BSAC vs SSI (Which diving certification is better BSAC or SSI?)

BSAC vs SSI - Which diving organisation is better BSAC or SSI larger

BSAC vs SSI certification the differences compared

Many ask which dive certification is the best, is it BSAC or is it SSI and ‘what is the difference between BSAC and SSI?’ In this article I compare BSAC vs SSI and compare the differences vs the similarities of both these scuba diving certifications.

BSAC vs SSI: Diver qualifications from BSAC and SSI are recognised and accepted internationally. The BSAC beginner scuba diving certification is “Ocean Diver” with a max depth of 20 metres (67 feet). SSI teach “Open Water Diver” as their first course with a max depth of 18 metres (60 feet).

The course that BSAC teaches tends to be slighter cheaper and take longer than SSI. Many argue that BSAC training is more thorough too.

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What does BSAC stand for?

BSAC stands for the British Sub Aqua Club. BSAC started in 1954, so has been around for much longer than most diving organisations, SSI included (and PADI for that matter).

The British Sub Aqua Club has around 1,100 independent dive clubs and 400 diving schools worldwide that teach scuba diving.

BSAC has taught the best which includes the likes of Princes and one of my favourite people in the world, Sir David Attenborough. In fact when I interviewed Richard Bull Rock-band star and professional scuba diver, he told me how he’d certified Sir David.

BSAC’s motto is quite simple and is “Dive with us“.

The British Sub Aqua Club is a not for profit organisation based in the UK, but is recognised world wide.

More Reading: PADI vs BSAC

What does SSI stand for?

SSI stands for the Scuba Schools International. SSI started in 1970 and has more than 30 Service Centers. The organisation is represented in more than 110 countries world-wide with over 2,800 International locations.


Scuba Schools International – About

SSI’s motto is “Focused on quality, and not quantity“.

Scuba Schools International is owned by scuba diving equipment company Mares Mares is owned by Head BV, which is a European sports equipment manufacturer.

This means that unlike BSAC, SSI is a commercial enterprise and is a profit making business. This isn’t a bad thing, but is does compare differently to other non-profit scuba diving agences like NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors).

More Reading: PADI vs NAUI search worldwide destinations

What is the difference between BSAC and SSI?

BSAC vs SSI table of differences and similarities

Now that I’ve explained what each organisation stands for. Plus where they are based, lets take a look at BSAC vs SSI compared.

In this comparison table below, I’m only going to look at the positives in both organisations. I don’t see how it benefits anyone by slating any diving agency over the other.

More Reading: Scuba diver questions and answers

BSAC vs SSI - Compared

A table of differences and similarities between BSAC vs SSI
First scuba certification level & maximum depthOcean Diver - 20 metres (67 feet)Open Water Diver - 18 metres (60 feet)
Second scuba certification level & max depthSports Diver - 35 metres (115 feet)Advanced Open Water Diver - Depth varies depending on age and number of dives
Minimum Aged12+8+ (max depth to age 15 12m (40f); 8 max depth 5m (16f) - Scuba Rangers)
Maximum recreational dive depthAdvanced divers can dive to a depth they are comfortable with using the appropriate air and equipment100 metres (330 feet) as a SSI Hypoxic Trimix Instructor
Other diver qualificationsDive Leader, Advanced Diver Advanced Adventurer, Boat Diving, Search & Recovery, Enriched Air Nitrox
Dive centres and resorts1,100 local independent dive clubs + 400 diving schools World-wide2,800 world-wide
How long is a the certification good for?Lifetime - but you may need a refresher course if you've not dived in a whileLifetime - but you may need a refresher course if you've not dived in a while
Famous diversArthur C. Clarke, Prince William (Duke of Cambridge), Price Charles (+ his father Phillip), Prince Harry, Sir David AttenboroughNone on record
Max age limitNo - but is down to individual healthNo - but is down to individual health
Size and nature of diving organisationA not for profit diving organisation and recognised world-wide.The world’s largest store based training agency
MOTTO"Dive with us""Focused on quality, and not quantity"

If you have any other questions about either of these diving organisations, please post a comment below.

The best advice I can give you is to choose the trainer first over the diving organisation. Which ever scuba diver training you take, you’ll enjoy it and will be safe.

So whether you choose BSAC vs SSI really doesn’t matter. It really only boils down to whether there’s a BSAC club or centre or an SSI centre near you. Or which diving agency training centre is where you happen to be on holiday at the time you’re looking to get certified as a scuba diver.

More Reading: How to scuba dive without certification

Is BSAC recognised by SSI and is SSI recognised by BSAC?

The question about whether SSI is recognised by BSAC or visa versa and BSAC recognised by SSI, the answer is yes, both these diving agencies recognise each other.

However, whilst they recognise each other’s certifications, they are different. This means you can’t switch agency whilst you’re in the middle of your training or initial certification.

The important thing to understand is that when you’re ready to move to the next certification level, both BSAC and SSI will recognise each other’s certifications as “equivalent” training.

More Reading: What are the different types of scuba diving?

I hope you enjoyed this article about BSAC vs SSI

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about BSAC vs SSI), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.

Have fun and be safe!

More Reading: What is it like scuba diving for the first time?

What are common depths for beginner scuba divers?

BSAC vs SSI (Which diving certification is better BSAC or SSI?)

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been a scuba diver since diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 1989. After his first dive he trained as a BSAC diver in the UK. He attained his Diver Leader certification with BSAC. He then went on to become a scuba diving instructor, teaching others how to dive and was voted as Diving Officer and Treasurer for the Saffron Walden BSAC club too. Russell has dived all over the world, including the UK, on liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean, South Africa and the USA. Russell is experienced in all dive types, including drift diving, deep dives that involved decompression stops and recreational dives too.

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