Dive Shops: The Heart of the Dive Industry

Scuba diving shops are the heart of the dive community. Owned and operated by good folks who have dedicated their lives to keeping the porch light on for all of us in diving, they ensure that we always have the service, training, travel, equipment and advice we want and need as divers. It’s the dive shop around the corner that establishes and nurtures long-term relationships with divers and the same shops we go back to time and time again because they’ve earned our trust and we see them as our neighbors. They best embody the diving lifestyle, having sacrificed a great deal to be there for us at a local level across the world, and they deserve our support and loyalty.

These days, it’s not easy to be a specialty retailer, with many stresses and threats to their survival and prosperity. What separates those who do survive and prosper? A million variations, but basically its embracing the eworld coupled with products/services/customer experiences that are impossible or substantially disadvantageous online. Easy example – Starbucks. You order your iced Macchiato online, but do you have it shipped? No, you pick it up – central to the Starbucks experience. You can buy their coffee online, but it’s not the same at home, nor likely would you without your prior in-store experiences.

Dive shops are the same. Like diving itself, learning to dive, investing in dive gear, interacting with other divers and getting ready for a group dive trip are personal experiences, not online experiences. You can start courses, set up schedules, order equipment and do a lot of other things online with your retail dive shop. But eventually you end up there because you want to. The people there are fun, they know their stuff and they make your dive experiences personal, rewarding adventures. They hook you up with the best gear for you, tailored to you (again, personal), and show you the best diving for what you love about diving (personal yet again). Diving is way better because of them.

The bottom line is that dive shops are the center of the diver experience where everything comes together. That’s not changing, and neither is the PADI philosophy of keeping divers connected to them. Dive retailers need our support and loyalty as they stand against ever-changing threats and pressures.

I don’t want to see a world where the local dive shops cannot survive. They are the stewards of local diving lifestyle and culture. In my book, that is precious and rare. It is supremely worth protecting.


Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO

PADI® Women’s Dive Day 2018 Events to Remember

By Tara Bradley Connell

With PADI®Women’s Dive Day 2018 earning a media reach of over 236 million viewers worldwide, this is one event that not only increases awareness but also inspires more and more divers each year. From hosting an underwater treasure hunt to offering new diver specials for women, there are countless ways for dive operators and instructors to get in on the action – and gain new business along the way.

This year, the social media channels exploded with #padiwomensdiveday events from all over the world. For a look at this year’s activities, check out the PADI Women’s Dive Day 2018 Facebook photo album. Want more? Here are some locations that helped make this year even more special.

Here’s a look at some locations that helped make this year extra special.

  • Nassau, Bahamas

In the Bahamas, the Perry Institute for Marine Science collaborated with Stuart’s Cove to teach the PADI Reef Rescue Diver Specialty course. After a study on covered coral education, conservation, recovery processes and coral nurseries practices, the ladies enjoyed two dives where they learned how to maintain the nurseries. They also got to plant coral with personalized tags so they can monitor future growth.

  • Grand Cayman
  • Photo: Drew McArthur
    Photo: Drew McArthur

This year was all about breaking world records. To celebrate PADI Women’s Dive Day, a group at Dive Tech broke the world record for the longest underwater female human chain with 84 women in the water. The group also raised more than $3,000 US to support breast cancer research

  • Grenada

Sandals Grenada and Sandals Foundation celebrated Women’s Dive Day by focusing on controlling the lionfish population. The event kicked off at Sandals Grenada with a lionfish eradication dive to help protect the reef and threatened marine life. Post-dive, the group met at Grand Anse Beach with the Sandals Foundation, Grenada Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Environment, and the Grenada Chapter of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network  where they enjoyed a lionfish luncheon, lionfish cooking demonstrations, music, and exhibits – all set beachside.

Photo by Alicia Ward
Photo by Alicia Ward
  • Kauai, Hawaii, USA:

The calm, clear waters of Kauai made for the perfect spot for freedivers. As a way to build the female diving community on the island, the weekend included an all-girls freediving class. After their three-day course, some participants achieved more than two-minute static breath holds and depths of 21 metres/70 feet. Bonus: an impromptu visit from a pod of dolphins.

  • San Diego, California, USA:

The California coastline provided the backdrop for divers celebrating with Ocean Enterprises in La Jolla Shores, San Diego. The day’s itinerary was packed with diving, snorkeling, sand castle making, and an underwater photo booth with props to showcase all of the day’s events.

