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Getting SDI certification and open water dives

First Post
I want to get my SCUBA certification this spring, and the dive shop that has been recommended to me does SDI (not PADI). I am not that familiar with SDI. I was hoping to take my coursework here and do my 4 open water dives on referral at a Club Med.

Is there a Club Med in the Caribbean/ Mexico that will do an SDI certification? Or perhaps a dive shop near a Club Med?

I have previously dove at Turkoise, and would consider going there again, but I am also interested in checking out new clubs. I am interested in Cancun (like ruins, too).

Don't have any children, so I am prefer more adult oriented clubs.
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605 Posts
Hi dcsun.

The only adult oriented club in the North American zone is Turks. Turks and Columbus Isle are the only dedicated dive centers that CM has. Although there is diving available at some of the other clubs, it is run as an excursion and are at a separate facility, outside the club.

That being said, you can do your confinded water training and academic training at home and do your four ocean oper water dives as a referral at CM. Unfortunately, your certification will end up being a PADI certification; which is not bad considering PADI is the worlds largest certifiying agency and is recognized around the world. After you do your academic training and confined water training, your SDI Instructor can issue you what is called a "Universal Referral Form". This form is recognized by PADI Instructors as evidence of your training. When you go for your Open Water training dives, expect that your PADI Instructor will have you do some skills in the pool first, prior to you going on your training dives, to be sure of your skills and to check out some particular skills, i.e. Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent, etc. to be sure you have practice to perform them in Open Water. After this session, your Instructor will take you on your Open Water Dives.

The PADI Instructors that are a part of Club Med, only can do PADI certifications; that is why you will have a PADI certification after you complete all of your training. No worry though because after you get back home, you can still do additional training with your SDI dive shop, earning SDI ratings in addition to your PADI Open Water Diver rating. Oh...they will take your money for equipment purchases too.

When you go to the Club, be sure to have your Universal Referral form, any other evidence of your training at home, (i.e. logbook etc.) and a copy of a certificate of health from your doctor for diving. Since you are from the US, CM will have you fill out a medical form asking info, so the Drs. note is not "required"; however, it is a good idea to go see a physician prior to diving just to make sure that this is a sport that you are physically able to do. Keep copies of everything and bring them with you.

Congratulations on deciding to take this step. You will find much enjoyment and reward from SCUBA diving. Either club, Columbus or Turks, has spectacular diving conditions and you are sure to have a good time. While Turks is the only adult oriented club that offers this type of training, Columbus is pretty spread out and you don't notice the children as much as some of the other clubs.

Please note that you will need to book your referral training at the Club itself when you arrive. There are no pre-paid packages for referral certifications. You can buy dive packages pre-paid, but you might want to wait on that also until you have a chance to talk with your instructor at the Club.

Tap back here if I can answer any more questions and/or have the particular Club that you are going to. I can then give you specifics as to that Club.
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