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Diving: PADI or BSAC


Gin
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Well you're an adventurous lot ( :wink: Specially you Beefy, loved the miniskirt), so I figure I'll ask for your wise advice.


I've wanted to take diving courses for quite a while now, so in looking at clubs in my area I'm lucky enough to have both PADI and BSAC nearby.


I know there is some competition between the two organisations and their respective members; each think their own way is the best and the others rubbish.


Has anyone here got any experience or some advice for someone looking to get into the hobby? :D


Much fanks and luff in advance. :love:

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Friend of mine is an advanced diver and he has always told me that he would recommend BSAC slightly ahead of PADI if available and you are staying in the UK mainly. However if you are going to be going abroad and advance your training in warmer waters, then PADI as their franchises are everywhere.


He is a member of both.. starting with PADI then moved over to Bsac. but he regularly goes abroad to dive.


He said.. and this may be old info, that BSAC has a greater emphasis on safety and incremental progression, whereas PADI which is for profit takes a different approach.


I did a 5 day intensive BSAC course in Turkey many moons ago. i enjoyed it immensely but had no desire to take it further.. just something i fancied trying. I certainly didnt want to dive in UK waters and the idea of going to stoney cove.. not far from me is my idea of hell.

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Friend of mine is an advanced diver and he has always told me that he would recommend BSAC slightly ahead of PADI if available and you are staying in the UK mainly. However if you are going to be going abroad and advance your training in warmer waters, then PADI as their franchises are everywhere.


He said.. and this may be old info, that BSAC has a greater emphasis on safety and incremental progression, whereas PADI which is for profit takes a different approach.


I did a BSAC course in Turkey many moons ago. i enjoyed it immensely but had no desire to take it further.. just something i fancied trying. I certainly didnt want to dive in UK waters and the idea of going to stoney cove.. not far from me is my idea of hell.

 

What he said.


My son is an amateur diver and initially learned while he was in Key West with the RN. So he started with PADI. As he does all his diving on holidays and thus in foreign parts he's stuck with the PADI. A colleague who is much more fanatic about it and dives year round off the West Coast of Scotland and elsewhere as well is BSAC but isn't obsessed about it.

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I’ve only ever done PADI stuff and have no experience of BSAC. The main dive shop in Norwich is PADI and just stuck with them. Although from what I hear PADI is more of a money making get up than BSAC. Living in Norfolk there’s some great shore diving. A few wrecks are doable and you have chalk gullies out at Sheringham and Cromer which are some of the most enjoyable dives I’ve done.

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I started diving with PADI nearly 20 years ago and got into the whole speciality thing (Nitrox, Deep, Wreck, Rescue Diver, DPV... yadda yadda) before finally getting bored with collecting silly cert cards. Then when I moved up here I had a dalliance with BSAC because it meant I could dive in my local pool, and they spent most of the their time telling me why PADI were shit. :roll:


Then about 12 years ago I met a GUE instructor (Global Underwater Explorers) and discovered that there's a world of difference between PADI/BSAC and the technical training agencies. GUE was born out of a group of Florida cave divers who were concerned about the high fatality rate when a load of PADI (or equivalent) divers turn up at a cave looking like they've been dipped in glue and rolled around in a dive shop, jump in and discover that when something goes badly wrong half an hour from the surface no amount of fancy kit compensates for proper training. You can always tell a GUE diver because they all look identical: they all have the same minimalist kit, configured in exactly the same way, which makes helping a team mate in trouble much easier - especially in limited visibility. The training isn't much fun though: endless valve drills, shutdowns, out-of-gas scenarios, level trim finning forward and backwards, helicopter turns... :yawn:


In the end I ditched diving completely when it finally dawned on me that I hated almost everything about it. It happened one Sunday morning when I set off early for a training session at a dive site a couple of hours away, leaving behind a tearful little boy who just wanted to make Lego spaceships with his daddy. That made me feel pretty rotten. Then in the changing room I realised I'd run out of drysuit lube (without which it's practically impossible to get into the neck or wrist seals) and had to use strawberry flavour sex lube provided by a Glaswegian pervert in our group. As I struggled into the left sleeve of my drysuit, thinking what a shit day I was having, I realised that the right sleeve was dangling in the urinal. Marvelous. Then I spent a total of three hours or so in ice-cold murky water, watching what was essentially a mass underwater suicide attempt: diving is one of those things that almost anyone can do but not everyone should, and for some reason perfectly intelligent and able people turn into total incompetents the second they get underwater. The instructor was a monumental cock, and as I floated around at 15 metres or so, feeling the trickle of icy water down my spine from the leaking neck seal, I decided I'd had enough. I went home at the end of the day, put all my kit up for sale, and have never looked back.


