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I'm currently in a French overseas territory, and almost all of the dive centres and clubs here use the CMAS system. Whenever I've booked in for a dive, the dive centre has looked at my PADI qualifications, asked a few questions, and put me into an appropriate dive group for the day. They seem to have always put me into the right group, so they at least seem to know the equivalence!

However, when I've been chatting with other divers (non-instructors) before and after dives, they've not known how to match my PADI level to their CMAS one, and nor have I for the reverse. This has made it tricky for us to recommend other dive sites to each other, especially ones in different countries, as we haven't known if the standard would be suitable or not.

Is there a well known approximate equivalence between the PADI and CMAS qualification levels?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Here is a quick reference :

CMAS                         PADI Equivalent
CMAS 1 Star Diver            Open Water Diver
CMAS 2 Star Diver            Rescue Diver
(with verification of Night and Navigation dive)     
CMAS 3 Star Diver            Divemaster or IDC Candidate
CMAS 1 Star Instructor       IDC Candidate
CMAS 2 Star Instructor       IDC Candidate

Source: IDC Guide

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The easiest way to compare diving qualifications is to look at the ISO standards: International Standards

The International Organization for Standardization has approved six recreational diving standards that may be implemented worldwide (January 2007).

The listed standards developed by the (United States) RSTC are consistent with the applicable ISO Standards:

<table>
<tr>
<th>(USA) RSTC Standard</th>
<th>ISO Standard</th>
<th>Alternative ISO Title</th>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Introductory Scuba Experience</td>
<td>No equivalent</td>
<td></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>No equivalent</td>
<td>Level One Diver</td>
<td>Supervised Diver</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Open Water Diver</td>
<td>Level Two Diver</td>
<td>Autonomous Diver</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Dive Supervisor</td>
<td>Level Three Diver</td>
<td>Dive Leader</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Assistant Instructor</td>
<td>Level 1 Instructor</td>
<td></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Scuba Instructor</td>
<td>Level 2 Instructor</td>
<td></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>Instructor Trainer</td>
<td>No equivalent</td>
<td></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>No equivalent</td>
<td>Service Provider</td>
<td></td>
</tr>
</table>

Here is a table format of various diving certifications compared: List of Qualifications compared

<table>
<tr>
<td><b>BSAC</b></td>
<td>Ocean Diver<br>20 m</td>
<td>Ocean Diver<br>20 m</td>
<td>Sports Diver<br>30 m</td>
<td>Dive Leader<br>50 m</td>
<td>Advanced Diver<br>50 m</td>
<td>Club Instructor</td>
<td>Open Water Instructor</td>
<td>Advanced Instructor</td>
<td>1st Class Diver</td>
<td>National Instructor</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>PADI</b></td>
<td>Open Water Diver<br>18 m (12 m if under 12)</td>
<td>Advanced Open Water Diver<br>30 m</td>
<td>Rescue Diver</td>
<td>Divemaster<br>35 m</td>
<td>Divemaster<br>35 m</td>
<td>Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI)</td>
<td>Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT)</td>
<td>Instructor Development Course (IDC) Staff Instructor</td>
<td></td>
<td><!--Course Director?--></td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>CMAS</b></td>
<td>1 Star<br>20 m</td>
<td>1 Star<br>20 m</td>
<td>2 Star<br>40 m</td>
<td>2 Star<br>40 m</td>
<td>3 Star<br>56 m</td>
<td>1 Star Instructor</td>
<td>2 Star Instructor</td>
<td>3 Star Instructor</td>
<td>4 Star</td><td>4 Star</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>NAUI</b></td>
<td>Scuba Diver<br>18 m</td>
<td>Advanced Scuba Diver</td>
<td>Scuba Rescue Diver / Master Scuba Diver</td>
<td>Divemaster</td>
<td></td>
<td>Scuba Instructor</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>SAA</b></td>
<td>Open Water Diver<br>20 m</td>
<td>Open Water Diver<br>20 m</td>
<td>Club Diver<br>35 m</td>
<td>Dive Leader</td>
<td>Dive Supervisor - Dive Master</td>
<td>Club Instructor</td>
<td>Regional Instructor</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>SSI</b></td>
<td>Open Water Diver<br>12 m</td>
<td>Advanced Open Water Diver</td>
<td>Advanced Open Water Diver with &quot;Stress and Rescue&quot; Speciality or Master Diver</td>
<td>Dive Control Specialist</td>
<td></td>
<td>Open Water Instructor</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>NASDS<br></b></td>
<td>Open Water Diver</td>
<td>Advanced Open Water Diver</td>
<td>Rescue Diver</td>
<td>Dive Supervisor</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>SDI</b></td>
<td>Open Water Diver<br>20 m</td>
<td>Advanced Diver</td>
<td></td><td>Rescue Diver</td>
<td>Divemaster</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>SSAC (ScotSAC)</b></td>
<td></td><td></td>
<td>Sports Diver<br>30 m</td>
<td>Master Diver<br>40 m</td>
<td>Second Class Diver / Master Diver </td>
<td>Branch Instructor</td>
<td>Regional Instructor</td>
<td>Club Examiner</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>Royal Navy</b></td>
<td>Ships Diver</td><td></td>
<td></td><td>
</td><td>
</td>
</tr> 

