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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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up vote 1 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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