But anyway - I'm sure you'll love it. :lol:

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Well you're an adventurous lot ( :wink: Specially you Beefy, loved the miniskirt), so I figure I'll ask for your wise advice.


I've wanted to take diving courses for quite a while now, so in looking at clubs in my area I'm lucky enough to have both PADI and BSAC nearby.


I know there is some competition between the two organisations and their respective members; each think their own way is the best and the others rubbish.


Has anyone here got any experience or some advice for someone looking to get into the hobby? :D


Much fanks and luff in advance. :love:

 

Basically if you are going to scuba dive in europe maybe better bsac but you can dive with padi certificates.

If you are going to Caribbean than padi is much better but still no big difference.

Only advantage of bsac in uk is cheaper dives but you are have to pay bsac membersfip


https://awe365.com/bsac-vs-padi-what-is-the-difference-in-the-scuba-qualifications/

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I did a PADI-athon in 2011 which I really enjoyed. However, much as Mark described, I fell out of love with it after a while because so many people I met were just interested in comparing shiny bits and bragging on about this & that.


I just wanted to get underwater and explore caves, wrecks and ideally find a treasure chest. :-) Plus I like doing stuff on my own so spending hours on end with someone who twitters on endlessly was tiresome.


I don't have any gear any more but could easily be persuaded to do it again.

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I did a PADI-athon in 2011 which I really enjoyed. However, much as Mark described, I fell out of love with it after a while because so many people I met were just interested in comparing shiny bits and bragging on about this & that.

 

Oh that was another thing - the endless bravado and zero-to-hero bullshit. And as for the dive forums... what a bunch of egotistical tossers.


:roll:

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Oh that was another thing - the endless bravado and zero-to-hero bullshit. And as for the dive forums... what a bunch of egotistical tossers.


:roll:

 

All the gear and no idea... ;-)

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I started diving with PADI nearly 20 years ago and got into the whole speciality thing (Nitrox, Deep, Wreck, Rescue Diver, DPV... yadda yadda) before finally getting bored with collecting silly cert cards. Then when I moved up here I had a dalliance with BSAC because it meant I could dive in my local pool, and they spent most of the their time telling me why PADI were shit. :roll:

 

I did a PADI-athon in 2011 which I really enjoyed. However, much as Mark described, I fell out of love with it after a while because so many people I met were just interested in comparing shiny bits and bragging on about this & that.

Oh that was another thing - the endless bravado and zero-to-hero bullshit. And as for the dive forums... what a bunch of egotistical tossers.

:roll:

 

See this is pretty much the comments I've been worried about whenever I've considered the hobby before. :? The lines between the two teams and the mud slinging which occurs between them and the nobs you get in the hobby.


Is this something you can do kinda casually?


The reason I'm interested is for the last 5 years or so we go down to the very toe of Cornwall each year and almost live in our wetsuits, spending a lot of time at the beach, around the cliffs, either hiring Kayaks to go out in or just swimming from beach to beach around the coast. :D

We have awesome full face snorkles from Tribord and tend to have flippers too. I Love this, we have easily spent hours and hours just swimming about looking at the sealife until we have sunstroke! :puke:


So diving is something I'd love to do, however with talk about geardos and gatekeeping, I am pretty sure this wouldn't be an "Every weekend" hobby.


I honestly don't actually know how far afield I would take the skills, at the moment I was purely thinking about around the UK trips, but now you guys have mentioned EU and further, I will admit that if I went on holiday somewhere tropical, this is most definitely something I would want to do while there.


