Thanks BrianC for the MOST informative "agency" related post.

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Posted by Jason on August 20, 2001 at 15:24:30:

BrianC: Thanks for 'demistifying' agency standards.
Your post provides 'unbiased' and emotionaly 'detached' facts, and brings to light many things (at least for me).
Sorry for this long winded post, but here it goes:

This was of GREAT value to me, for many reasons, especially seeing and hearing MANY MANY 'PADI - bashers' on this forum.

For starters, I have been free diving for 18 years, starting from a young age (age of 15), including many many beach dives in Malibu, Zuma, Leo Carillo, and that general area.
I had always wanted to get into SCUBA diving (to stay under longer, see more, go deeper, etc), but for one reason or other (College, work, etc) was unable to do so, until last year (2000).
I finally made the time, and took the PADI oper water diver course. I signed up and my local 'Sports Chalet' (also greatly bashed). Our instructor, having many credentials/certifications (including Ventura county S&R, NAUI, YMCA, etc), and at the time, it meant very little to me.
The class was truly a BLAST, and VERY informative, and interesting. In the very first classroom session, the instructor made it clear that while he is willing to put 'extra' amount of time to work with each individual to ensure that they have the knowledge and the skill to become safe divers, he would NOT, under any circumstance 'pass' an individual, no matter HOW MUCH $$ they have paid.
This became clear when one student was told that she would not be allowed to do any open water dives, and that she would NOT be certified (she lacked some skills, and was unwilling to spend extra time to learn them.).
She got pi$$ed off, talking of her upcoming vacation in Tahiti, and her NEEDING to be certified by then, and that SHE HAS PAID her tuition. Nevertheless, she was 'dropped' from the class.

I have always felt 'comfortable', yet alert wheather free diving (many years) or on SCUBA (recent). However, over the past SEVERAL weeks/months of reading about how inferior and inadequate my training was (PADI / Sports Chalet), I started feeling VERY uneasy and 'paranoid'. Not a good thing, if you ask me.
While I don't think 'false confidence' is of any value (and can be downright dangerous), paranoia can have similar results.
I did not have any standards to compare my training to. All I heard was how BAD and WEAK, and INCAPABLE I was for having gone to Sports Chalet, and taken a PADI course....

I started to wonder, and decided to find as much as I can about "all that I've missed". Your post made short work of my research, since studying it, help me re-gain my comfort level.
Virtually our training (our instructor) was a SUPERSET of ALL 3 agencies. The instructor covered, demonstrated, and demanded just about EVERY ONE of the skills listed in the comparison. I no longer feel 'paranoid', and have a more clear picture of the 'standards', and realize all that all the jargon was for most part... well, 'uninformed babble'.

While I don't doubt that there are some instructors that will let people off easy (a bad thing), I know that there are MANY instructors that DO INDEED provide quality instruction, based on their 'cross-agency' skills and experience.
There is no substitute for experience, and one can become a better/safer diver by diving often, and within one's limitations, maintaining a positive attitude, and a healthy 'comfort level', as panick CAN KILL!

I also do believe that many on this board are quick to pass their uninformed opinions as 'known facts', and in general, on this message board, there seems to be very little 'diving' content, but LOTS of bashing and childish "My snorkle is bigger than yours" talk.

Again, sorry for my long 'babbling' post, and once more, thank you for your informative post.

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