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Dive Training Agency Apps Review (Watch Videos)

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With mobile apps being the most convenient way for many people to keep up with their interests anywhere and anytime, it’s not surprising that divers and prospective divers are looking to access information from their training agencies via apps as well, even before the time of COVID-19!  This has not gone unnoticed by the training agencies, many of whom have come out with apps and e-learning to meet the increasing demand. There are now easy to use apps for dive logs, shop recommendations and e-learning, perfect for divers traveling around the world to enjoy their sport.

Here at Bimble In The Blue we have tested out the various apps to see what’s hot and what’s not on behalf of Scubaverse.  Our first task was to see what was available from the main training agencies: PADI, SSI, BSAC, SDI, RAID and NAUI.

SSI, SDI, and RAID all have apps with access to e-learning.  The NAUI app has basic functions but no e-learning.  PADI has multiple apps and BSAC and SDI don’t currently offer mobile apps.


SSI

The MySSI app has SSI Digital Learning materials, certification cards, a digital dive log, news and a dive centre locator.  On opening the app the main page is attractive and easy to follow with all functions listed in a drop-down menu.

Some of the sections require a login to unlock all the content including academic training materials for Try Scuba, Try Freediving, snorkelling and Scuba Diver programmes and the Blue Oceans environmental awareness program, it will also give you access to digital certification card sections, allowing qualified divers a permanent record of their qualifications (from any agency).  Registering is free of charge and requires a name, email address and DOB, your then choose a dive centre to be affiliated with, you can have multiple centres or change at a later date.

The tables tab has safety accident management and diving tables which we found to be a very sensible and useful feature.  The digital dive log also includes a Buddies tab to connect with fellow SSI divers. The Events and More section features news stories from the SSI blog(with a nice mix of scuba-related subjects), Videos (a mix of how to, training, and general dive interest content), and Events (which strangely enough did not list any information for us).  Finally, the app has a feedback option to comment on its design or technical issues as well as training course reviews.  We were generally impressed with the layout and all-in-one nature of the MySSI app.

Things We Liked:

  •    Lots of useful features, well laid out and easy to navigate
  •    Dive Center Locator was intuitive and fast to use
  •    The app is a true one-stop shop, with e-Learning and other features all in the same place
  •    Feedback option
  •    Good quality training videos and content
  •    Website registration is easy and straightforward

Things We Didn’t Like:

  • The Events and More section was not as organised, with some content in random order, which stood out when compared with the rest of the app features.

RAID

The LearnToScuba app is a simple but well-organised app for RAID divers.  Once a website registration process is completed, users can log into the app to use a variety of features.  These include a tab for ongoing e-learning courses, a digital dive logbook, a section for digital documents and forms, a link to e-cards, and a personal profile.  All of these can be accessed via the app or on the RAID website as the data is synced.  Navigating the app with its user-friendly blue on white theme was very easy.

Things We Liked:

  •   The app interface is uncluttered and very easy to navigate
  •   There is a good variety of useful charts and tables in the documents tab

Things We Didn’t Like:

  •   The app has no dive centre locator
  •   The website registration process didn’t work for us the first time around
  •   No landscape mode!

NAUI

The NAUI app is fairly basic but straightforward. Besides the Home page, there are tabs for News, Profile, Certifications, Locator, and Dive Tools.

We thought the news section was nicely focused on NAUI-related events and happenings.  The Profile tab lets you update your personal account information.  Certifications tab displays any NAUI credentials you might have.  The locator is snappy and lets you search for dive centres or dive professionals (in table format … as there is no map included), as well as verify a NAUI dive pro by member number or name.  The Dive Tools section includes breathing gas calculators, dive tables, and an individual dive log (with manual entry required).  The breathing gas calculators in particular were very handy to have and intuitive to use with sliders.  Use of the app requires a registration on the NAUI website, which was quick and easy.  There is no e-learning functionality in the app … that is handled through the NAUI website.

Things We Liked:

  •   The app is streamlined and very easy to navigate
  •   The dive tools were useful

Things We Didn’t Like:

  •   The app functionality is limited compared with other agencies (i.e. no integrated e-learning)

PADI

Unlike other agencies, PADI offers multiple apps with different functionality.  The basic app is called PADI – Scuba Diving Essentials, while the PADI Library is the repository for all e-Learning classes.  PADI Training is for professionals completing e-learning for the IDC.

The PADI – Scuba Diving Essentials is essentially a replication of the website for the homepage and there are buttons for locator (dive centre and dive site), social, tools, training, eCards, pros, travel and gear which is easy to navigate.  Despite the attractive homepage the substance was somewhat inconsistent; some of the categories open up and work well, like the locator feature, while others like the training tab open an entirely different app or prompt the install of another app, such as PADI Library.  The issue here lies in that some sections require your PADI Login and others a ScubaEarth login, rather than a single sign in.  Apparently PADI is retiring their ScubaEarth brand (formerly a dive logbook and locator) and has incorporated those features into the Scuba Diving Essentials app.

The PADI Library app, on the other hand, is easy to use and full of excellent learning materials.  It is the class leader for scuba e-Learning content.

We thought the PADI apps look nice and have some high quality content once you are able to access the appropriate sections in their apps, but the PADI – Scuba Diving Essentials app did not feel particularly cohesive in comparison with others we have reviewed.

Things We Liked:

  •  Homepage looks good and is easy to navigate
  •  Same very good quality training content and videos we are used to from PADI, now made available in elearning form in PADI Library.
  • The dive tools has a good and useful range of options.

Things We Didn’t Like:

  •  Each apps functionality is limited compared with other agencies, you must have multiple apps to access all the options.  One app, with a single sign in would be nicer to use.

Conclusion

So there you have it: our review of the major training agencies’ mobile apps.  No matter your level of experience, all of them offer features that can help you be a safer, better, and more organised scuba diver.  There’s no reason not to download and use the app from your appropriate agency; who knows, it might come in handy at the right time!


For more from CJ and Mike please visit their website here.

CJ and Mike are dive instructors who have travelled all over the world pursuing their passion for the underwater world. CJ is a PADI MI and DSAT Trimix instructor with a degree in Conservation biology and ecology, who has been diving for 15 years. She loves looking for critters and pointing them out for Mike to photograph. Mike is a PADI MSDT who got back into diving in 2010. He enjoys practicing underwater photography and exploring new and exciting dive locales, occasionally with more than one tank. Follow more of their diving adventures at www.bimbleintheblue.com.

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Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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