  • Quintana Roo, Mexico:

Finding some Zen mixed with diving was the ambiance found at Takata Experience in Majahual, Quintana Roo. With a focus on conservation, mindfulness and fun, the list of events included a relaxing yoga session, fresh ceviche, a coastal ecosystems talk, food, music and a beach cleanup.

Thank you to all who took part in this year’s celebration to inspire new divers and build a stronger, more active dive community.

Mark your calendars. Next year’s PADI Women’s Dive Day is scheduled for Saturday, 20 July 2019.

Pro Tip – PADI® Membership Renewal

Don’t forget to mark your calendars!

PADI Professional Membership Renewal occurs every November and here’s  a few tips on how to save the most for 2019:

  • Lowest Renewal Rate – To secure the best annual renewal rate, enroll in Automatic Membership Renewal on the PADI Pros’ Site before 6 November 2018. You can find this feature on the My Account page or by using the Renewal button located on the Homepage.
  • Convenient and Cost Effective – You may renew your membership online by logging onto the PADI Pros’ Site and navigating to the Online Membership Renewal option under the My Account tab. Online Renewal provides you the ability to renew one year at a time and to enroll in Automatic Renewal for future years.
  • The Pen and Paper Method – Renewing with a paper form is still an option but why waste the paper and the time. If you are not enrolled in auto renewal or have not renewed online, a paper renewal form will be mailed to you prior to the renewal deadline. This method will cost you more than the online methods, so strongly consider saving money and time with automatic renewal.

Don’t waste time worrying about annual membership renewals. Enroll in 2019 PADI Automatic Membership Renewal now by accessing My Account page on the PADI Pros Site.

5 Tips for PADI Divemasters Looking to Become Instructors

Written by Guy Corsellis, PADI Regional Training Consultant for East Thailand

I recently received recognition for 20 years as a PADI Professional – a proud moment for me. Now, as a PADI Regional Training Consultant, I look back at two decades in the industry and am grateful for the journey I have been on. It has been a passion that becomes a wonderful career.

Prior to this role, as a Course Director, most of my career has been focused on instructor level training, which brings me to my question – have you thought about becoming a PADI Instructor?

Getting this ticket truly allows you to travel the world and meet some incredible industry colleagues. It is still the dream job for young and/or innovative people. If you feel comfortable helping others, if you love the ocean as much as I do and if you’re ready to be a student for life, you will have a bright future as a PADI Instructor.

Once you have decided to take this step, please allow me to share of few tips on how to become successful.

  1. Remain humble and stay positive. Being positive and optimistic and smiling by default, will motivate and inspire others around you. You will touch the lives of so many as a PADI Instructor, so make sure it’s a positive memory you leave them with. Be more than a role model – be a mentor. Remember, that the PADI system of diver education is student-centered. So display proper attitude at all times and leave your ego at the door.
  2. Persevere and expand your knowledge. Stay updated on new diving techniques, advancements in technology and equipment changes. Continue your own education and be a student yourself. That will help you understand how your students may feel under your tuition. Consider enrolling in programs that make you a stronger ambassador to the underwater environment. Divers today want to learn from those who care about something bigger than themselves.
  3. Be punctual, organized and adaptable. People depend on your choices. You are there to show our future divers proper attitude. Arrive early for classroom or confined sessions. Make sure everything is set up and ready to go when your divers arrive. Accept that logistics in your PADI Dive Centre do change and are dependent on many factors. Dive Center owners need flexible instructors that know how to adapt to unexpected situations or when under pressure.
  4. Be sociable and available. It is important to spend time with your diver students. Not just in a classroom or in the water, but during surface intervals and breaks. Remember that sociable and professional often go hand in hand (more on professionalism later). Take and make the time to have lunch with your divers. Your body and brain need food to perform at an optimum. Lunch with your students is the perfect moment in time to share experiences with your divers and become friends. At the end of the day don’t run home when the clock strikes 5:00pm, take the time to debrief and listen to your student’s needs.
  5. Be professional. You will be judged against expectations and standards. Your image and competence is important. Respect your students and pay attention to how you communicate with them. Be committed, courteous and supportive. We all learn differently, so listen to their needs.

I strongly believe that these few tips will help you to have a long and successful career. If you’re currently a part-time Divemaster, it may be a challenge for you to leave behind another career that you’re attached too. I made the choice to become a full time Instructor some time ago and never regretted it. Change is positive.

