An inside view from a PADI Course Director of PADI's flaws...
Rene - PADI Course Director
January 23, 2007 at 15:42:47
I have read a lot about PADI, the courses and what people think about it. I have been a PADI Member for over 14 years and have reached the highest education level in their system. This gives me a very good perception of it.
First of all, I would like to express that the quality of education always depends on the Instructor. There are always good and bad Instructors regardless of the certifying agency.
I also want to express that I have worked worldwide for a lot of dive centers. With the PADI system there are two key issues:
1. PADI has without a doubt the best diver education system in the world.
2. The problem is, that you have too many unqualified people working there. Also, the strategy they are promoting since 2001 is totally wrong.
It started all with the introduction of the IDC Program back in 2001. They promoted the "Scuba Diver, "Bubblemaker" and other programs with the goal to introduce more people into diving. At the same time, they promoted a lot of unqualified Instructors to become PADI Course Director.
Those two points had the effect that a very high competition was created between the Course Directors. Some of them even offered an IDC for £ 99.00. A lot of Instructors were created during this time and Dive Centers could choose to take the cheapest ones. Some of the Instructors even worked for free.
With the introduction of Scuba Diver, Bubblemaker and Discover Scuba Diver, dive center owners wanted to make the quick money! They hired new instructors to carry out those one day courses. Fact is, that no one can make money with it! At least 70% of those divers did not go on with their certification.
Now to survive, those programs became very cheap, with the result that the quality of education went down. To survive even more, a lot of dive centers did not even teach the classroom sessions anymore. The result: bad divers who did not feel diving was fun.
The next step was that a lot of corruption went into this system. I know of a company that became a PADI 5 Star center because the PADI Regional Sales manager offered it if the owner bought 50 Open water Kits. The fact is, that this Dive center had 14 fatalities in one year.
I know from PADI Course Directors, that they bought every level from Rescue Diver to Course Director. Now everyone can imagine this quality of Instructor training. And Course Directors collude with PADI Examiners to make sure that their candidates will pass the IE. After the deal was done in one case I know of, they went to a Strip Bar on the PADI Course Director's tab.
When you look at PADI's website and the various departments, how many of the employees have the same surname? That's the biggest problem--most of the staff are family or partners. I know most of the managers in person, and I can tell you, not one of those people would survive in their current job title more than 3 month in any other company.
I have decided not to teach any more after the things I have seen even though I have loved my job for over a decade. I hope, this gives you a better view of the PADI system. If you are keen on diving, my suggestion is look for a professional PADI Center, talk to many Instructors and do a full course. Forget the Scuba Diver or any other Introduction programs, which are just designed to make money but not give you anything other than disappointment.