SSI vs. PADI - & PICKING THE RIGHT DIVE SHOP:
To the question above: There are small admin differences at the professional level. But little to no differences as it relates to a diver entering the water and wanting to enjoy a nice day of diving. [quote=“LadyDanger, post:1, topic:306”]
Do you know if the two certifications are mutually accepted?
To the question above: Yes, they are mutually accepted and recognized. Dive with confidence.
##7 GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR PICKING A SCUBA SHOP:
Be on the look for the following items as they are better indicators of excellence when choosing a dive shop:
1. Is the equipment well maintained?
We did not ask if the equipment is new. We asked if it is well maintained. There is a difference. Make sure the shop can maintain their gear. This is more obvious that you might think. Look around at how they store and treat their gear.
2. Are the employees knowledgeable and helpful?
Strike up a conversation. Quality operators will be interested in teaching you and will elaborate on questions. Short tempered “shut your month” type operators are a tell tell sign of a poorly operated establishment.
3. Do they provide a facility where surface intervals can be had and where valuables will be safe?
Remember, you won’t be in the water 100% of the time. How is their boat? How are their facilities? Can you see yourself hanging out there for a few hours or a few days?
4. How large of a group do they take out at once?
Successful operators get big, and then they get crowded before they start to turn into bad operators. Ideally, you dive with a small group so that you can get to know one another outside the water and can keep an eye out for one another inside the water. Small groups make for better diving experiences.
5. Are they a “gotcha” firm or do they offer reasonable cancellation policies?
The best operators have their eyes set on the future. They want re-occurring business, and they want a quality review more than do a quick sale. So if you come across a shop that uses the word “nonrefundable” more than they do the word “Dive Experience” then you probably need to look elsewhere.
6. Can they keep their restrooms in order and clean?
This is an easy giveaway. C’mon, if they cannot keep their restroom clean, they probably cannot keep up with the rest of their operation.
7. Is their website maintained, professional, current, and are inquiries quickly addressed?
Now let’s be fair, dive shops are not known for being web developers, so cut them a break. BUT, pay attention to how they conduct themselves online. Do they respond quickly and professionally? Do they ask questions to better understand your needs? Are they posting fun pictures of groups that came before you? Is their blog updated regularly? All these will help you measure how much of an industry leader they may or may not be and above all how well they take care of their guest.