<tr>
<td><b>ITDA</b></td>
<td></td>
<td>2** Star Diver</td>
<td>Advanced Nitrox Diver</td>
<td>ITDA Rescue Diver </td>
<td> Extended Range Nitrox Diver (Ntech)</td>
<td> Resort Instructor</td>
<td>2** STAR Instructor</td>
<td>2** STAR Instructor</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>ANDI</b></td>
<td>Open Water Diver</td>
<td></td><td>Rescue Diver</td>
<td></td><td>Divemaster</td>
</tr>  

<tr>
<td><b>GUE</b></td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
<td>All GUE qualifications</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>IANTD</b></td>
<td>Open Water Diver<br>21 m</td>
<td>Essentials Diver</td>
<td>Advanced Open Water Diver<br>30 m</td>
<td>Rescue Diver</td>
<td>Divemaster</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>NASE</b></td>
<td>Open Water Diver<br>20 m</td>
<td>Advanced Open Water Diver<br>30 m</td>
<td>Rescue Diver</td>
<td>Advanced Rescue Diver</td>
<td>Divemaster</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>PSAI</b></td>
<td>Open Water Sport Diver<Br>18 m</td>
<td>Advanced Open Water Diver<Br>27 m with 5 specialities</td>
<td>R.A.P.I.D. (Rescue, Accident Prevention &amp; Intervention Diver) Master Diver<br>27 m</td>
<td>Advanced Deep Air Level 1</td>
<td>Divemaster<br>40 m</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>TDI</b></td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
<td>Advanced Nitrox</td>
<td>Extended Range</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>LA Co UW</b></td>
<td>Basic Certification</td>
<td></td>
<td>Intermediate Certification</td>
<td></td><td>Advanced Certification</td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
<td>UICC (underwater instructors certification course)</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>PDIC</b></td>
<td>Open Water</td>
<td>Advanced Open Water Diver</td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>IADS</b></td>
<td>1 Star Open Water Diver<Br>20 m</td>
<td>2 Star Advanced  Diver<Br>32 m</td>
<td>Intermediate Certification</td>
<td></td>
<td>Advanced Certification</td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
<td>UICC (underwater instructors certification course)</td>
</tr>

<tr>
<td><b>IDD</b></td>
<td>Open Water Diver<Br>20 m</td>
<td>Advanced Open Water Diver<Br>32 m</td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
<td></td>
</tr>
</table>
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1  
Can you add some context to this in case the links disappear in future? Always quote the most relevant part of an important link, in case the target site is unreachable or goes permanently offline –  Aravona Jul 22 at 8:43
    
Will do. I just do not like replication of data/code/information :-D –  AquaAlex 2 days ago
    
mmmm ok so tables do not work, how can I create table structure? –  AquaAlex 2 days ago
2  
Screenshot the table and upload as an image? Or do what @AM_Hawk did. –  Aravona 2 days ago
1  
You shouldn't use HTML tables on SE sites, they don't format well. –  Liam 2 days ago
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