Who are PADI and what does it stand for?

What is PADI and what does it mean?

This is a question we are frequently asked. PADI stands for the ‘Professional Association of Diving Instructors’.

PADI are the world’s largest diving membership and scuba diving training organisation. They were founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson. They decided to have a diver training course that allowed divers to get in the water as soon as safely possible and to break it down in to several modules.

PADI offer scuba courses from beginners to professional level. The PADI Open Water course is the world’s most recognised diving certification. By March 2017 over 25 million people had learn ’t to dive under the PADI centre.

There are over 6,300 PADI dive centres worldwide and there are over 136,000 members, most of whom are instructors and divemasters.

Certification Levels


  • PADI Seal Team (Age 8 and above)
  • PADI Bubble Maker (Age 8 and above)
  • Skin Diver (Snorkelling)
  • Junior Scuba Diver (Age 10 to 14)
  • Scuba Diver – subset of the PADI Open Water Diver course, must dive under the direct supervision of a PADI Professional
  • Junior Open Water Diver (Age 10 to 14)

Adults (aged 15+)

  • Open Water Diver
  • Adventure Diver – exposure to three elective scuba experiences
  • Advanced Open Water Diver – expanded scuba skills through “adventure” dive experience: a “deep” dive (18–30m), an underwater navigation dive and three electives from a large choice
  • Rescue Diver – Basic skills in stress management, self-rescue and buddy rescue for recreational diving.
  • Master Scuba Diver – recognition of selected set of certifications and experience: Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver, 5 elective specialties and 50 logged dives.

Recreational specialty courses


AWARE Coral Reef Conservation [23]

  • AWARE Fish Identification
  • Boat Diver – Boat terminology, boat diving procedures and etiquette, boat entries and exits, and basic boating safety.
  • Cavern Diver
  • Deep Diver – open water diving to maximum depth of 40 metres (130 ft)
  • Digital Underwater Photographer
  • Diver Propulsion Vehicle (underwater scooter)
  • Drift Diver
  • Dry Suit Diver – introduction to dry suit diving
  • Emergency Oxygen Provider Course
  • Enriched Air Diver – Recreational open circuit diving with Nitrox
  • Equipment Specialist – Routine care and maintenance procedures and scuba equipment storage. Basic repairs and adjustments.
  • Ice Diver
  • Multilevel Diver – plan and execute a multi-level dives.
  • National Geographic Diver
  • Night Diver – buoyancy control by feel, low light communication and buddy skills, entries, exits and navigation in the dark, and handling a dive light.
  • Peak Performance Buoyancy – trim correctly and maintain neutral buoyancy in mid-water.
  • Project AWARE
  • Search and Recovery
  • Rebreather (Semiclosed)
  • Advanced Rebreather
  • Self-Reliant Diver
  • Underwater Naturalist
  • Underwater Navigator – navigation using natural clues and by following compass headings
  • Underwater Photographer
  • Underwater Videographer
  • Wreck Diver
  • Professional certifications
  • Divemaster
  • Assistant Instructor
  • Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)
  • Specialty Instructor
  • Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT)
  • IDC Staff Instructor
  • Master Instructor
  • PADI Course Director
  • Technical diving

PADI have developed courses for those divers wishing to dive beyond 40 metres (130 feet), use stage decompression, dive in an overhead environment beyond 40 linear metres (130 linear feet), use accelerated decompression or use variable gas mixtures during a dive.


Open circuit scuba

  • Discover Tec (non-certification) – a short confined water experience that allows the diver to try out technical diving equipment under supervision.
  • Tec 40 – limited decompression dives to 40 metres (130 feet) using backmount or sidemount cylinders.
  • Tec 45 – diving using air or Nitrox to 45 metres (145 feet) with repetitive accelerated decompression dives using a single decompression cylinder using either backmount or sidemount.
  • Tec 50 – diving using air or Nitrox to 50 metres (165 feet) with accelerated decompression using up to two gases, using backmount or sidemount with up to two decompression cylinders.
  • Tec Trimix 65 – diving using trimix to maximum depth of 65 metres (210 feet) with accelerated decompression using two gases, using backmount or sidemount and two decompression cylinders.
  • Tec Trimix Diver – diving using trimix to 90 metres (300 feet) during training (no limit specified after training) using backmount or sidemount, and more than two cylinders with decompression gas


Closed circuit rebreather


  • Tec 40 CCR – no stop or limited decompression dives using a Type T CCR (PADI approved technical CCR) to a maximum depth of 40 metres (130 feet)[51]
  • Tec 60 CCR
  • Tec 100 CCR
  • Tec CCR Qualifier
  • Tec CCR Refresher



  • Tec Gas Blender speciality – blend nitrox and helium-blend breathing gases using one or more blending methods.[52]
  • Tec Sidemount speciality – dive with four sidemount cylinders.[53]
  • Professional certifications [54]


  • Tec Instructor
  • Tec Deep Instructor
  • Tec Gas Blender Instructor
  • Tec Trimix Instructor
  • Tec Sidemount Instructor
  • Tec 40 CCR Instructor
  • Tec 60 CCR Instructor
  • Tec 100 CCR Instructor
  • Freediving
  • PADI Basic Freediver
  • PADI Freediver
  • PADI Advanced Freediver
  • PADI Master Freediver

At Oyster Diving we offer a full range of PADI courses where local sites and conditions allow us. If you would like to learn to dive or carry on with your underwater adventures please give us a call 0800 699 0243.


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