Freediving Courses and Agencies Explained

Everything you need to know about Freediving Courses and Freediving Agencies available around the world.

Welcome to the most comprehensive online comparison to help you choose which Freediving Agency and which Freediving Certification is right for you; whether you want to break world records or simply dive for fun!

If you want to learn more about how freediving works, check out our What Is Freediving Guide.

All Agencies:

  • Offer courses for beginners through to professionals, with some developing specialised courses; not all centres operating under these Agencies will offer the full range of courses.
  • Have centres operating around the world, the quantity and locations of which vary.
  • Require students to be able to swim unassisted.
  • Ensure parental or guardian consent for minors.
  • Require students to complete a standard medical health statement (or medical clearance in the case of a pre-existing condition) ensuring you’re fit to Freedive prior to the commencement of your course. See an example of the PADI form here.

This guide will help you find the right Agency and travel the world diving deep with your favourite shops/centres/instructors.  While you can adventure and fun dive with varying Agencies, your courses will ideally be completed through one Agency. Think of the Agencies like schools; these education systems vary in their theoretical and/or technical requirements. So, while you can switch between Agencies at any time there may be crossover skill evaluations and fees to ensure consistency and safe diving practises.

freediving course certification difference

AIDA freediving agency


International Association for the Development of Apnea

Founded “by Freedivers, For Freedivers.”
Recognized for their ongoing commitment to guide and
educate the global community while elevating the sport and
industry to an international level.

  • Safety through ongoing research, standardisation and education
  • Community development, growth and accessibility
  • Developing sustainable practices and community projects as ocean guardians
  • 40+
  • 4000+
  • 180K
  • Age 6-15 years for specialty junior programs
  • Age 16+ for core courses
Apnea Academy freediving agency

Apnea Academy

Founded by Umberto Pelizzari, 16x depth world record holder.
Courses and training implement the principles of the Pelizzari
Apnea Total Method with a strong focus on mental preparation.

  • Instruction and research of subaquatic apnea
  • Apnea and wellbeing with awareness, safety and enjoyment
  • 34+
  • 950+
  • 2000+
  • Age 6-11 years for specialty kids level 1 course
  • Age 11-15 years for level 2
  • Age 15+ for core courses with consent
Apnea International freediving agency

Apnea International

Apnea International was established by former world record holder, Erez Beatus. The Apnea International training method is delivered by passionate Instructors who focus on empowering students to become conscious, educated and confident divers.

  • Training is centred around the enjoyment and recreation of Freediving confidently
  • Education programs are delivered alongside marine knowledge, cultural traditions and sustainability awareness
  • Teaching philosophies are focused on passion, substance, fun and nurturing while bridging the gap between theory and practice
  • Specialty breath-hold courses for ages 8 to 13
  • Age 13+ for core courses

Apnea Total

Apnea Total was originally founded by husband and wife duo, Monica Ganame and Eusebio Saenz de Santamaria who have set records around the world. Relaxation is the foundation of Apnea Total teachings, with an emphasis on a mindful approach and personal growth in the water.

  • Educational system built to foster the individuals personal Freediving journey
  • Focused on the diver, their enjoyment and the aquatic environment
  • The first and longest-established freediving school in South-East Asia
  • Teaching 6000+ students in Koh Tao alone
  • Age 11+ for junior course
  • Age 15+ for core courses
Freediving Instructors International FII agency

Freediving Instructors International

FII was established by 13x world record holder, Martin Stepanek. FII provides comprehensive training in physiology and techniques based on ongoing participation in scientific research to uncover the secrets of Freediving.

  • Physiology-focused education and development of Freediving
  • Fostering a strong sense of community within Freediving and Spearfishing
  • Variety of core courses, specialty courses, professional courses and social camps
  • The first and only recreational Freediving education agency headquartered in the USA
  • Age 16+ years for core courses
Molchanovs freediving agency


Molchanovs, named after world-renowned freediver Natalia Molchanova, offers a progressive education system advanced by 30+ world-record holder, Alexey Molchanov.
The Molchanovs methodology focuses on human potential and technical training.

  • Global community and education systems for training and development
  • Innovative gear and equipment for beginners through to pro athletes
  • Course variety; online, pool, in-person, competition training
  • Personal dashboard and base training
  • Mermaid training systems coming soon
  • Age 12+ for core courses
PADI freediving agency


PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), one of the largest scuba diving agencies globally, also offers Freediving courses. PADI courses focus on practical development with emphasis on environmental awareness and conservation.

  • Practical/performance-based teaching with access to eLearning courses
  • Commitment to environmental awareness and conservation

Inclusive of Scuba:

  • 6600+
  • 186+
  • 50+
  • Age 8+ for specialty skin diver course
  • Age 12+ for core courses
PFI freediving agency

Performance Freediving International

PFI was founded in 2000 by Kirk Crack, coach and trainer to 23 world records and hundreds of national records – and that’s just within Freediving. Kirk’s programs are utilised in the industry of world-class athletes ranging from Olympic downhill skiers to motocross riders and endurance racers.


  • Safety Through Education
  • Flexible online classes
  • Cutting-edge scientific training
  • Variety of courses and specialised education such as breath-hold survival courses for everyone from snorkelers to special operations and rescue teams
  • 100+
  • 100+
  • 10K+
  • Age 10+ for specialty junior program
  • Age 16+ for core courses
RAID freediving agency

Dive RAID International

RAID teaches both Scuba Diving and Freediving, with the incorporation of e-learning materials and a practical focus on thorough and well-rounded teaching to develop confidence.

  • eLearning systems for self-education
  • Maximising time spent in the water
  • Freediving confidence and comfort
  • Safety, inclusivity and a no-shortcuts approach
  • Age 10+ for specialty introductory courses
  • Age 12+ for core courses
SSI Scuba Schools International freediving agency

Scuba Schools International

SSI is another prominent scuba agency that has expanded into Freediving. SSI focuses on personalized training and encourages a practical approach to learning.

  • Comprehensive and user-friendly educational materials and processes
  • Recreational freediving programs for all ages
  • Specialty mermaid and swimming courses
  • 3.5K
  • 150+
  • 100K
  • Age 10+ for introductory courses
  • Age 12+ for core courses

Ultimately, the choice of Freediving Agency and course will depend on your individual preferences. Each Agency has its own unique teaching methods, areas of expertise, and philosophies, with Instructors operating around the world.


  • The best freediving locations you wish to travel to (sign up for special offers from around the world) 
  • Which Agency inspires you; whether that’s through the associated athletes, the schools and the work they do, or the community itself
  • Which approach to Freediving aligns with you and your learning style.

If you’re a beginner, check out our What Is Freediving article to learn more, understand the requirements and decide which Freediving certification to choose.

Ready to take the plunge? Explore Freediving near you or worldwide bucket-list Adventures on the only global Freediving booking platform.

Bucket List Adventures