Posted by TDI_2 on May 15, 2002 at 10:58:41:
In Reply to: SSI certification posted by Beach Diver on May 14, 2002 at 16:21:23:
YMCA and NAUI and SSI seem to invest more time and training into the OW1 class [Open Water Basic #1] than PADI does, in my opinion, to give an honest answer to your question.
So if youre in a hurry to get your C-Card, or if your diving resort is specifically a PADI resort, and you want to do the classes here in California and then the dives at the resort, then PADI is probably your best bet.
If you go with PADI for basic certification, you should also plan to take their Advanced Open Water class as well, without delay. The best classes that PADI offers are their rescue class and their dive master class, but that is probably not in your immediate goals.
SSI is somewhat unique in that they also still have the EBA exercise in their OW1 classes, which most other agencies have dispelled with. EBA stands for the Emergency Bouyant Ascent. The other agencies normally only teach and drill the CESA, which stands for the Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent.
I personally would never execute an EBA. But I can imagine a beginner diver in a wetsuit overweighted and going too deep, when an EBA might be his/her only way back to the real world. That road would probably lead through the recompression chamber as well, in the case of an actual EBA.
In choosing a dive agency, you might be better off to first choose a good dive store in your neighborhood or at your favorite dive site. Preferably one that has a lot of drysuits and wetsuits in stock and on the shelves, and a lot of different kinds of masks and fins for sale. That makes it easier to try them on and to get the right fit.
If youre going to dive in a wetsuit, it needs to fit perfectly with no leaks or gaps. If you are going to dive in a drysuit, you need to special order it, if you want a perfect fit, perfect sized boots, sleeve lengths, body size, etc. A store with a great demo or shelf stock is very nice to buy from or order through since you get to see whats out there.
Overall, I think the store is more important than the certifying agency. And like the SSI instructors have said here in reply, the diving instructor is the most crucial part of the equation. Many SSI instructors started out in PADI and moved on, because they wanted something more.
I am not an SSI instructor, so dont get me wrong. I am describing the SSI instructors whom I know, who are friends of mine.
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