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PADI vs BSAC (Which diving qualification is better PADI or BSAC?)

PADI vs BSAC - Which diving organisation is better PADI or BSAC

PADI or BSAC qualifications and which is better

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

PADI vs BSAC: BSAC and PADI Diver qualifications are recognised internationally. The BSAC beginner course for Ocean Diver is cheaper and takes longer than PADI’s course to teach Open Water Diver. There are more places to get scuba certified with PADI than BSAC. PADI Max depth 18 metres (60 feet) vs BSAC 20 metres (67 feet).

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What does PADI stand for?

PADI stands for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, where their motto is “Under every rock, around every reef, a new discovery awaits“.

PADI’s claim is there are 27 million divers that started with them. The PADI diving agency has been around since 1966.

The organisation is a recreational diving membership and diver training organisation. It was founded by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson.

The two founders were both scuba instructors and divers who were friends in the state of Illinois, U.S.A. Their goal was to give more people a chance to enjoy the underwater world. They wanted to offer relevant, instructionally valid scuba diving training to create confident scuba divers who dive regularly.

PADI is a business for profit organisation and their corporate headquarters located in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, USA.

More Reading: How deep can you dive with an Open Water Certification?

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, PADI included. 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 NAUI and/or PADI vs SSI search worldwide destinations

What is the difference between PADI and BSAC?

PADI vs BSAC 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 PADI vs BSAC 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

PADI vs BSAC - Compared

A table of differences and similarities between PADI vs BSAC
First scuba certification level & maximum depthOpen Water Diver - 18 metres (60 feet)Ocean Diver - 20 metres (67 feet)
Second scuba certification level & max depthAdvanced Open Water Diver - 30 metres (100 feet)Sports Diver - 35 metres (115 feet)
Minimum Aged10+ (max depth until age 15 12 metres (40 feet) - the Junior Open Water Diver certification12+
Maximum recreational dive depth40 metres (130 feet) with Deep Diver specialty courseAdvanced divers can dive to a depth they are comfortable with using the appropriate air and equipment
Other diver qualificationsRescue Diver; Master Diver; DivemasterDive Leader, Advanced Diver
Dive centres and resorts6,500 world-wide1,100 local independent dive clubs + 400 diving schools 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 diversSandra Bullock, Tom Cruise, James Cameron, Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson are all famous PADI diversArthur C. Clarke, Prince William (Duke of Cambridge), Price Charles (+ his father Phillip), Prince Harry, Sir David Attenborough
Max age limitNo - but is down to individual healthNo - but is down to individual health
Size and nature of diving organisationLargest in the world and is a 'For Profit' organisationA not for profit diving organisation and recognised world-wide.
MOTTO"Under every rock, around every reef, a new discovery awaits""Dive with us"

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 PADI vs BSAC really doesn’t matter. It really only boils down to whether there’s a PADI centre or a BSAC 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 PADI and is PADI recognised by BSAC?

The question about whether BSAC is recognised by PADI or visa versa and PADI recognised by BSAC, 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 PADI and BSAC 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 PADI vs BSAC

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 PADI vs BSAC), 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?

PADI vs BSAC (Which diving qualification is better PADI or BSAC?)

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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