What is Specialty Diving?

Specialty Diving is a series of courses that focus on the type of diving that interests YOU. Often a Specialty is related to a hobby, like Deep Diving, Wreck Diving, Photography, Videography or Kayak Diving. Sometimes Specialty learning is a matter of necessity like Drysuit Diving, altitude Diving or Deep diving. Often, a Specialty course is a way to advance your knowledge, skills and safety for upcoming dives such as Wreck Diving, Drift Diving or Boat Diving. Many times, a certified diver just wants to improve their skills and be a better diver, which they can accomplish with Specialties that include Peak Buoyancy, Enriched Air Diving, and Navigation.. Whatever your motivation, a Specialty Diving certification increases your skill level and expands your opportunities for fun underwater.

PADI Specialties

Altitude Diving:
Imagine diving a clear mountain lake to explore a well-preserved wreck or discovering a school of trout living in a patch of boulders. This is a world where few venture, and an Altitude Diver Specialty will gain you access to the underwater wonders of fresh water.
Any time you scuba dive at an altitude higher than 1000 feet above sea level, you’re altitude diving so, it is important to learn how adjust your dive plan for the reduced surface pressure. You’ll complete two scuba dives and learn altitude dive planning, calculating altitude dive profiles, procedures and techniques.

AWARE Coral Reef Conservation:
Everyone likes to scuba dive or snorkel in clear water on a vibrant coral reef, yet many people know little about what they’re seeing or the importance of reef conservation.
The Project AWARE Coral Reef Conservation Specialty course helps you appreciate the marine environment and teaches you how you can help conserve these vital ecosystems. Through classroom teaching and discussion, you learn the complex nature of life on a reef, why many coral reefs are in serious trouble; and what you can do to prevent further decline. Project AWARE unites divers and ocean enthusiasts to make a difference for our planet.
This Specialty is open to non-divers and is also a great way to teach kids about our earth and the oceans.

AWARE Fish Identification:
“What was that fish with the black stripe and yellow?” is a common conversation after diving. If you want to be the diver with the answers, instead of the one asking the questions, then the AWARE Fish Identification Specialty is for you. Plus, you will enjoy your dives even more when you can recognize and identify the creatures. During two scuba dives, you’ll recognize identifying characteristics of local fish families, explore fish survey techniques and strategies and learn about Project AWARE activities that identify and protect aquatic life.

Boat Diving:
Whether you’ve never made a boat dive, or you’ve logged dozens, the PADI Boat Diver Specialty course will benefit you. The PADI Boat Diver course will expand your knowledge about boats from small inflatables to large liveaboards. You’ll complete two boat dives, learn boat terminology, boat diving procedures, boating safety and common safety equipment, as well as boat etiquette including how to enter and exit, and where to stow your gear.

Deep Diving:
There’s something exciting and mysterious about exploring deeper dive sites and there are many reasons to descend below 60 feet. Sometimes it’s a wreck or a critter or a giant fan or sponge. The Deep Diving Specialty will teach you to dive safely, with confidence, to 130 feet. After class sessions, you will perform four deep dives with your instructor, learning specialized deep diving equipment, dive planning, buddy contact procedures, buoyancy control, managing your gas supply plus dealing with gas narcosis and other safety considerations.

Digital Underwater Imaging:
With so many underwater cameras to choose from, it has become easier and more fun than ever to capture images of your underwater scuba adventures.Specialty will help both point-and-shoot camera or a DSL capture better images. Through hands-on training during two scuba dives, you’ll discover how to choose the right camera system, how to use the PADI SEA (Shoot, Examine, Adjust) method, how to compose underwater images and use practical techniques to take great digital images.

Diver Propulsion Vehicles:
DPVs offer a thrilling way for divers to cover more underwater territory in a shorter amount of time, allowing you to scoot through the water, glide over reefs, buzz around a large wreck or weave through a kelp forest. Whether making a shore or boat dive, a DPV is a great way to see more and have fun doing it.

You’ll make two dives and learn about choosing the right DPV, maintaining your DPV, planning dives, procedures for staying with your buddy, DPV-handling skills, proper descents and ascents as well as potential problems and how deal with them;

Drift Diving:
The PADI Drift Diver Specialty course teaches you how to enjoy going with the flow as you scuba dive down rivers and use ocean currents to glide along. It feels like flying, except that you’re underwater using scuba equipment. Drift diving can be relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. Along with drift diving techniques and procedures, you’ll receive an introduction to drift diving equipment (floats, lines and reels) and get an overview of aquatic currents. During two drift dives you will practice buoyancy control, navigation, communication and learn techniques for staying close to a buddy or together as a group.

