Last Chance for Exclusive 50th Anniversary Member Cards

Some things come around only once in a lifetime: Halley’s Comet and PADI 50th Anniversary certification cards for example. Only PADI Members with a reasonable expectation of being alive in 2061 have a chance of seeing the comet, but everyone reading this can get an exclusive, members-only black 50th Anniversary card, as long as they act before the end of the year. In addition to the card’s unquestionable cachet there are a number of other reasons to replace your current card.


First (those few who expect to see the comet can skip this one), if you’ve received a reminder from Facebook to update your profile pic because it’s been five years since you uploaded it, it’s time to do the same with the picture you have on file for your cards. This helps make sure you’re recognized when asked for proof of certification, and avoids potential embarrassment when leading groups to remote destinations. If you haven’t received such a notification, hold up your card and look in a mirror to see if you can recognize yourself.


Second, lead by example: If you update your card, and let people know, customers will tend to do likewise. In particular, make sure you have and use your eCard (renewed members have access to free eCards if they have a ScubaEarth account). Don’t forget that there’s a revenue stream associated with replacement cards if you process the card request.

Third, do something good for the aquatic environment – there’s a special 50th Anniversary Project AWARE card too, and you know the donation associated with each one goes to good use.

The black 50th Anniversary PADI Member cards have been so popular that they ran out of inventory three months ahead of schedule; a new order should make sure there are enough for the rest of the year, but this is really your last chance to get these special cards. Go to the PADI Pros’ Site for more information and to order.

PADI 25 Millionth Certification Contest


It’s exciting times at PADI, with nearly 25 million certifications being issued over the last 50 years.

To celebrate 50 years as The Way the World Learns to Dive®, we’re giving away a dream dive trip to the diver who receives certification number 25,000,000!

This milestone is expected to happen sometime around December 2016 or January 2017. The lucky individual who is issued the 25 millionth certification (and his/her buddy) will win a dream dive vacation to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

PADI Instructors won’t be left out, either. The PADI Member who certifies the 25 millionth student will also win a trip to the Great Barrier Reef!

Watch for further news and the best way to make sure your hat is in the ring is to just keep on training confident and competent divers. That’s what brought us to this incredible milestone in the first place. Don’t forget to let divers know they’re part of something big and important, and take pride in issuing the next 25 million PADI certifications.


PADI 50th Anniversary Contest Winners

2016 marks PADI’s 50th anniversary. We’ve loved our time in the diving community and are proud to continue to serve our divers as best we can. So to celebrate this milestone, we held a contest asking you all to submit photos, videos, and stories to share what you love most about diving. We were delighted to receive nearly 6,000 entries from divers all over the world and loved seeing the ocean through so many of your eyes.

After weeks of going through all the entries, we were finally able to make the difficult decision of picking our top three winners in each category. We’ll start with our first place winners:

First Place Photo: The Pit by Tom St. George
This photo of the famous Mexican cenote is absolutely breathtaking. We love the silhouette of the diver against the unique backdrop of this freshwater pool. Tom wins a GoPro HERO4 package!


First Place Video: Perhentian Islands by Alex Cheok
This video showcases the Perhentian Islands so well that it convinced a few of us to add this to our future dive vacation bucket list. And we can’t get enough of that clown fish! Congratulations to Alex who wins an Aqua Lung CORE regulator.

First Place Story: By Leda Monsma
Leda’s determination and courage shown in becoming a PADI diver inspired us and brought smiles to our faces. We’re proud to be associated with such strong divers, and are excited to share this story with our community, which wins Leda a Suunto D4i Novo dive computer.
Leda Monsma Story

Congratulations to our first place winners! Our second and third place finalists also had great submissions:

Photo Finalists

Second Place Photo:  Photographing a Shark by Brian Burnett
Sharks are always a crowd favorite – and this one wins Brian an awesome PADI swag bag.
Photographing a Shark

Third Place Photo: Two Humpback Whales by Sergio Nogueira Jr
We can’t help but smile whenever we look at this photo – everyone loves whales! Sergio wins Vivid-Pix photo editing software.