With the right attitude becoming a PADI Instructor will be a life changing event. Get out there and visit a PADI IDC or CDC near youand earn the most sought-after credential in the diving industry.

Best of success!

View the PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor landing page for more information and to research your next steps.

Grow Your Business with the New PADI Travel Affiliate Program for PADI Dive Centers

The PADI Travel™ Affiliate Program – a benefit for all PADI Dive Centers – is now available.


Divers want to swim with beautiful fish, see colorful reefs and explore unique underwater environments. Travel is a proven way to keep them engaged, active and, ultimately, have them continue their education and invest in dive equipment.

In January, PADI Travel™ launched with the goals of growing the dive industry and keeping divers more engaged and active. Today marks the launch of the new PADI Travel Affiliate Program as a powerful new service for you to grow your business.

The Travel Affiliate Program enables you to earn generous commissions by referring divers to PADI Travel. It increases your in-store sales by driving more divers to your store and helps you become even more successful with group trips.

Learn more about the program and activate your account today on affiliates.padi.com.

Save the Dates: AWARE Week is Coming 15-23 September

Written by Lori Bachelor-Smith

From 15-23 September 2018, the PADI® family will join forces with Project AWARE® to celebrate the environment and education. The week’s focus is on teaching the three AWARE specialty courses – Project AWARE, AWARE Shark Conservation Diver and Dive Against Debris® – and inspiring divers to act on what they learn to protect the aquatic environment. Based on the successful 2017 AWARE Week project in the United Kingdom, this year’s AWARE Week has gone global.


Perfect Timing – As the dive season slows in northern climates and ramps up in the southern latitudes, divers are ready for reasons to get  in the water. The bonus is they get to learn more about things that matter to them and are able to contribute by diving against debris or observing sharks. It also helps them step up the continuing education ladder. Participating in AWARE Week allows you to really connect with customers while boosting your September certifications.

Build Advocates – The more divers know about the state of the ocean and the threats to aquatic resources, the more likely they’ll be to make better personal environmental choices and become advocates for change. Education is the key to supporting PADI’s Ocean Health and Marine Life Protection Pillars and furthering Project AWARE’s efforts. Training Dive Against Debris divers not only expands your participant list for your monthly Dive Against Debris surveys, but it also creates more people who will say no to single-use plastics. Showing divers the continued pressure being put on the shark populations will create more people to defend sharks on both the local and global level.

Personal Improvement – If you already can offer all of the AWARE specialties, then teaching them during AWARE Week will help you build certifications toward your next professional level. If you aren’t authorized to teach Dive Against Debris or AWARE Shark Conservation Diver yet, then this is a great time for you to add to your professional qualifications. Get the training you need and/or send in your application soon so that you’re ready to teach in September. Also note that your instructor application fee is donated to Project AWARE.


Fill the Week – Connect courses with events to fill the week. Offering a big Dive Against Debris survey at your local dive site is obvious, but also plan to offer other activities. Invite local environmental experts to speak to your divers about sharks, rays or any other endangered or threatened species in your area. Show environmental videos that explain the extent of plastic pollution or highlight how to make better choices to protect the environment. Try to focus on what’s occurring locally because that’s where your divers can make the biggest change.

Download Tools – Go to projectaware.org to get all the tools you need to teach AWARE Specialties along with supporting promotional graphics from the AWARE Week host page.

One more important thing: The Project AWARE Specialty is being updated to guide divers through the “10 Tips for Divers to Protect the Ocean Planet,” including discussions about how to take personal action. Watch for announcements about the release of the new instructor guide as you prepare for AWARE Week.

For more information, visit the AWARE Week host page for PADI Members. 

Career Freedom is at Your Fingertips

Navigating through life is a chore on its own so why not enjoy the ride?

Becoming a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor gives you career freedom, ignites new passions, provides meaningful challenges and opens up endless opportunities to travel abroad while making a living.

If that isn’t enough, consider this:

  • Three out of four divers choose PADI certifications – providing you with the largest market share of new customers in the diver training industry.
  • PADI Dive Centers and Resorts are located in 183 countries and territories  – providing you with the ability to travel and work around the globe as well as to explore local leadership opportunities.
  • There are more than 300 active classified listings seeking instructors for employment on the PADI Pros’ Site (updated daily) .