This doesn't leave me entirely sure on which route to go though :oops:

PADI sound like a good option for pure training and then taking on international holidays, but it's sounding like BSAC has more of a community around it; especially for UK & EU trips.

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There's a load of this elitist our-way-is-better-than-yours bollix in the diving community, but in my humble opinion for your average recreational diver who just wants to enjoy some weekend or holiday diving (which is most of us, I guess) there's not much to choose between PADI or BSAC. They've both been around for yonks and have trained thousands of perfectly safe and competent divers. You'll easily find lots of friendly like-minded folks in both agencies and have loads of fun. If I recall correctly (and it's been many years since I dived with either agency) the PADI training was better structured than BSAC and the training materials were a lot better, but diving isn't rocket science so neither of those are major issues. And in any case it may have changed significantly in the last 10 years or so.


That said, the PADI guys I trained with never rubbished BSAC, but the BSAC guys couldn't wait to berate my PADI training, or my more recent GUE training. I vividly remember an experienced BSAC Dive Leader telling me that they were the professionals, PADI were amateurs and GUE were over-trained elitists, before jumping in the pool without turning her air on and promptly hitting the bottom like a stone. As she floundered around I thought "If you'd trained with GUE that wouldn't have happened in the first place, and even if it had you'd have been able to turn your own gas on by now." Then I jumped in and turned her air on for her. :lol:


If I was interested in technical diving (mixed gas / cave etc) I'd definitely be looking at GUE or TDI rather than PADI/BSAC, but that's a very different type of diving. I'd just go to your local PADI and BSAC clubs and see which you like best - they'll both get you diving. And there will be people on here who are much more up-to-date than me with their knowledge of both agencies, so I'd listen to them rather than to me. :D

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I just dug out this photo of my GUE days, and it reminded me why I left BSAC: the hog-rigging debacle.


 

2109267273_MSWGUE.jpg.e07918f5013a669d770cd8714d788826.jpg

 


Your normal PADI/BSAC configuration is for both the primary and the back-up (or 'octopus') regulator to be on short hoses. This is a less than ideal set-up for two reasons:


1. Trying to control a genuine panicked out-of-gas diver - especially in a confined situation - on a piddly little octopus rig is a f*cking nightmare.


2. Despite what you learn in training, an out-of-gas diver will never saunter up to you, make the recognised 'out-of-gas' sign and calmly wait for you to unclip and hand over the octo: they will rip the reg out of your mouth and climb all over you as they try to get to the surface. And good luck trying to breathe off your own octo! :lol:


The alternative is the hog-rig or 'primary donation' method. It isn't very clear on the photo, but the primary reg (in my mouth) is on a 7-foot hose that runs around the back of my head, diagonally across my chest, under the battery canister on my right hip and up to the manifold. This is the reg I would donate to an out-of-gas diver: I either hand it over or (more likely) they rip it out of my mouth. Either is fine, because I just dip my head forward and the whole 7-feet of hose uncoils, and my back-up reg is on a short bungee cord around my neck - I can even get it in my mouth without using my hands. The upshot is I now have 7 feet of working distance between me and the bellend who ran out of air, and far from being surprised to have the reg ripped out of my mouth I have specifically trained to expect it.


For some reason BSAC raised a load of cretinous objections to hog-rigging on the basis that people might strangle themselves or some such bollix, and as they issued some edict that you can't dive with BSAC hog-rigged I cancelled my membership and continued with GUE.


And didn't strangle myself underwater. :lol:

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Now I think of it, I've dived all over the place and have never had issues finding a good PADI outfit. Generally, if you're in an area known for diving there will be plenty of dive shops so you can pick and choose the people you want to dive with based on the personality test. :-)


For domestic stuff you can just bimble along to a dive place and get your tanks filled and off you go.


I know it's against "the rules" but I've dived solo a fair bit from shore and boat in the UK and have yet to die - actually had a bloody good time mostly.

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Now I think of it, I've dived all over the place and have never had issues finding a good PADI outfit. Generally, if you're in an area known for diving there will be plenty of dive shops so you can pick and choose the people you want to dive with based on the personality test. :-)


For domestic stuff you can just bimble along to a dive place and get your tanks filled and off you go.


