SDI was form in 1999 from TDI (Technical Diving International), to help fill the gap in the recreational diving market.
SCUBA Diving International, launched in 1999, is the sister organization of Technical Diving International. SDI was created by dive professionals with a technical diving background. This gave the organization a perspective that other recreational diving certification agencies do not have, which is teaching recreational diving through the eyes of experienced technical divers.
SDI’s philosophy is to take recreational scuba diving to new levels, enhancing older – maybe even outdated - diving practices by incorporating new diving technology and emphasizing safety. The curriculum is set up to take divers from the beginner level to instructor level and structures its courses around a logged dive and specialty course approach. Divers who progress through SDI’s recreational diving courses have several point in the education path for natural progression to technical diving if they so desire.
With the background of diving innovation of TDI, SDI was the first dive agency in the world to make it compulsory for all divers to use dive computers during courses. They where also instrumental in making Nitrox diving acceptable to the recreational diving world; when others though it was too dangerous. SDI was also the first to pioneer online training for diving theory, with its eLearning programs.