Scuba Schools International (SSI)
What is SSI? It is the second most important international diving organization.
First, a little history:
It was founded by a group of military, professional and recreational divers who decided to create quality standards so that anyone could practice this marvelous sport. The SSI was founded in 1970 by Bob Clark, and it has developed unique and effective educational systems, thereby making a great contribution to the diving community.
The SSI ultimately created an efficient teaching method for forging confident divers capable of practicing the sport with a high degree of safety. In 1983, they decided to expand into the Asian market, bringing them international recognition and, in 1999, SSI joined the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools (NASDS), founded by John Gaffney, thus improving through the incorporation of diving learning systems that NASDS had created. From this point onward, the SSI embarked upon its great adventure throughout the planet.
Some facts about SSI:
It was the first to create integrated learning systems.
It operates through 27 international offices.
It is present in 110 countries and its learning materials are available in 27 languages.
In 1999, it received the prestigious “Reaching Out Award”
It has more than 3100 dive centers and resorts throughout the world.
The SSI learning system is based on a more open approach, allowing instructors to be more flexible with the content of their courses. In addition, the SSI’s safety rules are a bit more conservative than others.
With more than 40 courses available, there are also recognition cards for each level a student attains. The system is similar to that of other organizations, with the difference that SSI offers students the opportunity to learn the demanding discipline of freediving.
In diving, you will start with beginner levels where you can have an initial experience, then intermediate courses, specialties where you can dive with sharks, or in frozen rivers, with strong currents or lakes in high mountains, and then there are technical courses. Here there is another difference, as they place great emphasis on courses of technical diving specialties called XR and TXR.
Since June 1, 2010, SSI has had a worldwide ISO certification. The ISO is a non-governmental organization that serves as a bridge between the public and private sector, as the biggest world developer and publisher of international standards. After you become a great recreational diver, you can also take a course and go pro, make it to the very top in the world of diving.
Here is the SSI organization chart for recreational diving and freediving:
If you need any further information or if you have any questions about this chart, please contact us.
What is the SSI learning system?
Focused on quality, and not quantity, that is the motto of SSI, aimed at achieving “Comfort through Repetition” of exercises.
From your very first dive, called Try Scuba, your diving baptism, we can recognize the cornerstone of the SSI methodology: the Diver Diamond. Their teaching is based on four fundamental philosophical pillars:
- Knowledge: Overcoming fears and seeing the reality of diving.
- Techniques: Taking as much time as necessary to feel comfortable.
- Gear: Knowing your gear better than anyone else gives you confidence and security.
- Experience: Through diving, you will reach places you never imaged you could.
* Document in spanish language
The courses are set out in modules, with light sessions of videos and classroom explanation and discussion.
Some 80% of the order in which techniques are taught is set by SSI and the other 20% by the instructor and depends on the progress of the class, as every student may require a different pace. This is 100% of the SSI program. The system allows for flexibility in reorganizing, adding sessions or repeating exercises so as to meet a student’s needs.
SSI is conducting ever more of its learning activities online, where students have to study at home before going to a dive center for practical experience. This system means that their courses may often be more economical in some countries, where online systems are well fairly well established.
SSI courses consist of videos and reviews of mandatory knowledge, as with other organizations, and with the same practice sessions in the water, although some safety rules are different, with the aim of making divers more conservative and safe.
Diving courses are divided into modules that are perfectly adapted for learning. Theory is provided by instructors before any exercises are done in the water.
The practice requirements will start in swimming pool or shallow waters in the sea, where the student will feel just as comfortable as in a swimming pool, where everything is under control. These are called confined waters.
Later, in open water of more than five meters in depth, the same skills will be practiced to consolidate students’ progress. Flexible repetition of exercises aims at ensuring students’ comfort, and execution can improve to the point that diving becomes fun and safe. The maximum depth with SSI is 40 meters in the most advanced courses. Students have to pass a written exam at the end of the course, if the course requires, in order to obtain an international certification card that is valid anywhere in the world. Every course is confirmed by a registered and certified instructor once the student attains the specified objectives.
With SSI, children can start diving from the age of eight in their Scuba Rangers program in swimming pools, and ten for Try Scuba or the baptism at sea. Inform yourself about the applicable laws in the region or country, as this age can vary. If you go six months without diving, a recycling or refresher course is recommended.
Lastly, for SSI it is mandatory to be enrolled in a dive center and to take courses there with a registered instructor. Feel like diving? Here it is! It’s SSI!
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