What is the difference between PADI and SSI?

Essentially, there is no difference at all between PADI and SSI; both are just a “brand” of dive learning and certification which were developed to provide divers with a “standard” of learning and professionalism. Much like Coke and Pepsi are both cola soft drinks, with a slightly different taste, so it is with PADI and SSI diving.

PADI – the Professional Association of Diving Instructors – and SSI – Scuba Schools International – both offer internationally recognised diving certifications, qualifications and licenses.

Cairns, being the best place to visit the Great Barrier Reef, attracts divers and want to be divers from around the world. It is home to some of the best and most professional learn to dive centres in the world, offering both PADI and SSI courses to suit beginners and advanced divers.

Qualified PADI and SSI scuba instructors and dive masters are on hand to teach the skills you need, to dive safely and comfortably on the Great Barrier Reef. Both PADI and SSI have dive manuals, in a range of languages, which provide the practical knowledge you need as a scuba diver.

How to choose? The good news is that there is no right or wrong choice to make. Cairns is a safe place to learn to scuba dive. PADI and SSI standards are internationally recognised and Cairns professional dive centres provide training from the beginners, right up to those wanting to learn Advanced, Adventure and Stress and Rescue diving.

Cairns Dive Adventures lists a range of products available, so you can easily review duration, price and qualification, selecting the best operator and tour to suit your itinerary and budget.

Lion Fish Swing with a School of Fish under Fitzroy Island Jetty

Cairns Dive Centre: Advanced Dive Course

Take it to the next level with a PADI Advance Dive Course. 3 day liveaboard - must have Open Water Certification. Most things included. Day trips to Fitzroy Island and reef.
Scuba Diver Returning to Boat!

Cairns Dive Centre: PADI Open Water Course

Learn to dive in Cairns and get a PADI Open Water Dive License. Courses can be booked in 4-5-6 day options, so you can tailor to suit budget & itinerary.
Pro-Dive Cairns learn to dive course with scuba divers

Pro Dive Cairns: PADI Open Water Dive Course

Learn to dive with one of Cairns' most respected PADI Dive Instruction Centres. 4 and 5 day courses, allowing you to tailor your course to suit your budget & itinerary. PADI Open Water Certification.
PADI Learnt o dive course divers

Deep Sea Divers Den: PADI Open Water Dive Course

Become a certified Open Water scuba diver today! Courses start daily and can be booked in a range of options (budget & liveaboard) to suit your itinerary & budget. Min 4 day course.
Scuba Diver with Giant Mauri Wrasse Fish

Deep Sea Divers Den: Advanced Dive Course

Take your scuba diving skills to the next level with an Advanced Open Water Course. Liveaboard trips in 2 day / 1 night and 3 day / 2 night packages, includes most things.
Scuba Divers with Sea Turtle.

Pro Dive: Advanced Open Water

Get your PADI Advanced Open Water Certification on this 3 day / 2 night trip. Must already have Open Water Dive License. Includes accommodation, training, meals and more.
Dive Training Onboard

Sea Quest: 2 Day Open Water Referral

Sea Quest offers a 2 day referral dive course on a comfortable 24-metre catamaran departing Cairns for the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Offering a total of four(4) dives.
Scuba Divers with Anemone fish

Pro Dive Cairns: 3 Day 2 Night Ocean Referral

Pro Dive Cairns Ocean Referral Course offers nine (9) dives in total on the Great Barrier Reef. Book today to complete your PADI Gold Open Water Certification.
Scuba Divers in the new Port Douglas Training Centre

Quicksilver Dive – Learn to Dive Port Douglas

Quicksilver Dive are the newest learn to dive company in Port Douglas. A state of the art dive training centre and day boats visiting the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs!
Scuba Diver with Sea Turtle

Down Under Dive: Advanced Open Water Course

Down Under Cruise & Dive offer a 2-Day PADI Advanced Dive Course. Enjoy two 1-day trips on the reef! Starts Tuesdays and Fridays only! All dives are on the Reef!

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Learn to Dive Information

Click the links below to find out more.

Do You Need Help Choosing?

Do you need help choosing a trip?

Can't decide? We have personally been on every Cairns reef and diving trip. We can help you choose the best tour, to suit your experience and budget.



Cairns Underwater Camera Hire Service

Spend over $550.00 AUD on your Great Barrier Reef tour with us and receive the latest Digital Underwater Camera Hire. Take amazing High-Resolution images and 1080 HD Video.

Not available for any tours to the Islands as fine white sand damages the seals on the cameras and makes them leak!

You need to come into our shop located on the Cairns Esplanade the day before departure to pick up the camera before 5:30 pm. You also need to supply your own SD Camera Card and drop the camera off back at our shop before 6:00pm.