In our increasingly digital world, it’s no surprise that scuba diving certifications have made the leap from plastic to pixels. Nowadays, when you complete a PADI course, you’ll receive an eCard – a digital certification card that verifies your diving credentials. This helps us reduce plastic usage and promote environmental sustainability. However, many divers still choose to have one or more physical certification cards.

Here are some of the reasons why.


Physical cards are robust and reliable. They don’t require an internet connection to verify, nor can they be accidentally deleted or lost in a sea of emails. You can take them anywhere, safe in the knowledge that they’ll always be on hand when you need them.

Moreover, unlike your smartphone, they’re waterproof, making them perfect for the aquatic environment where you’ll be using them most.

A woman holds up a PADI certification card showing two humpback whales


For many divers, there’s something incredibly satisfying about having a physical card to show off after a course. It’s a tangible symbol of their achievements, a memento of the hours spent underwater mastering new skills. The physical card can be more than proof of your certification; it’s a badge of honor and a reminder of the hard work, excitement, and adventures that went into earning it.

That’s why many divers like to have physical certification cards for milestone courses as a reminder of their commitment and passion for underwater exploration.

Travel Convenience

While eCards are widely accepted, there may still be times when having a physical card could prove beneficial. Some remote dive locations might not have the technology or internet connection to verify digital credentials on the go. A physical card could save the day in these cases, ensuring you don’t miss out on any dives. Plus, it means you don’t have to carry your phone around with you and have to leave it on a boat or dive center.


Divers need to have proof of certification to be able to dive. Having a physical card serves as a great backup plan. If your phone battery dies and you can’t access your eCard, having a physical copy ensures you have an alternative way to prove your certification. You don’t want to be the one delaying the dive or, worse still, having to stay on land because you can’t access your credentials.

A man holds up a PADI certification card showing a great white shark

Ultimately, the choice between a mobile eCard or a physical card comes down to personal preference. But you can also enjoy the best of both worlds. If you purchase a bundle the next time you need to buy a replacement card, you can have the convenience of an eCard backed up by the reliability of a physical card. Simply add both the eCard and a physical card to your cart to see the discount. And did you know that our physical cards are made of recycled materials?

While we embrace the digital age and support the move towards more sustainable practices, there’s still room for the traditional physical certification card. Plus, if you’re a PADI Club member, you’ll receive 25% off a physical PADI certification card once a year! 

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