Training and certification is essential for scuba divers. Carrying a scuba certification card from a recognized scuba association assures others you have been trained to dive safely and responsibly. A full-service dive shop will require you to show your scuba certification card before arranging a chartered diving excursion. It''s because they should be concerned for your safety, but also because on any dive in a group, large or small, dragging along a novice who can''t keep their mask on properly is highly annoying, possibly dangerous and can easily ruin the experience for everyone.
Dive shops also require a certification before they will rent you any equipment. Scuba equipment can be damaged if it isn''t used and handled properly, and it is in their best interest to make sure you return the equipment in good condition.
It has often been said that getting a scuba certification is harder than getting a library card, but easier than getting a driver''s license. This is a very fair assessment. A scuba certification is not free or easy; you are required to prove that you know how to use the equipment, handle yourself underwater and know how to react in a wide range of underwater situations.
The two most popular scuba certification courses today are the PADI Scuba Diver certification and the NAUI Scuba Diver certification. Either program is sufficient to get you ready for your first "real scuba dive". The PADI program is generally considered to be "lighter"; ideal for vacationers who just want to take a few supervised dives on a tropical vacation. The NAUI program is somewhat more involved and is ideal for a beginner taking up scuba as a recreational sport. After completing the basic beginner level of scuba training, both PADI and NAUI offer further training up to the advanced level.
Some certifications offered by NAUI are:
NAUI offers courses in:
See our choices for scuba training