In Recreational SCUBA Diving there are a number of organizations that provide courses and certifications. Certifications are required in the SCUBA industry to actively persue the sport. There are various levels of certifications and each level clears an individual diver to do different types of diving. Although you can get a very basic certification that allows you to SCUBA with a certified active instructor present, most people consider Basic Open Water certification to be the entry level certification.
With a Basic Open Water certification, the individual is cleared to go SCUBA diving with their dive buddy without supervision. This entry level certification does not include specialty diving such as deep diving, night diving or other more complicated diving such as ice diving, wreak penetration or cave diving. In order to perform those types of dives, the diver will need further advanced certifications and specialty courses.
Certification agencies include:
- SSI (SCUBA Schools International)
- PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors)
- NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors)
- PDEA (Professional Diving Educators Association)
- YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association)
- CMAS (Confederation Mondiale Des Activites Subaquatique)
- TDI (Technical Diving International)
- SDI (SCUBA Diving International)
- ERDI (Emergency Response Diving International)
- ACUC (Association of Canadian Underwater Councils)
A more exaustive list of certification agencies including technical diving agencies can be found at Deep Diversions