Recreational Sport Diver Equivalences from Dive Training Agencies, PADI, SSI and SDI
by Lauren Kieren:
Have you ever found yourself wondering if an SDI course is equal (or equivalent) to courses offered by other dive training organizations?
Maybe you were asked to show verification of an “advanced diver” rating but you are unsure if your certification matches what the dive center is looking for.
If these situations sound familiar, this blog post is for you!
While each dive training organization strives to produce great divers, sometimes we use different terminology to say the same thing. Understanding equivalent ratings will allow you to see where your certification lines up with other organizations. In addition, it will allow you to know if you meet the prerequisites for a course if you hold a certification with one dive training organization then take a subsequent course with another.
Recently, we have received an influx of calls and e-mails requesting confirmation on equivalent ratings offered by multiple organizations. As a result, we put together an equivalency table of ratings offered by three agencies listed within the WRSTC: SDI (Scuba Diving International), SSI (Scuba Schools International), and PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors).
At the top of the chart you will find each dive training organization, and the certifications for that organization below it. You can quickly cross-reference a rating between dive training organizations; in the event a certification listed is not equivalent to the other organizations, the field will simply list “not applicable.”
Compare Diver Courses with this Equivalency Chart (PADI, SDI, SSI)
|Skin Diver||Snorkeler||Snorkel Diver|
|Discover Scuba Diver||Scuba Discovery||TRY SCUBA DIVING|
|Bubble Maker||Future Buddies||Scuba Rangers|
|ReActivate™ – Scuba Refresher||Inactive Diver / Refresher||Scuba Skills Update|
|Not Applicable||Shallow Water Diver||Not Applicable|
|Not Applicable||Supervised Diver||Not Applicable|
|Scuba Diver||Not Applicable||Scuba Diver|
|Open Water Diver||Open Water Scuba Diver||Open Water Diver|
|Not Applicable||Advanced Diver||Advanced Open Water Diver|
|Rescue Diver||Rescue Diver||Diver Stress & Rescue|
|Master Diver||Master Diver||Master Diver|
|Not Applicable||Scubility Diver||Classified Diver|
|Advanced Open Water Diver||Advanced Adventure Diver||Advanced Adventurer|
|Peak Performance Buoyancy||Advanced Buoyancy Control||Perfect Buoyancy|
|Altitude Diver||Altitude Diver||Altitude Diving|
|Aware – Fish Identification||Marine Ecosystems Awareness Diver||Not Applicable|
|Aware – Coral Reef Conservation Diver||Marine Ecosystems Awareness Diver||Not Applicable|
|Boat Diver||Boat Diver||Boat Diving|
|Cavern Diver||TDI Cavern Diver||Extended Range (XR) Cavern Diving|
|Multilevel Diver||Computer Diver||Not Applicable|
|Enriched Air Diver||Computer Nitrox Diver||Enriched Air Nitrox Diver|
|EFR CPR & AED||CPROX 1st AED||REACT RIGHT|
|Deep Diver||Deep Diver||Deep Diving|
|Diver Propulsion Vehicle Diver||Diver Propulsion Vehicle||Not Applicable|
|Discover Rebreather||TDI Rebreather Discovery||Not Applicable|
|Drift Diver||Drift Diver||Not Applicable|
|Dry Suit Diver||Dry Suit Diver||Dry Suit Diving|
|Equipment Specialist||Equipment Specialist||Equipment Techniques|
|Not Applicable||Full Face Mask Diver||FFM|
|Ice Diver||Ice Diver||Ice Diver|
|Project AWARE® Specialist||Marine Ecosystems Awareness Diver||Ecology|
|Night Diver||Night/Limited Visibility Diver||Night & Limited Visibility|
|Not Applicable||Research Diver||Not Applicable|
|Search and Recovery Diver||Search and Recovery Diver||Search & Recovery|
|Not Applicable||Shore/Beach Diver||Waves, Tides, & Current|
|Sidemount Diver||Sidemount Diver||Recreational Sidemount Diving|
|Self Reliant Diver||Solo Diver||Independent Diver|
|Rebreather Diver||Not Applicable||Rebreather Diver|
|Not Applicable||UW Hunter and Collector||Not Applicable|
|Underwater Nagivator||UW Navigation Diver||Navigation|
|Digital Underwater Photography||UW Photographer||Underwater Photography|
|Underwater Videographer||UW Videographer||Not Applicable|
|Not Applicable||Visual Inspection Procedures||Not Applicable|
|Wreck Diver||Wreck Diver||Wreck Diver|
|Distinctive Specialties||Unique Specialties||Additional Specialties|
|Aware – Shark Conservation Diver||Shark Diver||Shark Diver|
|Invasive Lionfish Tracker||Lionfish Eradification Diver||Not Applicable|
|Sea Turtle Awareness||Turtle Awareness Diver||Not Applicable|
|Whale Shark Awareness||Not Applicable||Not Applicable|
|PADI Free Diver||Not Applicable||Basic Free Diver|
|Not Applicable||Goliath Grouper Awareness Diver||Not Applicable|
|Not Applicable||SDI Fill Station Operator||Not Applicable|
|Not Applicable||Heritage Awareness Diver||Not Applicable|
|Not Applicable||Kayak Diver||Not Applicable|
|Not Applicable||Manatee Awareness Diver||Not Applicable|
|Not Applicable||River Diver||River Diver|
It is recommended to all SDI, TDI, and ERDI instructors that they verify new students can demonstrate skills required in previous courses. As a result, if you are enrolling in an SDI, TDI, or ERDI course and coming from another organization you may be required to do a check-out dive with your instructor to verify that your skills and knowledgebase line up appropriately for the course, prior to commencement of training. We also recommend divers take a refresher course after a period of not diving, this period, while not a hard and fast rule, is about a year. This simply means that even though you hold a certification it is always a good idea to go on a dive with a professional and refresh your knowledge and skills.
All information is current at the time of publication. Over time, as organizations update their standards and create new courses, the information in this table may become outdated and is subject to change without any given notice. With that said, please do not copy or take screen captures of this table, as it may not be accurate in the future.
Regardless of the dive training organization you choose, we hope you have a wonderful dive experience and continue advancing your dive education in the future.
For a list of courses offered by SDI, including their Standards, click here! Also, if you are looking for your nearest SDI Dive Center, check out the SDI Dive Center Locater.
If you do not see your dive training organization on this list and you are curious if it’s equivalent to an SDI, TDI, or ERDI rating, let us know! Simply write a message to the training department (email@example.com) and we will be happy to help.
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