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Phuket Lifestyle – SSI brings dive training online

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Scuba Schools International (SSI) is the second largest school-based diving certification agency in the world, and it’s growing at a rapid rate. It’s one of only two diving agencies that holds a global ISO rating, it has been training divers for over 40 years, and it’s the only diving agency that offers free online training. Operating in over 130 countries and with more than 2,400 SSI Dive Centers, SSI training materials are available in over 25 languages, including Thai.

Their commitment to service is more important to them than brand marketing. SSI have, as a result, seen an annual growth of over 35 per cent year-on-year across the region, and, since opening an Area Office in Thailand in 2002, they now employ 25 staff in five full service centres (two in Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia), and also have certification card printing facilities in 18 locations across eight countries with at least six more planned before the end of the year.

SSI Thailand has grown to 11 full-time staff, plus four experienced Dive Medical Technicians who emphasize and ensure diver safety. In fact, they regularly visit dive operations under the SSI umbrella and conduct assessments in all areas to ensure that safety standards are maintained.

High quality operators are critical to their success – they already work closely with 20 dive operators in Southern Thailand who have all had to comply rigorously with SSI standards in order to be part of the SSI network.

Sea Bees Diving, in Chalong, was the first dive operator in Thailand to be awarded the prestigious SSI Diamond Instructor Training Centre. With over 20 years experience in recreational diving, through day trips and liveaboard safaris, it’s also a training center for those who wish to become professional instructors. They have dive centers in Phuket, Khao Lak, Pak Meng and Koh Phi Phi.

Gary Hawkes, SSI International Training Director, states: “Sea Bees Diving reflects the quality of diving operations that SSI likes to partner with. They ensure SSI divers new and old are given the very best in service and standards available in the diving industry.”

“For Sea Bees Diving, SSI allows us to link our philosophy of diving together with an agency that has an established and reliable worldwide network and is a relationship that benefits all – whether they’re customers or dive professionals” says Holger Schwab, Managing Director of Sea Bees Diving.

Their free online training at www.diveSSI.com is part of the social networking features of SSI’s global website and online divers network which has over half a million regular users.

Earlier this year they advertised their free online training to gap-year students across Europe using the slogan “Start online today… do your dives in Paradise”. Several thousand signed up, a few thousand of whom have already completed their courses in the region and they expect SSI dive centres in Phuket and across the west coast to benefit from this new influx during the coming high season.

But it’s not always about diving – supporting and funding locally based ecological projects directly is an equally important part of their operations. Assisting with illegal wildlife trading, beach and dive site cleanups on Koh Phi Phi, artificial dive sites in Koh Tao and environmental projects involving local schools throughout Thailand are just some of the projects SSI are actively involved with.

For more information on SSI dive services, or to sign up for dive classes, contact Sea Bees Diving T:+66 (0) 76 381 765 or W:www.sea-bees.com

 

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