Video Finalists

Second Place Video: Turks and Caicos by K Ian Wells
We can’t get enough of these videos that showcase the area so well. Turks and Caicos is an amazing place, and Ian’s video captures it perfectly. Ian takes away a fantastic PADI swag bag.

Third Place Video: Lembongan by Kai Barlow.
Winning him a copy of Vivid-Pix photo editing software, Kai took this video to show off the spot where he did his Divemaster program. Sign us up!

Story Finalists

Second Place Story: by Amy Kendall
We can all relate to the feeling of being connected to other divers, regardless of the languages we speak. Amy wins some top PADI swag!


Third Place Story: by Danielle Downe
This story of reconnecting with her mother through diving is so touching. We’re glad Danielle has found a way to be close to a lost loved one and wins Vivid-Pix photo editing software.

DanielleDowne-storydive logs






With thanks to our contest sponsors, Aqua Lung, GoPro, Suunto and Vivid-Pix:


Congratulations to all of our winners, and remember you can continue to celebrate PADI’s 50th Anniversary by purchasing your very own Limited Edition 50th Anniversary replacement certification card from here.

PADI Through the Decades: the 2010s


This is the final installment of our 50th Anniversary series – PADI Through the Decades. You can get caught up here: 60s, 70s, 80s90s and 2000s.

Today, PADI is going stronger than ever. The 2010s have especially seen a strong focus on the community, with Tec and Rec finding common ground, ScubaEarth connecting divers around the world, and Women’s Dive Day encouraging more women to jump into diving.


2011: Rebreather and Sidemount

As tec diving gained popularity, even more divers wanted to expand their scuba opportunities using emerging technologies. To bridge the gap between recreational and technical diving, PADI developed both Tec and Recversions of rebreather and sidemount training courses. Before 2011, rebreather training had been primarily Tec-oriented, but recreational divers were now able to use new, highly-automated rebreathers, bringing a previously niche area of diving to the mainstream industry. Many divers and underwater photographers prefer rebreathers for their longer bottom times, lack of bubbles and silence. Tec diving similarly influenced other recreational areas, like sidemount, which traveled from cave and technical diving roots into the recreational sphere with benefits of comfort, convenience and flexibility.


2015: Women’s Dive Day

The first PADI Women’s Dive Day took place on 18 July 2015. Women’s Dive Day was created with the goal of getting as many women as possible, at every level, diving on the same day. Divers used to be almost exclusively men, but now women make up about a third of certified divers. With Women’s Dive Day, PADI hopes to encourage even more women to dive and keep that number growing. The inaugural event featured celebrations across 65 countries and all seven continents, with more than 6,000 divers in attendance. The second PADI Women’s Dive Day is coming up on 16 July 2016. Make sure you register your events to take part of the fun!

Thanks to all our PADI Members across the world for being part of the PADI story. Over the past 50 years we’ve shared an incredible journey of experiences, connections, growth and success as the world’s leader in diver training, and we look forward to what comes next over the next 50 years.

Join Us in Celebrating PADI’s 50th Anniversary


This year marks PADI’s 50th Anniversary, and to help us celebrate this milestone, we’re calling on PADI Professionals to share their favorite diving moment from the past 50 years.

Enter your favorite diving moment by uploading a photo, video or story and you could win one of these incredible prizes: an Aqua Lung CORE Regulator, a GoPro HERO4 package, a Suunto D4i Novo Dive Computer, Vivid-Pix photo editing software or a PADI eLearning Gift Pass/Gift Bag.



You  could share…

  • An incredible marine life encounter
  • A memorable experience with your students
  • How and why you became a PADI Pro

Make sure you get your customers and student divers involved, too! They can share their top underwater memories or simply tell us what being a PADI diver means to them.

Click here to enter via the Contest Page
Tag your entries on Twitter or Instagram using #PADI50Years


Enter Now!

Contest Logos


PADI Through the Decades: the 2000s

This is the fifth post in our 50th anniversary series. Make sure to catch up with the history of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

PADI entered the 2000s with plenty of momentum from the previous century. From 2000-2010, PADI expanded their programs to cater to an even wider audience, from children who wanted to try scuba to advanced divers ready to push boundaries.

