Scuba Schools International (SSI) Celebrate 50 Years

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SSI, Scuba Schools International, turns 50 years old in 2020. To celebrate this special anniversary, SSI has great things planned that all dive enthusiasts can benefit from and enjoy.

MyDiveGuide powered by SSI – free dive travel guide

SSI has launched the world’s largest dive site database, MyDiveGuide. This database is a smart online dive travel guide created by divers for divers, where we connect dive sites, and their potential wildlife encounters, with SSI Training Centers worldwide. With this, SSI aims to make it easy for any diver to explore the most exciting dive adventures online.

50th Anniversary Program – free eBook on diving

To continue its 50th-anniversary celebration, SSI has launched a free digital course full of entertaining stories and exciting information about diving over the last 50 years, from SSI’s perspective. All divers with anMySSI account have acces to this program.

50 years of high-quality scuba diving training

Very little real substance was happening with scuba diving training before 1967 when a small group of store owners, led by John Gaffney, formed NASDS, the National Association of Scuba Diving Schools. The following is the story of what happened in the 50 years that followed and how SSI became the largest professional dive business-based training agency in the world.

SSI was founded in the United States in 1970 with a clear vision from its founders: to offer a more comprehensive dive training solution to retailers in the industry. Today SSI has exceeded that goal with more than 3300 Training Centers worldwide and more than 60 different training programs in over 40 languages. These training programs span multiple categories, such as Recreational Scuba Diving, Extended Range, Freediving, Mermaid, Swim, and Lifeguard.

SSI in the Seventies

SSI’s growth in the 1970s set the foundation for the philosophy of instruction and the instructional system SSI uses today.

In 1973, the Jeppesen-Sanderson company of Denver, Colorado, realized that there was a need for a scuba diving textbook. After many financial challenges, and with the support of Citizen Printing Company in Fort Collins and others involved, SSI produced its first Instructor Manual.

Building its own 3000 square foot office building in 1977 kicked off a season of significant growth and commitment for SSI. With a new permanent home, the development of new products and strategies was possible, leading more and more people in the dive industry to recognize the quality of SSI’s services. In this new era, SSI filled many needs the industry had and introduced multiple products that were crucial for the operation of dive businesses. However, the best was yet to come.

SSI in the Eighties

In the 1980s, SSI continued to develop more programs and started refining the ones they already had.

1981 presented the opportunity to expand to Singapore. After two years of hard work, the first international SSI Regional Center was born.

SSI’s most significant period of growth began in 1984 when Ed Christini joined the team. His experience as an SSI field rep and extensive retail background where invaluable as he understood the system well.

In the mid-eighties, SSI had the idea of developing videos to support the written materials, becoming the first training agency to tackle full-motion video to support our programs, as we knew video content was the future.

SSI in the Nineties

In the 1990s, SSI developed one of its most outstanding products, the Open Water Diver program. Along with the Instructor Manual, this program became the foundation of the SSI teaching system. This was a defining moment for SSI, as it transformed our educational system.

Due to innovative product development, SSI now had the most advanced teaching system on the market. We were the only agency with a complete training system, including full-motion video, text, workbook, and instructor manual. SSI became the leader in the industry and one of the most important certification agencies around the world.

More ambitious projects and innovations happened in the years that followed, such as the Open Water Diver revision, which included a change to the textbook style, merging of the NASDS and SSI programs, and production of the industry’s first training DVD.

One of SSI’s most significant accomplishments includes earning the American Council on Education (ACE) approval of four courses, validating the quality of SSI’s instructional design methodology and educational materials.

SSI in the Millennial Years

SSI partnered with a primary equipment manufacturer, HEAD, in 2014. With this acquisition, SSI has become one of the most innovative and fastest-growing training agencies in the world with equipment, training, and travel as its most prominent pillars.

SSI was the first to become a digital-based training agency in 2006 with our state-of-the-art education programs and has been fully digital since 2015. Our goal is to continue to meet customers’ needs through our online-based system.

SSI Today

Since 1970, Scuba Schools International (SSI) has been the world’s largest professional dive business-based training agency, with over 50,000+ SSI Professionals in 130+ countries. For 50 years, SSI has provided high-quality training in Recreational Scuba, Extended Range, Rebreather Diving, Freediving, Swim, and Lifeguard programs, from beginner to Instructor Trainer, with a Global ISO certification.

Thank you for being part of SSI, enjoy our FREE Anniversary eBook!

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About Author

For more than 45 years, SSI has provided training, scuba diving certification, and educational resources for divers, dive instructors, dive centers and resorts around the world. Started in 1970, SSI has expanded to include more than 30 Service Centers, is represented in more than 110 countries with over 2,800 International locations, and has materials printed in more than 30 languages. SSI is the name to trust in the diving world, and we attribute that success to our uncompromising standards and focused methodology.

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