Marine Guide

by SSI
Type: Training

New for 2021, SSI are proud to introduce the Marine Guide recognition rating! By taking Marine Ecology plus 4 other Ecology programs, active Dive Guides and Divemasters will automatically earn the free Marine Guide recognition card. To help you achieve this, we have created this special bundle, including the following programs:

  • Dive Guide.
  • Marine Ecology Specialty.
  • 4 other ecology Specialty ratings (of your choice).

Here's what's included:

Dive Guide (required)

This program gives you the skills and experience required to safely lead groups of certified divers, and is the first step towards an exciting career as an SSI Dive Professional without requiring you to complete an instructor program. Professional Dive Guides can work for SSI Dive Centres, guiding dives in a variety of environments and conditions. You will earn the SSI Dive Guide certification after completing this program.

  • Minimum Age: 18 for Professional active status
  • Certification Prerequisites: Diver Stress & Rescue certification, 40 logged Dives, 
  • Certification or equivalent experience: Navigation, Night & Limited Visibility, Deep Diving.
  • Academic Sessions: Varies
  • Pool/Confined Water Sessions: Varies
  • Open Water Dives: 10 or at least 50 total
  • Maximum Training Depth: 40 meters / 130 feet
  • Suggested Duration: 35 - 45 hours

The SSI Dive Guide program is perfect for the diver who naturally finds themselves as the one others look to to lead a dive. This will equip you with the knowledge and skills to accept the role.

Marine Ecology (required)

This program provides a general understanding of the complex and exciting science of marine ecology, which is the study of how organisms interact with each other and the environment, the flow of energy through communities, and the link between ocean ecosystems. You will earn the SSI Marine Ecology Specialty certification after completing this program.

Fish Identification

The ocean is filled with fascinating and beautiful fish of every shape and size. This non-diving specialty program teaches you the skills and concepts required to identify the common families of Caribbean, Indo-Pacific, and Red Sea reef fish. You will earn the SSI Fish Identification Specialty certification after completing this program.

Coral Identification

Coral reefs are the building blocks of many ocean ecosystems. This program teaches you the skills and concepts required to recognise and identify common families of coral species. You will earn the SSI Coral Identification Specialty certification after completing this program.

Sea Turtle Ecology 

This program teaches you the skills and concepts required to recognise and identify common species of sea turtles, describes their history and role in marine ecosystems, and threats to their survival. You will earn the SSI Sea Turtle Ecology Specialty certification after completing this program.

Shark Ecology 

Many humans fear sharks, but is that reputation deserved? By taking the SSI Shark Ecology program, you will learn how sharks and their behaviour are often misunderstood, and how you can safely observe them in their natural habitat. You will earn the SSI Shark Ecology Specialty certification after completing this program.

Manta and Ray Ecology 

When you think of a ray, what image comes to mind? Is it a southern stingray lurking beneath the pearl white sand, or a majestic spotted eagle ray hovering over a large coral block? Perhaps it’s the grandfather of them all, the giant manta ray, which can measure six meters from fin tip to fin tip and glides through the open ocean like an owl cutting through the silence of an evening chill. In this program, you’ll explore what makes a ray a ray, distinguish how they differ from sharks, locate where they live, discover what they eat.


You will be sent an e-mail allowing access to the SSI online academics. You can use a computer or any digital device to login, update your profile and start the learning process. The multimedia academics with videos and multiple-choice questions keep learning fun and ensure you are perfectly prepared for your water sessions and academic sessions. 

Usually, our Dive Guide candidates complete the course with us as an internship with progress led by your availability and commitment. However, we are also able to offer the course as an intensive 5-day program.

There are academic sessions at our Dive Centre learning the role of a Dive Guide, such as how to be an effective group leader, legal and safety applications, identifying and managing stress, the components of a controlled dive briefing, dive plan, and executing that dive. There is a final exam requiring a 90% pass score.

Pool sessions are at Divemaster Scuba on weekday evenings or selected Saturdays. This is where we will develop your dive skills, rescue skills as well as the logistics of leading divers and dive site set up.

Open water is conducted at Stoney Cove or another location You will show that you can perform all the skills you mastered in the classroom and the pool in a real Open Water environment. You will set up a dive site, cater to the needs of a group of divers, plan, brief and lead a dive.

All sessions are followed by thorough debriefing and discussion about your performance helping you learn. On successful completion, you will be issued a certificate of completion and a digital recognition rating (via MySSI App). 

On successful completion of the program Marine Guides may:

  • Guide certified divers on recreational scuba dives.
  • Teach the SSI Snorkelling program.
  • Qualify for the SSI Divemaster rating on completion of the SSI Science of Diving Specialty Program.

 As with all Divemaster Scuba Professional Programs

  • Certification lasts for life however you must maintain Active Status requirements
  • As a Dive Professional, you should have your own Total Diving System
  • All Pool fees are included (if required) but entry to open water sites is not included
  • All Air fills are included
  • We are committed to your success, if you require more help we are there for you.


Dive professional registration and course learning fees are payable to direct SSI.

Physical materials for the course are available through the dive centre:

Candidates must have the  SSI Professional Base Package for this course.

The SSI Instructor Package is not required although candidates might choose to have it ready for career development.