Contact your local PADI Instructor Development Center or Resort to determine the easiest path to becoming a PADI Instructor and use these resources to learn more.

Diving with a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

Written by DAN Staff

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is a perennial topic of interest to divers as indicated by DAN Medical Services fielding dozens of PFO-related calls every year. This is understandable based on the fact that the heart is a complex and critically important organ, and more than a quarter of all adults have a PFO. With uncertainty about the condition’s implications, and divers’ desire to reduce risk in the water, some amount of consternation is entirely reasonable.

As a dive professional who experiences greater frequency of exposure to decompression stress and may rely on fitness to dive to make a living, it’s especially important to understand how a PFO could affect your work and health.

Take a moment to improve your understanding of the condition, and learn how it could affect your risks and your students’ risks while diving.

What is a PFO?

A PFO is an opening in the wall separating the upper chambers of the heart – the left and right atria. The opening is a remnant of a flap valve present in developing fetuses that shunts oxygenated blood from the mother directly from one atrium to the other. In most cases this flap closes permanently after birth, but in as many as 27 percent of adults, this flap never shuts completely. The defect is relatively benign and rarely detected. It typically poses little or no risk to otherwise healthy adults in the normal course of life.

What are the risks?

Complications from a PFO are rare in otherwise healthy adults. Most people with a PFO will never be diagnosed with or experience complications from the condition. For divers, however, PFOs can present problems because of the inert-gas bubbles that arise following dives. Gas bubbles that occur in venous blood after a dive can potentially pass through a PFO of adequate size and bypass the pulmonary filter (the lungs), which may cause decompression illness (DCI).

This hazard is the source of much of the concern surrounding PFOs, but people with a PFO can reduce their risk through behavioral or surgical modification. Practical risk-management strategies for cardiac defects exist, but each case is unique. If you are diagnosed with a PFO, your physician will help you determine the best course of action and risk-management practices.

Should I get tested for a PFO?

PFOs are typically identified by injecting a small quantity of bubbles into a vein and monitoring the bubbles’ travel through the heart using contrast echocardiography. During the test, the patients will be asked to sniff or perform a Valsalva maneuver to attempt to open a PFO, should one exist, and allow blood to travel directly from the right to the left atrium. There are a few ways this test can be performed, but all are invasive and are not considered the first step in managing a potential PFO, particularly if you have never had DCI.

For most divers, it is not worth the risk or expense to get tested for a PFO. Many divers with a PFO will never experience DCI, let alone DCI that might have resulted from bubbles shunted through a PFO. If you experience serious neurological DCI or repeated instances of cutaneous decompression sickness, however, discuss your options with a qualified physician.

For more information about PFOs, visit DAN.org/Health.

Increase Productivity with PADI Master Scuba Diver™

Written by John Kinsella

There’s an old saying about the first step in a famous recipe: First, catch your rabbit. There’s a useful parallel here for PADI® Professionals. If you’re looking for a simple recipe to increase your productivity and have a lot of fun while you do it, first become at least a Master Scuba Diver Trainer. Then you have what you need to train Master Scuba Divers, and that’s a recipe for success.

Back in 1973, PADI Master Scuba Diver (MSD) was introduced as the ultimate recreational diver certification. Fewer than two percent of divers ever achieve the rating. Master Scuba Divers are the best of the best, an elite group of respected divers who have earned the rating through extensive training and experience. As you know, the path to MSD starts with PADI Open Water Diver certification, followed by Advanced Open Water Diver and Rescue Diver and five PADI Specialty Diver certifications. Before earning the rating, divers also have to log 50 dives. It’s open to all divers, who must be at least 12 years old.

The odds are you don’t know a great number of Master Scuba Divers. Here’s why, in the words of a few PADI Members who do know MSDs because they’ve trained a lot of them. Increasing your MSD certifications is something you may want to change as a matter of urgency.

Making Specialty Training Mainstream

Natalie Hunt is a very active PADI Course Director with PADI Five Star IDC Assava Dive Resort on Koh Tao, Thailand. She first trained Master Scuba Divers while working in Florida, USA, for Action Quest, running sailing and scuba summer camps for teens. The groups would stay for three weeks and specialties were a big part of the program. While working in the Cayman Islands, she would routinely link Enriched Air Diver with Open Water Diver course Dive Four. Hunt brought this experience with her when she arrived on Koh Tao in 1997 and has since made a point of taking specialty training, and Master Scuba Diver, mainstream.

