The Alphabet Soup of Scuba Diving: Diving Terms Revealed



It can be pretty confusing, but if you want to be involved in scuba diving, you’ll need to become familiar with some of the many diving acronyms (and the industry has plenty!)  in fact the word SCUBA itself is an acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

To help provide a guide to many of the different acronyms found in the diving industry, we have created this simple User Guide to the Alphabet Soup of Scuba Diving.

BCD (or BC for short) Buoyancy Control Device: A standard piece of scuba diving equipment. This vest-like device provides buoyancy and safety for divers during their time underwater.

DAN  Divers Alert Network: This is a non-profit scuba diving safety organization. DAN provides insurance coverage for scuba divers in the unlikely event of a diving-related accident. DAN also operates a 24-hour diver information and medical assistance telephone hotline.

DEMA  The Diving Equipment and Marketing Association: A non-profit trade association that promotes recreational scuba diving around the world. DEMA presents the worlds largest SCUBA Show once a year for retailers, resorts and others doing business in the industry.

DCS – Decompression Sickness: This condition is also known as the bends and occurs when a divers body has absorbed an excess amount of nitrogen gas.

EAN Enriched Air Nitrox: A popular breathing gas that reduces the amount of nitrogen in the air that a diver breathes during a scuba dive. This type of diving requires a special certification and training.

NAUI  National Association of Underwater Instructors: One of the first scuba diver training organizations, NAUI operates through affiliated dive centers, resorts and dive instructors throughout the world.

OW  A common abbreviation for a scuba diver who has completed OPEN WATER certification. Along with OW, AOW is the abbreviation used in the industry for a diver who has completed ADVANCED OPEN WATER.

OWSI  Open Water Scuba Instructor: Term used for an instructor qualified to teach and certify recreational scuba divers.

PADI  Professional Association of Diving Instructors: An education and training organization that offers instruction through affiliated dive retail centers and resorts around the world.

RSTC – The Recreational Scuba Training Council: The RSTC was incorporated in the United States in 1986. RSTC mission is to establish minimum training standards at all levels of recreational scuba diving in order to promote public safety. Nearly all of the scuba certification organizations follow the RSTC standards for training and safety.

SDI  Scuba Diving International: This scuba training and certification organization is part of the International Training group of companies that also includes TDI.

SSI  Scuba Schools International: A scuba training and dive retailing organization based in Colorado. SSI has international affiliates and operates exclusively through SSI-affiliated retail dive centers and resorts.

TDITechnical Diving International: A scuba training organization that specializes in advanced and technical diving.

These and many other abbreviations are common in the dive industry. Stay tuned for more as you become more familiar with recreational scuba diving.


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