Dry Suit Diving:
A dry suit seals you off from the water and keeps you comfortable, even in surprisingly cold water. Becoming a dry suit diver allows you to expand your boundaries and dive more places, more often. The first thing you’ll discover is which dry suit style and accompanying undergarments are right for you and how to care for your dry suit. During pool and two open water dives, you’ll learn how to put on, and take off, your dry suit with minimal assistance, master buoyancy control, and drysuit dive safety procedures.

Enriched Air Nitrox:
The PADI Enriched Air Diver course is PADI’s most popular specialty scuba course. Why? Scuba diving with enriched air nitrox gives you more no decompression time, especially on repetitive scuba dives. If staying down longer and getting back in the water sooner sounds appealing, then don’t hesitate to become an enriched air diver. You’ll learn why diving with air that has higher oxygen and lower nitrogen content gives you more bottom time, along with enriched air equipment considerations. You’ll discuss managing oxygen exposure, practice analyzing oxygen content in your scuba tank and learn to set your dive computer for diving with enriched air nitrox;

Emergency Oxygen (O2) Provider:
Knowing how and when to use emergency oxygen means you’re ready to help others, should the need arise. Becoming a PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider lets you breathe easy knowing that you can recognize scuba diving illnesses that are treatable with emergency oxygen and are prepared to offer aid. You’ll learn about dive injuries, different types of emergency O2 equipment, and safety considerations when using O2. You’ll practice assembling and disassembling emergency oxygen equipment, deploying a non-rebreather mask, using a demand inhalator valve on a breathing diver, and using a pocket mask on a non-breathing diver.

Equipment Specialist:
The PADI Equipment Specialist course teaches you to manage basic repairs and adjustments. You’ll also learn more about how your gear works, making you more comfortable with it and better prepared to take care of your investment. You’ll learn about routine care and maintenance procedures as well as scuba equipment storage recommendations. Your instructor will show you how to troubleshoot some common equipment problems and offer equipment configuration suggestions.

Multilevel Diving:
Dive computers continually analyze your depth, allowing you to maximize your dive time. If you’d like to understand more about dive computers and learn to plan multilevel dives, then the Multilevel Diver Specialty course is for you. You’ll review decompression theory as it relates to multilevel diving and dive computer models, plus plan multilevel dives. During the first of your two multilevel dives, you’ll plan and execute a two-level dive, and on the second dive, you’ll complete a three-level scuba dive.

Night Diving:
The scene changes as day creatures retire and nocturnal creatures emerge so, drop into a whole new world and watch it come to life under the glow of your dive light. The Night Diving Specialty course teaches you to focus on what you can see in your light’s beam, controlling buoyancy by feel, staying with your buddy and, especially, to pay attention to details you may overlook during the day. During three night dives, you’ll practice light handling, communication techniques, entering, exiting and navigating in the dark.

Peak Performance Buoyancy:
Excellent buoyancy control is what defines skilled scuba divers. They glide effortlessly, use less air and ascend, descend, or hover, almost as if by thought. They more easily observe aquatic life without disturbing their surroundings. The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course improves the buoyancy skills you learned as a new diver. During two scuba dives, you’ll learn how to determine the exact weight you need, how to trim your weight system and scuba gear, how to streamline to save energy, how to use air more efficiently. Plus, you will learn to move smoothly through the water and over effortlessly in any position.

Project AWARE:
Project AWARE’s is a global force of scuba divers and water enthusiasts who care about protecting the world’s water resources the vulnerable aquatic environments and know what everyday actions you can take to help protect them. This course is for anyone interested in protecting our aquatic environment. There are no prerequisites, age restrictions or water sessions required for this non-diving specialty. Through classroom sessions, you learn how Project AWARE unites scuba divers and water enthusiasts to make a difference on environmental issues.

Search and Recovery:
If you’ve ever lost something in the water and wanted to go find it, then the PADI Search and Recovery Diver Specialty course is for you. In this course you will learn to gather information and resources, and carefully plan a search. During four scuba dives you’ll practice swimming search patterns using your compass and natural navigation, locating large and small objects, using a lift bag, plus other recovery methods.