“I incentivize PADI Rescue Divers to learn more about the different specialty programs,” Hunt says. “Here at Assava, I’ve created a program where if students come as Rescue Divers, they can stay and do all their dives and five specialties for one cost and it’s a great incentive for them to become Master Scuba Divers. Some people stay and do MSD only, others choose to do MSD and PADI Divemaster combined. It really depends on the time they have here on Koh Tao. Many people have the time to complete the dives needed.”

Hunt packages specialties (a recurring theme while researching this article) in other ways too. “We have PADI Deep, Wreck and Enriched Air Diver courses that we offer as a Tri Spec,” she says. “If they do those as a package they get a discount and all the dives are included.”

Hunt also uses specialty training to keep things interesting for PADI Pros, herself included. “Some divers, especially divemasters, have shown real interest in sidemount diving. Instead of me personally teaching that, even though I’m qualified, I have other instructors who are experienced technical divers and I ask them to teach the Sidemount Diver courses,” she explains.

“We also teach Self-Reliant Diver courses and recently I took on DSMB, which was quite interesting when I taught it for the first time with one of my divemasters. It was a good challenge for both the DM and me personally.”

Any Experts on Staff?

Using experts to help with specialties is a great way to increase the pool of potential MSDs. Hunt has a marine biologist – a past student – who adds real value to Assava’s Coral Reef Conservation specialty. “Her background knowledge of marine science and biology adds more insight to that program,” she says.

Hunt’s experience in the resort -environment has some real commonalities with Lee Johnson’s experience at PADI Five Star CDC Perth Scuba in Western Australia. When Perth Scuba opened 14 years ago, most of the training was comprised of core courses: Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver. “We didn’t have a lot of time for the specialties,” Johnson says. “We were running on minimal staff.”

But Johnson always surveyed -customers and asked about their interests and their motivation to take up scuba. “The usual favorites, such as wreck and deep diving, came out prominently in the beginning. So we started running a lot more of those types of courses,” he says. But there was a problem – one which many PADI Pros will recognize. “We would schedule a course and only have two or three students on it; not really enough to make it cost effective,” he recalls. “But you have to run it or lose face. It’s a double-edged sword – you either run it and lose money or you don’t run it and lose customers who won’t sign up for other courses because they believe you won’t run them.”

From a business efficiency perspective, Johnson had to do something. One plan was to sell gear, as most of the specialties have some sort of associated equipment. Another plan was to increase the number of specialties people did. “The MSD program seemed to be the way to do it,” he says.

“We came up with our Master Scuba Diver Challenge. We advertised five specialties and a free rescue course as a package. Divers came in, put their credit cards on the counter and chose five specialties from three levels,” Johnson says. “For level one, they chose two of the more expensive courses to run, such as those that include boat dives. Then they’d pick two courses from level two, which were more knowledge based and often had shore dives. And they chose one course from level three, which is all knowledge-based, such as the Equipment Specialist course.”

After each course, divers get a Perth Scuba T-shirt with “Master Scuba Diver Challenge” on the back and the course they completed listed on the front. They collect all the different T-shirts and, once they complete everything, they get a limited edition T-shirt that lists all the specialties and says “Master Scuba Diver Challenge Mission Accomplished.” Johnson pointed out how effective this recognition was: “Divers loved them and we’d get to see them wearing the shirts all over the place.”

To top this off, Johnson introduced the Ultimate Master Scuba Diver Challenge Weekend competition. All students who completed the MSD challenge would be eligible for the competition. This was like a mini Olympics complete with quiz questions about general diving knowledge, a pool skills assessment and a stamina challenge (all basic stuff and fun focused). The winner got a trip to Sydney with an instructor, all expenses paid, and a brand-new scuba set (Johnson negotiated a great deal on this once-a-year event).

Do Rabbits Hop?

Was this a success?  “We ran the first challenge four years ago and we had 43 participants who came through that year. We were picking up students who had a few specialties under their belts from different dive shops as well. We let them enter as long as they did their last specialty with us,” he says.

Another major benefit of Perth Scuba’s MSD challenge is that many instructors started to really enjoy teaching specific specialty courses. “Now we have a group of instructors who have designed their own presentations with local content, such as videos and images of our divers on the wrecks they’ll dive,” says Johnson. “This works really well.”