2000: PADI TecRec
Technical diving started gaining more and more attention during the late 90s and 2000s. Tec diving uses specialized equipment and procedures to take divers beyond the limits of recreational diving. Many divers were ready to push the limits of diving and to explore places nobody else had been. Continuing from its research and debate contributions in the previous decade, PADI launched the first tec diver training programs based on solid educational tenets. Tec Deep Diver, Tec Trimix Diver, and Gas Blender became the first three PADI TecRec training program. Tec diving has continued to grow from there, and PADI has stayed closely involved. There are now 18 classes available through PADI TecRec.


2001: PADI Seal Team
In 2001, PADI expanded their programs so that kids could get a taste of diving. After extensive research and development on children and diving, the PADI Seal Team was released, aimed at getting eight to ten-year-olds experience with scuba. In addition to learning the basics, there are also specialty AquaMissions like wreck diving, environmental awareness and more. Alongside the program, PADI also released tools to make training children easier and safer, including Children and Scuba Diving: A Resource Guide for Instructors and Parents. With these steps, PADI made it possible for more families to bond through this unique and exciting experience. Families like the Jenss’ love diving together, and PADI even has several young Junior Master Scuba Divers, like 13-year-old Charlotte Burns.


2005: eRDP launched
The first major update to the Recreational Dive Planner since its introduction came in 2005; the electronic RDP. Three years later, the multilevel eRDPml was released, which brought the multilevel capability of The Wheel into an electronic format. Even with the rise of dive computers, this dive planner has remained popular with divers for their training and beyond.

2007: PADI launches eLearning
Digital learning became more and more popular as technology advanced. Continuing from where the CD-ROM version of the 90s left off, PADI created the Open Water Diver Online course. This was the first eLearning course and first eBook version of the PADI Open Water Manual. Divers could now start working on their certification anywhere, anytime, at their own pace. eLearning has become incredibly popular, with more and more divers choosing it over conventional classes. Divers can now take many of the PADI programs online, from Open Water Diver to the Instructor Development Course.


Stay tuned for the final installment of our 50th anniversary blog series – the 2010s. Coming next month.

PADI Through the Decades: the 1990s


This is the fourth post in our 50th Anniversary series. Make sure to catch up on the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

The 1990s were a period of expansion for PADI. This decade opened up independent study and new courses, growing everything in the PADI library.

1991: Video support for PADI courses
Instructional videos allowing for the era of independent study rolled out in 1991, starting with the PADI Open Water Diver Video on VHS. With this, PADI became the first training organization with a full range of diver training videos. By 1999, all core programs were already on DVD and older videos were getting second editions. Video support remains one of PADI’s core strengths and is a major part of all diver training.

PADI’s explosive growth from the 70s hadn’t lost its steam. In 1992, PADI became the first dive organization to issue over 500,000 certifications in a single year. Two years later, PADI would issue its 5,000,000th certification. This growth goes hand in hand with PADI’s role in dive research; PADI’s success increased its ability to contribute to dive studies, and its leadership role in research increased its popularity among divers.

1995: PADI CD-ROMOWDiverVideo
In the mid-90s, PADI launched interactive software as part of their system. Founder John Cronin stated that he hoped to reach 30,000,000 computers through a deal to put PADI on Windows 95. To promote the CD-ROM launch, Cronin interviewed with aquaCORPs magazine, and even appeared on the cover.

Computer-based training is common now, but twenty years ago PADI was the one paving the way. And while the Windows 95 initiative was only moderately successful, the focus on computer programming started the path towards today’s eLearning.

1995: PADI Enriched Air Contributions
PADI continued its contributions to dive research with an emphasis on recreational enriched air. In 1995, PADI released its Enriched Air Diver course, cementing recreational EANx as an industry staple. The PADI Enriched Air Diver course also helped the slowly growing tec diving industry. PADI also contributed to the 1992 Enriched Air Workshop and worked closely with the Underwater Hyperbaric Medical Society to help research and increase diver safety. Today, enriched air is widely used and has become the most popular PADI specialty.

