In a similar manner to this question: When describing my PADI qualifications with a CMAS diver, is there a well know equivalence table? How do the PADI qualifications match up to the SSI ones? Is there an equivalence table for these two as well?

My friend is PADI Advanced Open Water (AOW), however there seems to be a SSI qualification between PADI AOW and SSI AOW. Ideally this will be for when we get to the point of booking diving holidays we want to make sure everyone can do everything planned.

The SSI qualifications (excluding free-diving and snorkelling) are:

  • Scuba Diver
  • Open Water Scuba Diver
  • Specialist Diver
  • Advanced Open Water Diver
  • Master Diver
  • Take a look at the World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC). The Standards downloads page will show you what the different certifying agencies will agree to do as a minimum.
    – Nik Hughes
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 21:43

2 Answers 2


So researching on the net a little bit shows some slightly different certifications than I had thought, however the specialist diver is something you get every 2 specialisations with SSI and the course material tells you you get it before Advanced Open Water, so there may not be a PADI equivalent.

I cannot either find an equivalent PADI certification to the SSI Scuba Diver. Probably as this is a 12m limit only with a dive professional. They're not on the IDC list, but are in the SSI course materials so I've added them to the lists.

In order the SSI - PADI certifications are as follows according to idc-guide.com:


  • SSI Scuba Diver - 12m with a dive professional
  • SSI Open Water - 18m limit
  • SSI Specalist Diver (2 specialities and 12 dives)
  • SSI Advanced Open Water - 30m limit 40m with Enriched Air Nitrox specialisation (4 specialities and 24 dives)
  • SSI Stress & Rescue Techniques
  • SSI Master Diver (4 specialty courses, Diver Stress & Rescue, 50 dives)
  • SSI Divemaster
  • SSI Open Water / Dive Con Instructor

PADI Equivalent

  • PADI Scuba Diver - 12m with a dive professional
  • PADI Open Water Diver - 18m limit
  • PADI Speciality Diver - many many many specialities
  • PADI Advanced Open Water - 30m limit (40m with experience)
  • PADI Rescue Diver
  • PADI Master Scuba Diver (5 Speciality courses, Rescue Diver, 50 dives)
  • PADI Divemaster
  • PADI Open Water Scuba Diver
  • 2
    PADI has a Scuba Diver qualification "Dive under the direct supervision of a PADI Professional to a maximum depth of 12 metres/40 feet." They are the "half way" "do it while in vacation" solutions and seem the same stuff for both Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 16:36
  • And Padi also has specialist courses but they are sort of parallel to the rest rather than a step in between, if it makes sense... And i dont think you can call the list "equivalent" since the experience level might be different, it could look misleading. Sorry for the multiple comments. Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 16:41
  • @ErikvanDoren oh yes I know you can do specialisations with PADI, but IDC guide is pretty good :) no worries over comments - got a link for the PADI scuba diver info? Can't google that at work lol
    – Aravona
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 17:10
  • padi.com/scuba-diving/padi-courses/course-catalog/… Its in the courses description if the link breaks Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 16:36
  • The PADI Open Water diver's listed twice. Also the AOW is 30 metres if the "deep" option is taken with the AOW course. You can dive to 40 metres taking the "Deep" speciality course which has AOW as a pre-requisite. If you have Rescue diver plus 5 specialities, you can pay PADI for a "Master Scuba Diver" card. A PADI Divemaster is a professional dive-leader / assistant instructor qualification.
    – GlennG
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 23:36

Im certified SSI and my gf is certified PADI, from what i understood in term of qualifications the SSI AOWD differs from PADI AOWD in the experience needed to access them. While PADI lets you go on to AOWD from OWD without other experience SSI requires that you gained a few specialties and a certain number of dives first (if memory serves me well its 4 and 24). I know people that at a certain qualification level and up would prefer SSI just citing more experience (which is not necessarily true). This could make the organization of courses/qualifications so different to not allow a straight conversion table.

  • Yes I know the dive amount differences, but I was hoping for an actual equivalence table such as the linked question.
    – Aravona
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 15:23
  • Got it, but i think that its because of the number of dives difference that the two are organized so differently to make it difficult to create an equivalency table based just of the qualification names. Sometimes i just think about it in terms of "just same name but nothing in common" But more experienced divers would have a better opinion on that. Between me and my gf we just compare our logs. Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 15:30
  • I see your point but it's the number of dives which makes the dives potentially more equivalent to each other at different levels. Which I guess I'll have to have a research for :) Thank you for your answer though!
    – Aravona
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 16:25

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