course requirements. No more than one skin dive may count toward the eight dive minimum.
- Emergency procedures and rescue
- Deep/simulated decompression diving
- Limited visibility or night diving
- Underwater navigation
- Search and recovery – light salvage
- Skin diving
- Review of basic scuba skills
- Environmental study or survey
- Air consumption (practical application)
- Boat diving
- Shore diving
- Hunting and collecting
- Special interest
Prerequisites For Entering This Course
- Age – Minimum is 15 years.
- Diver Certification – NAUI advanced certification or the equivalent is required. The instructor is to ensure adequate student knowledge and capability before any open water training and shall use skill or other evaluations to do so.
- Equipment – Students shall furnish and be responsible for the care and maintenance of their own diving equipment. The instructor shall initially assist the student in checking all student gear to insure it is adequate and in proper working order.”
So in other words, if a NAUI Advanced Open Water Diver wants the MSD rating, he can do it in just 3 days time with only 8 more dives? Thats less than ¼ as many total dives when you add up all the various specialty class dives required by PADI.
That is a HUGE difference in diving experience between NAUI and PADI certification requirements for the Master Scuba Diver rating. I thought the PADI MSD rating was quick to get, I should have just gone for the NAUI one, I could have had it months before I earned the PADI one.
This will make me take a good hard look at the qualifications for all of the other “mainline” certification agencies out there before I choose to dive with someone from another agency again. Apparently their Rescue Diver certification only takes one dive to complete instead of three days and multiple dives.
I clearly see that all certifications are definitely NOT the same.
Today I attained the highest recreational level diver rating available from PADI, the Master Scuba Diver rating.
To receive the Master Scuba Diver rating you must be an Advanced Open Water Diver and Rescue Diver, have attained at least 5 PADI Specialties, and logged a minimum of 50 verifiable dives, all of which I completed tonight with my first ever night dives.
Diving at night is a whole different experience than diving in the daytime, especially for someone that is claustrophobic like I am. It was a challenge, but one that I was able to meet. I will begin working on my Night Diver Specialty soon as well as some other specialties.
I am also starting the Dive Master Candidate course to become a PADI Dive Master.This is the first step in moving from recreational diving over into professional diving, which is my next logical choice since I have now attained the highest level in the recreational side of diving.