Motto We build strong kids, strong families and strong communities
Successor Scuba Educators International
Formation August 1959 (August 1959)
Extinction December 31, 2008.
Type Program offered by NGO
Legal status 501(c)(3) association
Purpose Underwater Diver training
Headquarters YMCA of the USA
National Head Office
Region served
United States of America and other countries
Parent organization
YMCA of the USA
Affiliations CMAS 1980 - 2008
United States RSTC 1986- 2008
4 (2001)
Website http://www.ymca.net/scuba

YMCA SCUBA Program (also known as Y-SCUBA) was an underwater diving training program operated by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of the USA from 1959 to 2008. It was the first nationally organised underwater diving instruction program offered in the United States of America. The program is now delivered by Scuba Educators International, an organisation founded by a group of former senior YMCA SCUBA instructors in 2008.


In 1954, the YMCA of the USA and other interested parties under the auspices of the Council for National Cooperation in Aquatics commenced a study to look at the safety aspects of underwater diving. Findings of the study were outlined with the view of creating a course of training sufficient to produce ‘capable performance in those who elect to participate in… recreational (diving) activity’. A trial course was run during the late 1954 and early 1955 by the YMCA of the USA using this outline. The material used in the course was then published in The Science of Skin and SCUBA Diving (or The New Science of Skin and SCUBA Diving as some sources suggest) during 1957. The YMCA of the USA then developed its own program of underwater diving instruction for delivery as part of its existing aquatics program. It certified its first snorkelling and scuba diving instructors in August 1959, thereby becoming the first nationally organized underwater diving training program offered in the USA.[1][2][3][4]

Winding up

In July 2008, the YMCA of the USA announced that the scuba program would cease on December 31, 2008 and that it would continue to replace lost certificate cards for training conducted from 1984 to 2008. In 2008, a group of former YMCA SCUBA instructors created a new organisation called Scuba Educators International (SEI) for the purpose of continuing the YMCA SCUBA diver training program under a new banner.[5][6]


In 1980, YMCA SCUBA joined CMAS, thereby gaining access to CMAS International Diver Training Certificates for its divers and instructors.[7] YMCA SCUBA was a member of the Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC) from its foundation in 1986 until 2008.[8][9]


At the time of closure, the YMCA SCUBA qualification system was structured as follows.[10][11]


  • Snorkeling
  • Skin Diver



  • Skin Diving Instructor
  • Divemaster
  • Assistant Instructor
  • Silver Instructor
  • Gold Instructor
  • Platinum Instructor
  • Instructor Trainer


Specialities continued

CMAS equivalencies

The following equivalencies were those in place as of December 2004.[12]

CMAS Y Scuba
CMAS 1 Star Diver YMCA Open Water Diver or Advanced Open Water Diver
CMAS 2 Star Diver YMCA Silver Advanced Diver
CMAS 3 Star Diver YMCA Divemaster
CMAS 4 Star Diver YMCA Divemaster and Gold Master diver with 100 logged dives
CMAS 1 Star Instructor YMCA Assistant Instructor
CMAS 2 Star Instructor YMCA Silver/Gold/Platinum Instructor
CMAS 3 Star Instructor YMCA Instructor Trainer


  1. "YMCA SCUBA Celebrates 40th Anniversary". YMCA. 15 January 2001. Archived from the original on January 15, 2001. Retrieved 12 December 2012. |archive-url= is malformed: timestamp (help)
  2. Richardson, D (1999). "A brief history of recreational diving in the United States". South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society Journal. 29 (3). ISSN 0813-1988. OCLC 16986801. Retrieved 2012-12-12.
  3. Brylske, A. "A Brief History of Diving, part 2: Evolution of the Self-Contained Diver". Diver Training magazine. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  4. Tillman, Albert A,; Tillman, Thomas T. The History of NAUI: The National Association of Underwater Instructors (PDF). p. 8 of 67.
  5. "YMCA Scuba". YMCA. 27 April 2008. Archived from the original on February 25, 2010. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  6. Jim Lapenta (29 November 2008). "News Release". ScubaBoard. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  7. "C.M.A.S. Certification". YMCA. 1 July 1998. Archived from the original on July 1, 1998. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  8. Alex Brylske. "Training Standards: Understanding the "Why" Behind What Divers are Taught". Dive Training magazine. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  9. "YMCA SCUBA Celebrates 40th Anniversary". YMCA. Archived from the original on January 15, 2001. Retrieved 6 January 2013. |archive-url= is malformed: timestamp (help)
  10. YMCA (21 August 2008). "Learn To Dive/ Certifications". YMCA. Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  11. YMCA (5 July 2008). "Become an Instructor". YMCA. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  12. Richard Leherpeur and Huu-Nghia "Kiki" Vuong (2 December 2004). "Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques (CMAS)" (PDF). frogdivers. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 14, 2004. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
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