Diver Specialities. Linking PADI Specialty Courses to Adventures in Diving

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Diver Specialities.

Diver Specialities.  Linking PADI Specialty Courses to Adventures in Diving.  Course Director Dan Robinson.

Firstly, the table below follows an example diver as they progress through the PADI system.  The ages in the first column are not minima, but are rather just examples.  The aim is to show some possible ways to link courses, in particular Adventures in Diving to diver Specialities.

Discover Snorkelling.

This is a PADI programme, rather than a course.  It has no performance requirements, it does not have a card and in fact has no minimum age.  Therefore, I could replace seven years old by an even younger age.  The PADI Instructor Manual lists no standards, however PADI’s Guide to Teaching includes conduct and tips.


Normally, referrals expire 12 months from the date of the last training segment.  However, the Adventures in Diving programme and diver Specialities have no time limits.

Skin Diver.

In contrast to the Discover Snorkelling programme, Skin Diver course students must meet objectives to earn their card.  The minimum age for students to start the Skin Diver course is eight years of age.  Skin Divers can get PADI Seal Team™ Aquamission:  Skin Diver Specialist credit, for life, because the Skin Diver level itself has no time limit.

PADI Seal Team™.

There are five initial Aquamissions in the PADI Seal Team™ course and the skills from Aquamissions 1–5 also complete Open Water Diver Confined Session 1.  Hence OWC students do not have to do Confined 1 again for the next 12 months.  This is why I chose nine years of age, rather than the minimum of eight years old.

Discover SCUBA® Diving.

Before trying to link DSD to the OWC, It is important to know there are a number of different “types” of DSD.  The first way is to run the DSD just in a pool and there is then only one skill to practice, #6 Inflate and deflate a BCD at the surface in shallow water.  Perhaps the most common way is to do all six DSD skills (in shallow water) and the following are all mandatory for a DSD run in confined open water:

  1. Breathing underwater.
  2. Regulator clearing, both exhalation and purge-button.
  3. Regulator recovery.
  4. Clearing a partially flooded mask.
  5. Equalisation techniques.
  6. Inflate and deflate a BCD at the surface.


If an instructor conducts and ensures that participants master all 17 (6+11) OWC Confined 1 skills during the DSD, then participants can have Confined 1 credit for 12 months.

Next, if an instructor does the DSD briefing and checks divers master the above six skills, then an instructor may lead an initial DSD open water dive, which has no skills.  Lastly, if an instructor did all 17 OWC CW1 skills, then an instructor does all 13 OWC Open Water Dive 1 skills, then participants get credit for 12 months for both CW1 and OW1.


If a customer is a PADI SCUBA Diver, then they must only dive under the direct supervision of a PADI Divemaster to a maximum depth of 12m and this card does not expire.  Students may upgrade to full OWD at any time by completing the rest of the Course.

Emergency First Response®.

EFR® has no minimum age, but course completion cards are valid for 24 months as prerequisites for relevant PADI courses.  The reason I chose 10 years of age is due to the minimum age for PADI Rescue Diver being 12 years old.  In the example below, the student does an EFR® Refresher when they are 16 years old, in preparation for starting Divemaster at 18 years of age.

Buying Standalone Certifying Credits.

It is possible to buy physical paper Positive Identification Cards (“PICs”) or PIC Online credits without student materials, but Members must justify this to PADI by giving the student’s name, date of birth, intended certification level and the reason manuals / eLearning / tablet Touch products are not being purchased.

Linking OWC to Diver Specialities.

An instructor may conduct only one of these nine courses at the same time as the OWC (if they are a PADI Speciality Instructor for that area):

  1. Peak Performance Buoyancy.
  2. Project AWARE.
  3. AWARE Coral Reef Conservation.
  4. Enriched Air Diver.
  5. Digital Underwater Photographer.
  6. Altitude Diver.
  7. Boat Diver (and this is the example I picked below).
  8. Dry Suit Diver.
  9. Sidemount Diver.


Boat is typical and the instructor integrates Boat Diver knowledge development any time during the OWC, with all four OWC dives done from a boat.  The instructor conducts Boat Dive 1 skills during OWC Dives 2, 3 and 4.  The Boat Speciality Instructor conducts another dive beyond OWC dives (a fifth dive) to do Boat Dive 2 skills.

Linking Diver Specialities to Adventures in Diving.

Generally, Dive 1 of a PADI Diver Specialty course may credit toward the related Adventure Dive in the Adventures in Diving programme if the diver has done the relevant knowledge review (or vice versa).  However, if an instructor links one of the allowed diver Specialities to the OWC, then Specialty Dive 2 counts as the Adventure Dive.  In any case, for the DUP Specialty, Dive 2 credits toward an Adventure Dive.

Linking OWD to Rescue Diver.

PADI OW Divers may do Rescue course KD and Rescue Exercises in confined water and then that KD credits toward Rescue for 12 months.

Linking Rescue and Diver Specialities to DM.

The emergency assistance plan done in the Rescue course credits toward the same requirement in the DM course and, if nothing in the plan has changed in the time between the courses, then this has no time limit.  Also, PADI Search and Recovery Divers do not have to do Practical Skill 4―Search and Recovery Scenario and PADI Deep Divers are exempt from Skill 5―Deep Dive Scenario, both with no time limit.  The minimum age for Search and Recovery is 12 years old, rather than 17 as I chose in the below table.

Enriched Air Diver.

The two Enriched Air Dives are optional for students completing the Specialty, but if a student wants to credit Enriched Air Specialty Dive 1 toward Adventures in Diving, then that Dive becomes mandatory.


Tec Sidemount Instructors may credit students with a recreational sidemount certification as having done parts of Tec SM KD 1, parts of the Practical Application, parts of Training Dive 1 and all of Dives 2 and 3.

