Scuba Diving is a popular water sport activity and the best way to club fun and adventure of exploring the water world. To get a certification and move towards becoming a professional diver is to undergo a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) course which has a worldwide recognition.
In Goa, there are a number of PADI Schools which offer a wide range of PADI certification courses to help both the beginners and experienced Scuba divers.
Scuba Diving for beginners
If you are beginner, then the PADI Open Water Diver (OWD) course is ideally suited for you. This is a 4-day introductory programme that gives you Scuba certification and the license to dive anywhere in the world. If you have completed this course you can scuba dive without the assistance of an instructor and that too up to a depth of 18 meters. The course is designed in such a way that you will learn scuba diving within a short period as there are theory classes backed by 4 pool sessions and 4 open water dives.
If you have already attained the OWD certification then the scope is wide open to undertake a variety of advanced PADI courses in Goa which comprise of Advanced OWD, Rescue Diver, Deep Diver, Night Diver, Wreck Diver and many of these kinds.
What if you are a non-swimmer or want to learn scuba diving quickly? Yes, there is something on offer in Goa as Discover Scuba Diving caters to that need.
Just like PADI, there is a similar entry level 4-day course in Scuba Diving offered by SSI (Scuba Schools International) The SSI certified diving course permits you to dive anywhere in the world without the assistance of an instructor up to 18 meters.
The SSI Open Water Diver (OWD) course is divided into three parts:
- A classroom lecture is given to understand the basic principles of scuba diving. Actually, six sections of the Open Water Diver course is compiled in such a way that both theory and video references are provided for better understanding.
- The Confined Water Dives acquaint you with basic scuba skills as learners are asked to dive in swimming pools to improve underwater skills and handle the equipment better.
- Open Water Dives help you to improve your skills and allow you to test out four dives in the sea.
SSI Course allows you to learn how to use basic scuba gear. This includes a mask, snorkel, fins, regulator, buoyancy control device and a tank.
Difference (PADI & SSI)
It is clear that world over there are principally two Scuba Diving training agencies i.e PADI – Professional Association of Diving Instructors & SSI – Scuba Schools International. Both these standard agencies follow the framework of norms set by the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC). If weighed for differences between PADI and SSI trained divers, there’s nothing much that will significantly emerge between the two.
So what then is the difference between PADI and SSI? Both are credible agencies for Scuba training and certify divers to dive anywhere in the world.
However, micro observations do point out some differences.
- Teaching independently: While PADI Instructors can teach independently of a dive store, their SSI counterparts cannot teach as independent because the last named is the world’s largest store based training agency. This is so because SSI professionals must compulsorily be affiliated with a dive center while PADI remains the world’s largest scuba training agency.
- Flexibility in teaching: When it comes to flexibility in teaching methods adopted by both agencies, SSI seems to give instructors some leeway as far as how they teach their students. However, PADI courses are known to follow a rigid mode. SSI permits its instructors to lend a bit of personalised touch while dealing with the students or at times allow something extra to be added to the course teachings so as to allow students to benefit. In PADI this is not allowed and if attempted instructors are held back for “over-teaching”.
- PADI teaching is strict: When you undergo a PADI course, you are not allowed to move to the next level if you have trouble with one skill. This shows PADI runs their courses in a strict way. However, at SSI things are a bit different as the instructor allows the learner to continue the dive and move on and come back again when he or she feels confident next time. SSI allows their divers to learn at their own pace as it doesn’t matter much as long as all skill levels are completed by the end of the course, the agency will help you pass. Probably this is the main difference between PADI and SSI teaching methods.
- E-kit: The e-training material or kit is offered both by PADI and SSI, but for the former, you need to buy it from their center and is nontransferable as each user gets a unique Personal Identification Certification which the trainer uses to certify you at the end of the training. So no two persons can share the e-learning kit, irrespective of where you are in the world. The price for a PADI e-kit is varies between $148 to 200 USD. At SSI, you are allowed to either borrow or purchase your manuals and can create a profile as a SSI diver free of charge. Your dive center will send the digital kit you via the SSI online system and the price may vary depending on the course. But the e-kit is much cheaper and priced at around $50 USD.
- Certification Card: Both PADI and SSI present their students with a printed certification card at the end of the course. While SSI hands you the card straight after the end of the course, PADI directs the card right to you home address. Both, however, send you an e-mail certification.
