There’s one thing all divers have in common (besides being good-looking), we all have a certification card. My Open Water Diver card has a dolphin on it, but my Advanced Open Water card has a sea turtle image.

padi certification cards

Over the years I’ve collected a menagerie of sea creatures, but recently I wondered: who decides what animals appear on PADI®certification cards? Personally, I’d love a PADI card featuring a wolf eel, giant pacific octopus or an orca, but that’s my local bias as a Pacific Northwest diver.

Here’s what I found out…

Most of the images you see on PADI certification cards were provided by award-winning photographers including: Stephen Frink, Scott Portelli and Brian Skerry. The photographer chooses the images based on:

  • How the photo will look after it’s shrunken down to the size of a credit card
  • Whether the featured animal has wide appeal (sorry, wolf eels)
  • The animal’s conservation status – Scott Portelli chose the lesser-known blue shark because it’s critically endangered

What Marine Creature Would You Like To See on a PADI Card?

An amazing octopus? An orca? Maybe even a Mermaid! We’d love to hear from you. Submit a suggestion by filling out the form below.

If you have a question or need help, please submit a customer support request

Below is a list of marine animals that have already been featured. Even though PADI does not currently offer certification cards with the animals listed below, they could be featured again.

  • Cardinalfish
  • Clownfish
  • Dolphin(s)
  • Harp seal pup
  • Humpback whale
  • Leafy sea dragon
  • Manatee
  • Manta Ray
  • Sea lion
  • Sea turtle
  • Sardine Run, South Africa
  • School of jacks
  • …and many, many sharks

Over the years, sharks have been featured more than any other animal. The list of sharks that have appeared on PADI cards includes the:

  • Whale shark
  • Great white
  • Blue shark
  • Oceanic whitetip
  • Shortfin mako
  • Hammerhead
  • A tiger shark and a hammerhead together!

In fact, the tiger + hammerhead shark image is still available (while supplies last). You can purchase one through your PADI Dive Shop or buy one one online. If ordering online, choose “Plastic” then choose “AWARE Two Sharks.”

padi aware replacement cards

3 Reasons to Get a New PADI Certification Card

#1 Oops! You’ve lost your original PADI card

#2 As a backup for your eCard 

#3 PADI certification cards are printed on plastic that might otherwise end up in a landfill

You can order a PADI card featuring a giant manta ray (shown above), a great white shark, or a lemon shark at sunset (while supplies last).

New for 2022: Flight of the Humpback Whales by cinematographer, photographer and marine conservationist Shawn Heinrichs.

three humpback whales on a PADI certification card
Image © Shawn Heinrichs, @shawnheinrichs,

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