Although diving with a buddy is the norm, there are reasons for an experienced diver to develop self-reliance and independence while diving. Learning to carry out dives without a partner can make you a stronger diver in most dive situations.
With proper training, equipment and the right attitude to accept the risks involved in independent diving, an experience diver can responsibly engage in dives without a buddy. Self-reliant diving is an adventure activity that is not for everyone, but does have its place. If you have the mental discipline and commitment to learn and follow self-reliant diving techniques, you'll bolster your skills and confidence when diving alone, in a dive pair or as part of a team.
You need to be a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver who is at least 18 years old and has 100 logged dives to enroll in the Self-Reliant Diver course. You'll also complete a skills assessment with your PADI Self-Reliant Diver Instructor before diving into the course.
Learning how to compensate for situations you would normally handle with a buddy is the focus of the Self-Reliant Diver course. This includes proper dive planning using air consumption rate calculations, life support system redundancy, and independent management of dive emergencies. During three self-reliant training dives, you'll practice:
- Performing an air consumption rate swim to gather information for later calculation.
- Switching to a redundant air supply system during simulated emergency situations.
- Swimming without a mask.
- Navigating to various points, including your exit.
- Using a DSMB.
Get credit! The first dive of this PADI Specialty Diver course may credit as an Adventure Dive toward your Advanced Open Water Diver certification - ask your instructor about earning credit.
The Learning Materials
Our experiences and courses require a minimum level of health and fitness. Chronic health conditions, certain medications and/or recent surgery may require you to get written approval from a physician before diving.
Avoid disappointment, download and review the Diver Medical form to ensure you won’t need a physician’s approval to dive before enrolling in a scuba course. Instructors, divemasters and dive shop staff are not physicians and should not be asked for medical advice; only medical professionals can give medical clearance to dive.
If you (or your physician) have questions about medical fitness to dive, contact the experts at Divers Alert Network (DAN), or your own Doctor.
You will not be able to participate in any pool or open water sessions without confirming your fitness to dive.