The last word belongs to Jong-Moon Lee from PADI Five Star Dive Resort Ocean Player Dive in Cebu, Philippines. Ocean Player Dive is one of the largest PADI Dive Centers in the Philippines, with a continuing education ratio pushing 50 percent. Lee mentions the importance of linking specialties: Deep and Enriched Air Diver make a great combination. He makes great use of the facilities at hand: Easy access from shore makes for easy night dives; consequently, PADI Night Diver is the number three specialty at Ocean Player Dive.

But the main point Lee makes about creating Master Scuba Divers is fundamentally simple and an essential ingredient in the MSD success recipe: “Take the time after the Advanced Open Water Diver course to explain about the specialties and the MSD rating. Make sure students know that they have already completed dive one of the associated specialty,” he says.

One thing is for certain – divers will have no interest in something they know nothing about.

If you aren’t already a Master Scuba Diver Trainer or can’t yet teach all the PADI Specialty Diver courses you’d like, contact a PADI Course Director to enroll in a few Specialty Instructor Training courses or a Master Scuba Diver Trainer preparatory course.

The Secret to Increasing Certifications Every Successful Instructor Knows

written by Megan Denny

Certain PADI® courses may be taught at the same time to enhance student knowledge or improve diver comfort. For example, you can teach the PADI Dry Suit Diver Specialty as part of the Open Water Diver® course. In addition to helping student divers gain experience and confidence, the instructor can earn certifications twice as fast.

Selling one person two classes isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Today’s consumers are used to being offered upgrades and add-ons when making a purchase. Whether it’s a phone case, extra legroom on an airplane, or an upgrade to a larger rental vehicle, most people appreciate the option to tailor a purchase to their individual needs.

By combining PADI courses, you give students the opportunity to customize their dive experience. At the same time, you’ll quickly gain certifications to reach the Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) or Master Instructor rating. Even if you’re already a seasoned instructor, increasing your Master Scuba Diver certs can help you win a free 2019 PADI membership renewal.

PADI Open Water Diver + Specialties

By pairing a PADI Specialty with the PADI Open Water Diver course you can add value to your Open Water program and boost your certification numbers. Here are a few ways to go about it:

Open Water and Digital Underwater Photographer
Underwater photography consistently ranks as one of the top interests for new divers. Invite students to make their scuba experience #instaworthy by bundling the Digital Underwater Photographer Specialty Course with Open Water. Here’s how to link the two courses together:

  • Integrate the Digital Underwater Photographer knowledge development at any point during the Open Water course
  • Conduct the Digital Underwater Photographer Level One photo dive in confined water any time after Confined Water Dive 3, or in open water as part of the tour portion of Open Water Dive 4.
  • Complete the additional open water dive for Digital Underwater Photographer Level Two certification at any point after the student diver’s Open Water certification dive.


  • You must have the relevant PADI Specialty Instructor Rating
  • Do not conduct more than three training dives in one day

Open Water and Full Face Mask
One of the most-clicked PADI blog posts of all time is The Full Face Mask Diving Experience. Fulfill divers’ curiosity by combining the Full Face Mask Diver specialty with the Open Water Diver course. Here’s how:

  • Integrate knowledge development any time during the course
  • Conduct the Full Face Mask Confined Water Dive any time after Confined Water Dive 3.
  • Conduct Full Face Mask Dive 1 after Open Water Dive 3.
  • Integrate Full Face Mask Dive 2 with Dive 4, or complete both Full Face Mask Dives after Dive 4.

Open Water and Peak Performance Buoyancy
The most popular course combo we see is Open Water with the Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course (PPB). Add PPB knowledge development whenever its convenient during the Open Water Diver course and conduct Peak Performance Buoyancy Dive 1 skills any time during Dive 2, 3 or 4. The student must complete one additional dive beyond their Open Water course dives to complete the Peak Performance Buoyancy Dive 2 skills.

Other specialties that may be linked to the Open Water Diver course include:

Altitude Diver– integrate knowledge development at any time and conduct all four Open Water Course dives at altitude. Complete Altitude Dive 1 skills during Dives 2, 3, and 4. Lastly, conduct one additional dive after the Open Water Course dives to complete the Altitude Dive 2 skills – and the specialty course.

Delayed Surface Marker Buoy Diver (DSMB) – integrate knowledge development any time during the Open Water course. Conduct DSMB Dive 1 skills any time during Dive 2, 3 and 4. Conduct another dive beyond the Open Water Course dives to complete DSMB Dive 2 skills, and the DSMB Specialty.