I know it's against "the rules" but I've dived solo a fair bit from shore and boat in the UK and have yet to die - actually had a bloody good time mostly.

 

I wonder if we're both actually dead - me from hog-rigging and you from diving solo? Like in that film The Others. :eek2:

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I am an instructor with BSAC, I started diving about 7 years ago and worked my way up to Open water instructor,


There are differnces between PADI and BSAC.


PADI is a business, they earn thier money from teaching you to dive, you pay for lessons and they teach you, if you achieve the required standard you get your certifcation. If you just want to learn to dove so you can dive on holiday PADI will probably be the way to go. If you want to do more training you pay and do more courses. Courses typically cost £300+.


BSAC are a voluntary not for profit organisation, as are the BSAC clubs, you pay for membership of BSAC (£50 p/a) which gives you access to support, discounts, monthly magazine, insurance etc. You also pay a subscription to a club (£120+p/a -depends on club), for this you get access to swiming pool, instructrs, club facilities (this varies between clubs, but often includes loan of basic kit for initial traning, boats for coastal diving). Some clubs provide air fills, boats etc.

You can do as few or as many courses as you can do that are availabe, you just pay for training packs which typically cost £25-£35 per course.

If you are really keen on doing lots of diving and training, want to be part of a club, and dive in the UK as well as abroad then BSAC will suit you.


Many clubs will offer try dives in the pool (we get try divers most weeks and many join the club).


If you wan to know more please ask. Where are you based?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have both PADI and BSAC qualifications, I got my BSAC qual through the Army years ago and later did my PADI training at Stoney Cove, I can vouch for the fact that PADI does not put a low emphasis on safety, it is a very well delivered, structured form of training that will give you an internationally recognised qualification that is recognised and can be used the world over, having trained with both organisations I would personally opt for PADI, I like the training format and the unhurried professional approach to advancing your qualifications. At the end of the day its personal choice, they both teach diving and both give a qualification. Good luck and have fun.

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Many clubs will offer try dives in the pool (we get try divers most weeks and many join the club).


If you wan to know more please ask. Where are you based?

Thanks for your detailed reply (and actually to everyone who's replied so far, thank you so much, I have carefully read each post and I really appreciate all of your thoughts). :love:


I am based in MK at the moment and think there's a club up by the M1, but I do need to double check. :?


I think I will likely start with BSAC just because I'd quite like the weekly activity and community of it. :) It's been a long while since I've had the routine of knowing one night a week I'm out doing a hobby and I miss it (Will also be picking up rock climbing again as I really miss that!)

Also, it's a lower cost upfront and as there's been a huge amount of change in my (and Jays) life recently, we have other upcoming costs which will take priority! :D


However, once I feel comfortable enough, and once I think we're likely to do a holiday outside of the UK, I will definitely do a PADI course too, if nothing else than to add a bit of diversity to my training.


Much like with Fireworks, I really enjoy the chance to work with as many different teams as I can as I ALWAYS learn something new from them; I never want to get comfortable in hobbies which have a level of risk. :shock:

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Just to add a third element to the mix, I learned with NAUI, National Association of Underwater Instructors, in NYC a few years ago prior to heading for Martinique on hols. The main advantage to this I found vs say learning in the resort, was that the open water dives in New York were brutal - cold water, leaky wetsuits and near zero visibility, and seasickness (luckily on the boat and not trying to blow chunks through my regulator). So after qualifying in these conditions, diving in Martinique was a breeze.

However I had previously done a BSAC taster as a kid at school and for this we had to dump all our kit in the pool, jump in and put it all on, mask last. We also had to swim a few lengths underwater with tanks but without the mask, and learn basic first aid. The mask exercises were invaluable when I was buddied with an absolute throbber who managed to knock my mask off in the refresher buddy breathing in the resort. Thankfully I never had to put the first aid knowledge to use.

I subsequently did a refresher with BSAC and found them to be very thorough.

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...the open water dives in New York were brutal - cold water, leaky wetsuits and near zero visibility, and seasickness.

 

Just add the danger of being chopped up by the propeller of a passing car ferry and that sounds just like diving in the Channel! :lol:

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