Sally, a 12-year-old Junior Open Water Diver has just completed her PADI Underwater Navigator specialty program. She wishes to complete the PADI Search & Recovery Diver specialty course as her next course and her older sibling, James wishes to join too - Sean is a 15-year-old Open Water Diver who is already certified as a PADI Adventure Diver with Underwater Navigator, Search & Recovery and Night Adventure Dives – May both James and Sally join the Search & Recovery specialty course at this time?

"Sally may join the PADI Search and Recovery Specialty has she has met the prerequisite requirements. Check out Key Standards of the PADI Instructor Manual and the special considerations listed under the table to confirm this.

James, however, will need to either upgrade his Underwater Navigator by completing the balance of that program to become an Underwater navigator like his sister or take two more Adventure Dives including Deep Diver and certify as a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver before he can join the Search and Recovery Specialty."

Gaz Lyden. 

Three friends; Emily, Joe, and Karen are completing their Open Water Diver Course together. The group complete all of their confined session and Dive 1 together but Joe feels seasick prior to Open Water Dive 2 and sits it out and the Instructor, Si completes Dive 2 with Karen and Emily.

The group would like to continue the course together but cannot extend their stay and ask Si what they can do to make the most out of their remaining time.

Si tells them that Joe may complete Dive 2 while Karen and Emily complete the performance requirements for Dive 3 on the same dive as long as they all stay within the maximum depth of 12 metres.

Then the last day of their stay Karen and Emily will be able to complete Dive to a maximum depth of 18 metres but Joe wouldn’t be able to join and leave with his PADI Scuba Diver certification.

Is Si meeting PADI standards and is he making the correct decision?

"Si is employing a technique called ‘Multiple –Level Teaching’ Having students from varying levels conducting different performance requirements while limiting them all to the most conservative depth limits.

As long as all objectives and supervision requirements are met he’s come up with a good solution for his students.

He could also offer Joe a referral for the diving that he has completed but this is only valid for one year. The Scuba Diver certification may be the preferred option if Joe doesn’t know when he’ll have the opportunity to complete the balance of the PADI Open Water Diver Course."

Gaz Lyden. 

Bethany has just completed her 50th and 51st logged dive with Divemaster, Min. Min sees during the check-in process that Bethany is already a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, PADI Rescue Diver and has 5 PADI Specialty certifications – Wreck Diver, Underwater Navigator, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Deep Diver and Enriched Air Nitrox.

Min congratulates her after their first dive together and informs her she can now apply for the PADI Master Scuba Diver Rating which Bethany is very happy to hear.

Upon arriving back at the dive centre Min asks one of the Instructors, Cate to assist Bethany with the Master Scuba Diver application. To both of their disappointment, Cate informs them that they are mistaken and Bethany will have to complete an additional PADI Specialty certification with an instructor as they must verify ‘mastery’ for the Master Scuba Diver certification on the final open water training dive.

Is Cate correct?

"The PADI Master Scuba Diver rating isn’t a continuing education program but rather a recognition level based on training and experience; both of which Bethany has. This means that no additional dives are required for the certification and Min is correct in this instance.

All Cate has to do is verify the training: PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, PADI Rescue Diver and has 5 PADI Specialty certifications, and experience: 50 logged dives, and complete the online application for Bethany’s Master Scuba Diver rating."

Gaz Lyden


Instructor Toby has completed his Tech 40-45 and 50 courses. Since he is already certified as a Wreck Instructor and Self-Reliant Instructor he plans to dive a local wreck to gain more technical diving experience.

He draws up a Self-Reliant plan using his additional technical knowledge and submits it to Henrik, the Dive Operations Manager for approval so he may surface support to complete the dive alone.

The plan includes a penetration at 30 metres depth and extends 15 metres into the wreck. The plan also includes planned decompression of 10 minutes and all the required stops to complete the dive dives safely using deco mixes of 50:50 and 100%.

Henrik looks over the plan and informs Toby he cannot allow him to complete this dive.

Is Henrik correct in not allowing Toby to complete the Self-Reliant dive plan he submitted?

"Toby’s plan blurs the lines between certifications by attempting to combine them. Dives are always encouraged to dive within the limitations of their training and experience. The fact that Toby is an Instructor doesn’t change that.

The depth of 30 metres and the planned decompression times but not the linear distance inside the wreck or wanting to complete it with surface support.

Technical divers must show self-sufficiency in the case of an emergency but not something they will plan to do. Gas switches are never planned to be performed alone and allowing Toby to do this would be remiss of Henrik’s duties.

Toby’s Wreck certification is also a barrier to his plan. The certification allows up to 40 metres linear distance from the surface and must always be performed in a buddy team.

The Self-Reliant program also has its limitation on Toby’s plan. Maximum depth for this program is 30 metre and is a no-decompression course and must have direct vertical access during all dives.

People may argue that his combination of training and experience makes this plan perfectly viable. Think of it from the point of an event occurring and the severity of that event and whether an insurance provider would see it in the same light."

 Gaz Lyden.