List of five most popular Scuba Diving Courses
Following five courses are popular (these courses are PADI certified):
PADI Open Water Diving Course
Designed primarily for beginners this Open water diver course is totally an entry-level certification course that permits the learner to dive on his own or with his friend or a professional. The maximum depth allowed is pf 18 meters.
The certification course is a 4-day exercise conducted at a PADI 5-Star Dive Resort. The course fee is pegged at Rs 26,000 (including 18% GST). The day to day schedule is designed in such a way that you get a total understanding of the theory and practical part of the training. The opening day and the third day are confined to the classroom and pool training in the resort. You will be given a PADI Open Water manual based on which you shall view the opening three modules via a video and answer a questionnaire about each module. This shall be followed by 2-hr practice in the pool. The 2nd and 4th day will be completing the 4th and 5th module of the video and going to the actual dive site for executive the scuba diving in the actual sea. On completing the 4-day course you are deemed qualified as PADI Open Water Diver. This certification is valid for the rest of your life and permits you to dive anywhere in the world.
PADI Advanced Diver
The Advance diver course is nothing but a further improvement in your scuba diving skills under the supervision of your PADI Instructor. This course is programmed in such a way so as to help you attain the basic knowledge on at least five specific types of diving of which deep diving – depth of 30 meters- and Navigation dive are mandatory ones. This course is beneficial for those who want to dive at sites where there have been wrecks. Also ideal for digital underwater photography and deeper dives necessary to study the underwater eco-system. This course has a fee of Rs 20000 including 18% GST.
- First Response Course (Emergency): PADI Emergency First Response (EFR) is the certifying organization for various courses like Automated External Defibrillator (AED) use, and emergency oxygen administration meant for Primary and Secondary Care. The incumbent here will learn to tackle situations which face an emergency. That a person is certified in Primary Care (CPR and rescue breathing) and Secondary Care (First Aid) is very comforting not just for diving but also when situations arise in our daily lives. The situations involved might encounter adults, children, and also infants. As a diver, the EFR training will fulfill one of the major requirements for the PADI Emergency First Response course and also for other criteria to become a PADI Dive Master. This course will cost you Rs 7500 including 18% GST.
- PADI Rescue Diver: This is basically a 3-day course and as the name suggests it is all about how to engineer a rescue act when divers are in problem. As per participants who have progressed beyond the advanced diver course, this programme is the most satisfying as it involves in rescuing somebody in water. Theory and open water dive scenarios are part of this PADI course. In a nutshell, as a diver you might have to manage dive emergencies. The course is priced at Rs 20000.
- PADI Divemaster: This course makes you a ‘divemaster’ in real sense. It is at this level that you will be able to expand your dive knowledge and shape your skills to become a real professional. Your passion can be transformed into a profession where your personality will come to the fore as you promote your leadership abilities while you progress to a stage where you supervise dive activities and support instructors with student divers. The course period is 2 weeks. A costly affair, the fee is pegged at Rs 47,000 including GST.
How good to learn scuba diving in Goa compared to Andaman and other popular locations
Goa is supposed to be an ideal Scuba diving location, even if it does not rate as India’s diving capital. For first-timers, it’s a paradise to explore your diving skills as compared to other locations like Andaman which also boasts of beautiful waters.
However, when compared to other popular destinations there are genuine reasons as to why Goa is the most preferred location for Scuba Diving.
- Safe Waters: The most important aspect is that Goa’s sea is safer. Unlike Andaman, the Western coast of Goa has much calmer seas and devoid of underwater currents. That apart, there are no hidden surprises underwater and for a rookie diver reaching depths of around 12 to 13 meters is a big achievement.
- Cheaper Courses: Diving courses are reasonably priced in Goa and when compared to locations like Andaman, various PADI/SSI programmes are comparatively cheaper. Caution needs to be exercised while choosing the right training agency as unscrupulous trainers are waiting to loot you of your hard earned money. Avoid approaching local fishermen and divers.
- Goa a Diving Heaven: It will be unfair to compare the heavenly locations of Andamans or the barracuda of Malaysia with Goa. Though the underwater ambiance in Goa is nothing short of being heavenly, there are other locations out there which you wouldn’t want to venture into being a first-timer. Forget being a veteran either, scuba diving in mysterious underwater could be life-threatening.