1997: Artificial Reefs
Throughout the 90s, the Canadian branch of PADI worked to assist artificial reef development around the country. From 1991-1997, PADI Canada was heavily involved in these efforts, and still takes opportunities to work with artificial reef projects. Most recently, PADI worked alongside the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia to sink the HMCS Annapolis on April 4, 2015.

social_50th_timeline_90s_1000x667Follow along with us this year, as we’ll be sharing our story through the decades. Continuing with the next installment – the 2000s.


PADI Through the Decades: the 1980s


This is the third article in our 50th Anniversary series. Missed the first two? Get caught up on the 60s and 70s.

The 1980s were when PADI truly became a leader in dive research. By taking the initiative to study diving, PADI was able to create new texts, tools, and course structures that continue to benefit the dive industry.

1981: Pool Dives

In 1981, PADI became the first scuba program to have new divers use scuba gear during their first confined water/pool dives. At the time it was considered bizarre to start divers with scuba rather than freediving. Now it has become an industry standard, and the “Dive Today” approach has continued to prove itself.

1984: Rescue Diver Training

In 1984, the PADI Rescue Diver course and the PADI Rescue Diver Manual brought instructional-designed rescue training into diving’s core courses. Prior to this, the industry considered it a specialty or crammed it into lower level training, diluting the focus on it. By bringing it into the core course flow, rescue was able to get the attention it deserved.

Additionally, offering the course after Advanced Open Water fit into the PADI philosophy of building skills gradually as the diver is ready for them, ensuring that divers already have the basics down and can truly understand and succeed with their rescue skills.

1988: The Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving

Seeing a gap in the knowledge resources available for avid recreational divers, in 1988 PADI published the Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving. This was the first comprehensive informational resource aimed specifically at recreational diving, with sections on dive physics, physiology, the environment, equipment, and special activities. Today the Encyclopedia is in its third edition.


1988: The Recreational Dive Planner

In 1987, PADI funded the development of a new decompression model specific to no stop decompression diving. The result was the Recreational Dive Planner (RDP), introduced by PADI in 1988 as a table and The Wheel. These were the first dive tables created specifically for no stop recreational diving. Today, electronic versions of the RDP remain available and popular.

1989: Project AWARE

At the end of the decade, PADI established the Project AWARE (Aquatic World Awareness, Responsibility and Education) initiative to increase environmental awareness through diver education. Project AWARE has grown over the past two decades, evolving into today’s Project AWARE Foundation. Together, PADI and the Project AWARE Foundation unite divers as a global movement working to protect our oceans.

The 1980s were the beginning of PADI’s consistent contributions to research and development in the dive industry. Follow along with us this year, as we’ll be sharing our story through the decades. Continuing with next month’s installment – the 1990s.


Beneath the Sea Presents 2016 Legend of the Sea Award to PADI


“With pride, honor, and a sense of history knowing this is the continuation of tradition, Beneath the Sea presents their 2016 Legend of the Sea award to PADI at 50.” With that announcement, PADI became the first organization to receive the Legend of the Sea recognition from the Beneath the Sea dive and travel show. Until now, this honor has only been bestowed upon individuals, but with PADI’s storied history – and as it celebrates its golden anniversary this year – today’s global leader in diver education is a natural recipient for the award.

“For PADI to receive the Legends of the Sea recognition is truly an honor,” says PADI Worldwide President and CEO Drew Richardson. “But, this recognition isn’t just for the company, it’s for every PADI Member around the world. That’s who makes up the heart and soul of PADI and I applaud them for their accomplishments over the past five decades. They’re the ones who have made PADI synonymous with scuba diving and the reason why consumers today are saying, ‘I want my PADI certification.’”

Beneath the Sea bestows the Legend of the Sea award based upon personal vision, drive to follow that vision and the dedicated pursuit of a need or goal no one else may even see or recognize. Fifty years ago, the PADI legend was born out of the desire to find a safer and easier way for people to learn how to breathe underwater. In 1966, dive equipment salesman John Cronin and professional educator Ralph Erickson – both frustrated with the lack of professionalism in the industry – got together to do something about it. Together, they created a business plan – and the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) was born.

