Best Answer: This is a touchy subject and generates a lot of heated discussion on diver forums like scubaboard. There are lots of differing opinions on which agency is "best" and why. I have my own opinions and can list several differences between these two agencies (and started to in this reply) but I don't think that Yahoo! Answers is necessarily the best forum for such a detailed discussion. So instead of a long in-depth answer I decided to keep this relatively short and general. My personal opinions will still tinge this answer, but I'll make it obvious when I'm just stating my opinion and will try to keep that to a minimum.
The basic diving certification offered by PADI is called Open Water Diver, and the basic certification offered by NAUI is called Scuba Diver. For all practical purposes, the two certifications are considered equivalent so as a potential diver looking to get certified just so you can go diving somewhere there is no real difference if your card comes from PADI or NAUI. Either one will get you air fills or a space on a charter boat. One of the biggest differences between NAUI and PADI at this level is that NAUI requires the student to learn the basics of rescuing an unconscious diver where PADI does not. However, for the most part you will learn essentially the same practical skills in a PADI course as you would in a NAUI course.
PADI instructors are required to follow a fairly strict, regimented program when teaching their courses, while NAUI instructors are allowed to be flexible
and are encouraged to exceed standards. IN MY OPINION, this means that NAUI training has the POTENTIAL to be more thorough than the equivalent PADI course but much depends upon the instructor.
NAUI courses (at least the ones I teach) also not only cover the "hows" of diving but also tries to cover the "whys" behind the "hows'. NAUI's motto is "Dive Safety Through Education" and my interpretation is that a diver who not only understands how to do something but also the reasons behind it can make better decisions than one who only understands the "how". IN MY OPINION, PADI training does not spend as much time covering the "whys" behind the "hows". Therefore, IN GENERAL, I believe NAUI divers are more likely to be better trained than their PADI equivalents. Much depends on the individual instructor and dive center.
As a whole, the two agencies are more similar than they are different. That is not too surprising, since PADI was started by a NAUI instructor (Ralph Erickson) with an equipment salesman (John Cronin). IN MY OPINION, their biggest difference is in their philosophy of dive training, with PADI approaching it as a for-profit organization with a focus on market share while NAUI approaches it as a non-profit organization with a focus on safety. (Aside: Yes, the NAUI training organization remains non-profit; the NAUI Services Group is for-profit but is not involved with training standards).
If you want to learn more, you can find lots of information about each agency at their websites: http://www.naui.org and http://www.padi.com
Source(s): NAUI Instructor
moviebuff · 5 years ago