Dry Suit Diver – integrate knowledge development, confined water performance requirements and conduct all four course dives in a dry suit. Complete Dry Suit Dive 1 skills during Dives 2, 3, and 4. Conduct another dive after the Open Water Course dives dives to complete the Dry Suit Dive 2 skills, and the Dry Suit Specialty.

Sidemount Diver – integrate knowledge development, confined water requirements and practical application anytime during the Open Water course. Complete Sidemount Dive 1 skills during Dives 2, 3 or 4. Conduct Sidemount Dives 2 and 3 after Open Water Diver certification. Minimum student diver age is 15.

Specialties without Dives
Enriched Air Diver may be combined with any core PADI course, even Open Water.* Integrate Enriched Air knowledge development, the pre-dive simulation and practical application exercises at any time during a PADI scuba course. Enriched air dives are not required, however, the minimum student diver age is 12.

* The student must complete their Open Water Diver certification before being certified as an Enriched Air Diver, but you can plan dive 4 using Enriched Air.

The Project AWARE Specialist and AWARE Coral Reef Specialty courses do not require dives and may be added to any PADI course. Consider offering these certifications as part of an Eco Master Scuba Diver program.

Emergency Oxygen Provider + PADI Rescue Diver
The Emergency Oxygen Provider Specialty course can replace Rescue Exercise 9 in the PADI Rescue Diver course (first aid for pressure-related injuries and oxygen administration). Incorporate knowledge development at any point before or during your Rescue Diver course.

Bridging the Gap

Open Water to PADI Advanced Open Water
Divers often say they don’t feel ready to enroll in the Advanced Open Water course. But as every PADI Pro knows, Advanced Open Water is the ideal way for new divers to build confidence and improve their skills.

An easy way to help divers take the next step is to conduct an adventure dive following Open Water Dive 4. Dive Against Debris, Peak Performance Buoyancy and Underwater Naturalist are great options. Incorporate the knowledge development into your briefing, and when the dive is over, ask students if they had fun and what they learned. Then tell them that’s what the Advanced Open Water class is all about!


  • Students who choose to enroll in your Advanced Open Water class must complete the Continuing Education Administrative Document (10038 or EU 10541) before the second Adventure Dive.
  • Do not conduct more than three training dives in one day.

Advanced Open Water to Specialties
Each Adventure Dive from the Advanced Open Water Diver course may count toward Dive 1 of a standardized PADI/AWARE Specialty Diver course (or vice versa) if the diver has completed the relevant knowledge review. Your Advanced Open Water Divers may not realize they’ve completed half of a PADI Specialty course (see pages 32-33 of the 2018 PADI Instructor Manual to view the number of dives required for each specialty, most only require two dives, but some require three or four).

Exception: For the Digital Underwater Photography Specialty, Dive 1 may credit as an Adventure Dive only if it is conducted using scuba equipment in open water. If not, then credit Digital Underwater Photography Dive 2.

Discover Scuba® Diving to Open Water Diver
By conducting Confined Water Dive 1 skills during the Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) program, you can:

  • Add value to your DSD program
  • Help student divers build confidence
  • Award Confined Water Dive 1 credit to successful participants
  • Sell more Open Water classes

Students who successfully complete the confined water skills and participate in the optional open water dive may also earn credit towards Dive 1 of Open Water. Brief and conduct Open Water Dive 1 skills with DSD participants who have previously mastered Confined Water Dive 1 skills. Students who are successful earn credit towards Open Water Dive 1.
Open Water to Rescue Diver
PADI Open Water Divers can improve their confidence, become better buddies, and get a taste of the serious fun divers have in the PADI Rescue Diver course by participating in the confined water session. It’s also a great way to keep divers active during colder months when open water diving may not be possible.

Open Water Divers may participate in both Rescue Diver Knowledge Development and Rescue Exercises in confined water. They may also earn the Emergency Oxygen Provider Specialty which takes the place of Rescue Exercise 9 (see above).

IMPORTANT: Do not combine the performance requirements for two or more dives, such as Adventure Dives or specialty course dives, into one dive so that credit is received for more than one rating.

By linking PADI courses, you can become a MSDT, or Master Instructor much faster than teaching each course separately. Plus, you’ll help students work their way to the prestigious Master Scuba Diver rating. Last but not list, you might win a free 2019 renewal by participating in the PADI Master Scuba Diver Challenge.