I distinctly remember when I first tried to find someone to teach me to scuba dive I was a little bit overwhelmed and confused by the various agencies offering certification cards. In the end I chose PADI, mainly as it appeared to be more widely accepted than the alternatives, plus there was a PADI instructor nearby.
In hindsight I recognise that it doesn’t really matter, they are all accepted, kind of like Visa versus Mastercard. My visa however is not so widely accepted, mainly due to the fact that wife-buddy’s dry suit balance is still on it.
Lately I have noticed a lot of online discussion about various agencies and which is best and why. Since I completed my TDI courses I seem to have become even more aware of the different options for training. I was a little curious if I had chosen the ‘right’ agency.
So, this led me to decide for myself – which is the best?
I did a little lurking around the interweb forums to find out what was what. The results are in. Amazingly there is a common ground on this matter and the conclusion was;
“It is down to the instructor, not the agency.”
“Why are there so many agencies?”
I have no idea. I can’t find any real legitimate argument as to why there are just SO many training options. If it’s all down to the instructor, then it shouldn’t matter, especially as most of the top instructors are teaching for several different agencies anyway!
It’s all becoming a little confusing, and I am concerned there is going to be a scuba diver war. With all the acronyms around including: IANTD. GUE. TDI, PADI, BSAC, SDI, UTD – the whole thing is becoming frighteningly reminiscent of my home town, Belfast, which also has its own little abbreviations for various ‘agencies.’
So, in order to avoid the great scuba civil war I have decided there should be only one agency;
I guessed it would still need to be an acronym; they do seem so very popular.
Now, as with any solution to a great conflict, The Great Big Scuba Club (TGBSC), can only be formed from an acceptable conclusion to the war. We don’t want war in scuba so I have a different idea:
A bar fight.
It makes perfect sense. All divers like a nice beer or 12 after a dive, so this seems like the optimal way to decide who will run TGBSC. Initially, I had figured on running TGBSC myself, but alas I don’t necessarily possess the relevant qualifications to front a whole new scuba foundation.
I know what you’re thinking; I’d be perfect due to good looks, charisma, good looks, charm, good looks, and long hair. However, I realise the masses probably wouldn’t buy it, plus … everyone likes a good bar fight.
Moving back to the “It’s all about the instructor not the agency” mentality, I have decided that every agency should submit its top instructors to take part. Once every agency has picked its representatives they are all sent down to the pub and the ‘The Great Scuba Bar Fight’ can begin.
The rules are simple:
Ø All agencies submit 3 representatives.
Ø All reps are sent to a small pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Ø 10 pints of mid-strength lager or cider must be consumed.
Ø No Buckfast allowed – this would give an unfair advantage due to the aggressive tendencies it produces.
Ø Once the 10 pints are finished everyone has to get wired in.
Ø Reps are eliminated once unconscious or dead.
Ø Last man/woman standing is the leader of The Great Big Scuba Club.
It’s a flawless system from what I can see.
Or so I thought.
When I thought about if a little longer I worked out exactly how it will all go down:
- PADI reps spend the whole fight on their knees, and won’t be able to throw a decent punch.
- BSAC form a committee and by the time they contact all their members and finally decide to fight they will have been kicked to death.
- GUE form a tag-team approach to the fight, but will be unable to have a last man standing as they won’t turn on each other.
- UTD are so similar to GUE that they get confused and attack their own team members by mistake.
- CDG show up in helmets and can’t be knocked out.
- TDI deliver Paul Toomer, but he ends up on Jägermeister and is unconscious before it even starts.
- Mark Powell will do very well, until the moderators’ notice he skipped the 10 pints for fear of a DCI hit, and will therefore be disqualified.
- DAN swing by, but just keep trying to administer oxygen to everyone.
- IANTD send in Phil Short alone. He will storm the place fully kitted in a Sentinel, pummelling everyone in his path. Then he will turn on the building, bringing it to the ground, killing himself in the process.
Ultimately it’s all about the diving. Never forget why you started. I started diving to look at things underwater while on my honeymoon in The Maldives. After that, I worked out I would be able to look at things underwater at home as well.
I trained with PADI originally, did some tech with TDI, and will probably do my next course with IANTD. It doesn’t really matter as long as you receive the proper training to enable you to conduct the dives you want in a safe and controlled manner.
So, I wouldn't go tearing up your certification cards yet ………… unless you think you could take on Phil Short after 10 pints?