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Who Are PADI?


The most common statement I hear from customers over the 17 years I have been a PADI Member is ‘I want to do my PADI’. The customer is of course referring to the world’s most popular entry level scuba training course; The PADI Open Water course.

In 2014 over 500,000 new divers where certified worldwide as PADI Open Water divers. PADI is the words most popular training agency and certifies approximately 70% of all divers worldwide. With such popularity it’s not surprising their brand has crept into everyday modern language.

But who are PADI?

Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is the world’s largest recreational diving membership and diver training organization, founded in 1966 by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson. Cronin, originally a NAUI instructor was a scuba equipment salesman and Erickson, a swimming Instructor and educator, decided to form their own training organization.

They subsequently began breaking diver training down into several modular courses instead of the single universal course offered in the 60’s. Their goal was to create a structured training system that made it easy for people to learn scuba, and encourage divers to dive regularly.

This modular system of diver training is the way the world learns to dive today. All the other ‘major’ training organizations have adopted the same system.

PADI History, System and Philosophy

PADI grew slowly. By the late 60’s they had 400 members and began issuing certification cards with diver’s photographs on. In the early 70’s the world’s first modular based entry level scuba training course was developed. This was the PADI Open Water diver course known to millions of people worldwide these days as “My PADI”.

The PADI System of diver education is based on performance based training that introduces skills, safety-related information and local environmental knowledge to student divers in stages. PADI courses are student-centered and provide maximum practice and realistic application.

PADI’s “Four E’s Philosophy” is that the dive lifestyle requires four elements:

Education – encourage divers to expand their capabilities and continue their diver education. PADI’s full range of diver courses introduces divers to new underwater activities and can even help you make a career move to become a PADI Professional.
Experience – PADI dive shops offer a variety of experiences from local dive tours to exotic dive travel.
Equipment – We need Scuba gear to make diving possible. The best place to learn about the latest scuba equipment available is a PADI Dive Center or Resort.
Environmental Conservation – A healthy underwater environment is essential to good diving and divers are great advocates for protecting our water resources. Throughout PADI courses, divers learn the importance of protecting fragile aquatic ecosystems and are encouraged to become involved in local and global conservation efforts.

PADI partners with Project AWARE a global nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting our ocean planet.

PADI Worldwide’s headquarters are located in California, United States. PADI Regional Headquarters are based in Australia (Asia Pacific), the UK (Europe) and the United States (the America’s), with smaller support offices in China, Japan, Canada and Russia. This network allows PADI to support the efforts of individual professional members and PADI Dive Centers and Resorts in over 180 countries and territories.

To serve the needs of divers worldwide, translations of PADI materials are available in over 25 languages.

By 2015 PADI has more than 135,000 individual members (Renewed, Insured and active PADI Divemasters or higher) in over 180 countries worldwide. With over 6,000 PADI dive centers and resorts worldwide PADI has certified over 23 million divers.

Here on Koh Tao there were approximately 80,000 divers certified in 2014, approximately 75% of those “did their PADI”.

For more information on how to become a PADI Professional, check out the PADI Divemaster and PADI Instructor courses we offer at IDC Koh Tao.