DNW-50th-anniversary-300x169By the end of its first decade, PADI created its iconic diver-holding-a-torch logo, introduced recreational diving’s first certification requirements, produced photo-bearing certification cards and commenced to publishing The Undersea Journal. In the decades that followed, PADI created modular courses and courseware, redefined dive planning with the introduction of the Recreational Dive Planner, and established the PADI Retail and Resort Association to provide up-to-the-minute business development and marketing tools for PADI Members. The new millennium has ushered in PADI’s digital age: PADI eLearning® and PADI Touch® products are best in class, the Dive Shop Locator is the most popular way to find a dive center or resort, ScubaEarth® virtually inspires divers to go diving 24/7,  and the PADI App and PADI Library deliver diving to an ever increasingly mobile world.

However, PADI’s influence extends far beyond these educational milestones. “PADI isn’t just in the diver education business – we have the rare privilege of transforming lives by opening up a world filled with adventure and exploration to anyone ready to embrace it,” says Richardson. “Moreover, as new divers discover the wonders of the underwater world and seasoned divers witness man’s impact on aquatic ecosystems, they are moved to take action. To a diver, the ocean is my ocean and its protection is personal.” As PADI looks forward into the next 50 years and the issuance of its 25th millionth diver certification later in 2016, it’s with the hope that every new diver joins a growing movement of aquatic advocates who will lend their voices, votes and vigor to caring for the ocean.

The Legends of the Sea ceremony will take place during the 2016 Beneath the Sea Show, America’s largest consumer scuba and dive travel show, 1-3 April 2016 at the Meadowland Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey. The show provides attendees with opportunities to connect face-to-face with a variety of industry stakeholders, including dive centers, dive professionals, equipment manufacturers, ocean experts, and new and veteran divers. Visit for details.

PADI Through the Decades: The 1970s


This is the second post in our 50th Anniversary series. You can find the first post here.

The 1970s were years of explosive growth for PADI®. Over the decade, PADI developed innovative new courses, gained credibility in the dive world, had huge increases in diver certifications, and more. The 1960s were when it began, but the 70s were when PADI truly defined itself.

1973: Master Scuba Diver
In 1973, PADI introduced the Master Scuba Diver™ rank, the scuba industry’s first non-instructional rating. It was awarded to Senior Advanced Divers who had completed six specialty ratings. At the time there weren’t as many specialties to choose from, but they included ones that are still popular today: Underwater Photography, Cave Diver, Ice Diver, Wreck Diver, Search and Recovery Diver, Deep Diver, Research Diver, and Equipment Specialist.

1978: PADI Scuba Course and Modern Instruction
While it seems standard today, the modular scuba program was revolutionary to diving when PADI launched it in 1978. For the first time, instructional design coupled with integrated manuals, audiovisuals, tests, and instructor guides came to diver training. The new course focused on practical skills, breaking away from the industry focus on excessive theoretical knowledge and military-like standards. With the introduction of the new PADI course, diving saw immediate and steady increases in the number of divers, yet a fall in diver fatality rates. Learning to dive was more fun, efficient, and effective than ever.


1979: PADI Japan Office Established
The first PADI overseas regional office was established in Tokyo, Japan in 1979. This evolved from the PADI Sensui Shido Kyokai (Diving Instruction Council) that was created to help translate materials and improve communication across languages. The Japan office would be the first of many worldwide developments as the PADI family expanded internationally.

1979: PADI Certifications Skyrocket
Certification rates boomed throughout the ’70s, thanks largely to the PADI System of Diver Education, and boosted by advances in dive gear options and design. By the end of the decade, PADI had gone from 25,000 certifications a year to more than 100,000 in 1979. Today, PADI averages more than 900,000 certifications annually, with more than 24 million total certifications.

The 1970s marked the era in which the PADI organization gained its tremendous momentum. Follow along with us this year, as we’ll be sharing our story through the decades. Continuing with next month’s installment – the 1980s, a decade of research and conservation.