The little mermaid wanted nothing more than to become human, but for us lifelong landlubbers, the idea of breathing underwater is equally alluring—and challenging. This guide shows you where to get certification, find a place to dive, get the best deals on equipment and connect with the scuba diving community.
There’s a lot to know about diving, and following the rules can sometimes mean the difference between a fun afternoon and debilitating illness. The following certification organizations provide courses for divers of all types and ability levels.
- Many diving vacation packages include a certification program as part of their service. Check the “Where to Scuba Dive” section of this guide for resorts and diving companies that certify you on location.
- If you know which organization you want to study with, use its Web site to find a center near you. If you’re ambivalent, you might want to try one of the directories that locates all schools in your area
- The organizations below not only provide certification courses for first-time divers, but also offer teacher certification programs.
For certification organizations …
The National Association of Underwater Instructors
(NAUI), the world’s second largest training organization, also certifies all levels of divers, but with a more educational and safety-oriented bent. Each certification is equally respected but you’ll find PADI programs at more resorts and vacation destinations. Use the site’s search function to locate a diving trainer
Scuba Schools International
(SSI) is the third major organization for recreational diver certification. The “Begin diving
” page provides a good introduction to diving that answers your basic questions about what it means to become a diver. Learn about SSI’s various programs and diver services, and find a school in your area.
For finding places to study …
Scuba Diving Planet
offers a directory that lists schools alphabetically, in any country of your choice. If you’re looking to get certified near your home, you might use a more specific directory from one of the organizations above. However, if you’re interested in getting certified while on vacation in the Cayman Islands, for example, you might try this tool to explore all your options.
is a diving location in the Florida Keys that not only offers recreational dive charters, but a variety of certification and instructor training courses as well. If you’re interested in going away for your training and education, consider this school, which is strongly affiliated with PADI. It’s a good example of an organization that will train you while you’re on vacation.
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