Tec Basics.

If all performance requirements were met, then PADI Tec 40 Diver students may have the following credited towards Tec 40 for 12 months from the end of Tec Basics:

  • Training Dive 1.
  • Practical Applications 1 and 2.
  • KD 1 and 2.


Linking Dive Theory Online to Dive Theory Exams.

Dive Theory Online is valid for 12 months and credits toward DM Final Exam―Part 2, IDC / OWSI and dive theory exams prerequisites for the IDC Staff Instructor Course and CDTC application.  Hence I have included it below when the candidate is 17 years of age and again at 19 years old.

DUP & O2 Instructor.

A DM may teach these diver Specialities after passing Specialty Instructor Training Courses with a CD who is also a Specialty Instructor Trainer.

IDC Online.

As well as counting towards an IDC, completion of IDC Online by IDC Staff Instructor candidates may count as auditing those curriculum sections.

Age (e.g.)


Linking Courses.


7Discover Snorkelling.
8Skin DiverAquamission:  Skin Diver SpecialistNo time limit.
9Seal Team™Open Water Diver Confined Session #112 months
10Discover SCUBA® DivingCan link to Open Water Course Confined Session #1 if all 17 skills done; and OW Training Dive #1 if all 13 skills done12 months
10Junior SCUBA DiverOWD CW1–3, OW1–2, KD1–3, 15′ float, etc.No time limit
10Emergency First Response® Primary and Secondary Care24 months.

Must give student diver’s name & date of birth to buy separate PIC as one from OWD Crew Pack used for SCUBA Diver.

Buy Boat Diver Manual with PIC now.

11Junior Open Water DiverComplete e.g. Boat Dive 1 skills during Dives 2, 3 & 4No time limit
11Junior Boat Diver (Dive 2)Boat Adventure DiveNo time limit

Buy Rescue Diver Manual with PIC now.

11Rescue Diver Exercises in Confined & Knowledge DevelopmentRescue Diver12 months
11Junior Peak Performance BuoyancyPeak Performance Buoyancy Adventure DiveNo time limit
11Junior Underwater NavigatorUnderwater Navigator Adventure DiveNo time limit.

Must give student diver’s name & date of birth to buy separate PIC for Adventure Diver as Speciality Manuals bought.

11Junior Adventure DiverFirst three Advanced Open Water Course DivesNo time limit.
12Junior Rescue DiverDM emergency assistance planNo time limit
12Junior Enriched Air Diver (with dives)Enriched Air Adventure DiveNo time limit

Buy Deep Diver Manual with PIC now.

12Deep Adventure DiveDeep DiverNo time limit.

Must give student diver’s name & date of birth to buy separate PIC for Advanced Open Water Diver as Speciality Manuals bought.

12Junior AOW.
1450 logged dives.
15Deep DiverDivemaster Deep ScenarioNo time limit
15Master SCUBA Diver™.

Buy Sidemount & Tec Sidemount Diver Manual with PIC now.

15Recreational Sidemount DiverTec Sidemount DiverNo time limit.
16EFR® Refresher24 months.
17Search & Recovery DiverDM Search & Recovery ScenarioNo time limit
17Dive Theory OnlineDM, Instructor Development Course, IDC Staff12 months

Buy Tec Deep Diver Manual with PIC now.

17Tec BasicsTec 4012 months.

Buy Tec Gas Blender Manual with PIC now.

18Tec Gas Blender―Enriched Air.

Must give diver’s name & date of birth to buy PIC for Tec 40 as one from Tec Deep Diver Crew Pack used for Tec Basics.

18Tec 40.

Must give diver’s name & date of birth to buy separate PIC for Tec 45.

18Tec 45.

Must give diver’s name & date of birth to buy separate PIC for Tec 50.

18Tec 50.

Buy Tec Trimix Diver Manual with PIC now.

18Tec 65.

Must give diver’s name & date of birth to buy separate PIC for Tec 90.

18Tec Trimix 90 Upgrade.

Must give diver’s name & date of birth to buy PIC for Tec Sidemount as one from SM Crew Pack used for Recreational SM.

18Tec Sidemount Diver
18Technical Advanced Wreck Diver
18Digital Underwater Photographer Instructor
18Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor
18Conduct four real DSDs
18Discover SCUBA® Diving Leader
18Instructor Development Course OnlineIDC, IDCS12 months
18Enriched Air Instructor
18Tec Gas Blender Instructor―Enriched Air
18Deep Instructor
18Certify 25 PADI Divers / 125 DSD / 125 ReActivate™ / 50 OW Referrals / Mix
18Master SCUBA Diver™ Trainer (MSDT)
18IDC Staff Instructor
18Tec Instructor (40m)
18Tec Sidemount Instructor
18Certify at least 10 PADI Deep Divers and/or PADI Enriched Air Divers
18Tec Deep Instructor (50m)
18Tec Speciality Instructor.

Must give student’s name & date of birth to buy PIC for Trimix Blender as one from Tec Gas Blender Crew Pack used for NitrOx Blender.

18Tec Gas Blender―Trimix
18Tec Gas Blender Instructor―Trimix
18Tec Trimix Instructor (90m)
18Technical Advanced Wreck Instructor.
19Certify 150 PADI Divers, with 50 continuing education, of which 15 Speciality Divers, five Rescue Divers, five DMs & five AIs (or two IDCs staffed; or three AI plus one IDC); also 10 EFR®
19Dive Theory OnlineCourse Director Training Course12 months
20Master Instructor
20c.2–19+ IDCs staffed; business plan; etc.
20Speciality Instructor Trainer
20Tec Speciality Instructor Trainer.


Diver Specialities.

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