Sidemount Diving:
Sidemount diving gives you flexibility and streamlining options. Plus, you don’t have to walk with heavy cylinders on your back, just enter the water, clip them on and go. Sound interesting? Sign up for the PADI Sidemount Diver Specialty course. Along with learning the many benefits of diving with a sidemount configuration, during one confined water and three open water scuba dives you’ll learn how to properly assemble and configure sidemount scuba diving equipment, trim your weight system and sidemount gear so you’re perfectly balanced in the water, manage gas and respond correctly to potential problems when sidemount diving;

Underwater Naturalist:
Take the PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty course and you’ll see new things, even on the most familiar scuba diving sites. Why? Because when know more about symbioses, underwater ecology, and aquatic plant and animal habitats, you notice behaviors and see creatures you may have previously missed. Learn more about the local ecosystem and take a closer look on your next scuba diving adventure. PADI (Junior) Open Water Divers who are at least 10 years old are eligible to take the Underwater Naturalist Specialty course. Through class discussions and on two scuba dives, you’ll learn key differences between the terrestrial and aquatic worlds; Major aquatic life groupings, interactions and information that dispels myths; Responsible interactions with aquatic life;

Underwater Navigation:
Be the scuba diver everyone wants to follow because you know where you are and where you’re going. The PADI Underwater Navigator course fine-tunes your observation skills and teaches you to more accurately use your compass underwater. If you like challenges with big rewards, take this course and have fun finding your way. If you’re a PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver who is at least 10 years old, you can enroll in the PADI Underwater Navigator Specialty course. You’ll learn the tools of the trade, including navigation using natural clues and by following compass headings. During three scuba dives, you’ll practice methods to estimate distance underwater; Compass navigation while making at least five turns; Marking or relocating a submerged object or position from the surface; Underwater map making;

Underwater Videography:
Video is the best way to share the sights, sounds, motion and dynamics of the underwater world. If you want to get the best clips and learn to edit your scuba diving stories to share with friends through social media, then the PADI Underwater Videographer Specialty course is for you. Learn to create underwater videos that are interesting, entertaining and worth watching again and again. If you’re a PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver who is at least 10 years old, you can enroll in the PADI Underwater Videographer Specialty course. Your PADI Instructor will explain how to select, maintain and care for your underwater video equipment, whether it’s a housed unit with external lights, or your underwater camera that also shoots video. You’ll cover fundamentals such as exposure, focus, story line and sequencing. Post dive, you’ll learn about the editing process and how to produce a video that truly captures your scuba adventures.

Wreck Diving:
Whether purpose-sunk as an artificial reef for scuba divers, or lost as the result of an accident, wrecks are fascinating windows to the past teeming with aquatic life. Each wreck dive offers a chance for discovery, potentially unlocking a mystery or spying something others have missed. The PADI Wreck Diver Specialty course is popular because it offers rewarding adventures while observing responsible wreck diving practices. Your training starts by reviewing guidelines for researching and respecting wrecks. During four dives you’ll learn safety considerations for navigating and exploring wrecks, surveying and mapping a wreck, using penetration lines and reels to guide exploration and techniques to avoid kicking up silt or disturbing the wreck and its inhabitants.

Dive N Trips Specialties:

These specialties are only found at Dive N Trips. Our highly acclaimed staff have spent hours diving and putting together each of these great courses.

-AWARE Shark Conservation Diver:
Sharks are crucial to marine ecosystems. They maintain a balance in populations of prey species and keep the ocean healthy by removing ill or diseased animals. They are an important resource supporting local economies through fishing and as an attraction to dive tourists. But sharks are in a global decline. Overfishing has reduced many shark populations around the world to levels that threaten their continued existence. Shark numbers have fallen by more than 80% in many cases, and the continued existence of some species is at immediate risk in some regions. European sharks are particularly in danger with around one third of the species threatened with extinction, one of the highest levels in the world. Learn what you can do to help these incredible creatures!

-Compressor and Fill Station Operations:
You’re thinking of going to work in a dive center, but don’t have any knowledge about air compressors. In your Introduction to Compressor Operations Specialty course, you will learn skills, knowledge, procedures, problems, and hazards of Compressor Operations. This will allow you to be able to safely operate most air compressors.

Dive Against Debris:
Every year tens of thousands of marine animals and seabirds die from eating or getting tangled up in marine debris – or trash in the ocean. Marine debris also damages habitats, makes coastal areas unattractive to visit and is expensive to remove. As much as seventy percent of the rubbish entering our ocean sinks to the seafloor; only divers have the skills to tackle underwater marine debris. This course aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills to complete Dive Against Debris surveys including the removal of marine debris underwater and reporting the data online.

Full Face Mask Diving:
You’re tired of jaw fatigue and want more field of vision while you’re underwater. Then the Full-Face Mask Diver Specialty Course is perfect for you. We will familiarize you with the skills, knowledge, techniques, problems, hazards, and enjoyment of diving with a Full-Face Mask. Additionally, you will gain valuable information on how to upgrade your Full-Face Mask with an underwater communication system.

Introduction to Dive Boat Operations:
You’ve reached your Divemaster level, but still not sure about working on a dive boat. In this course, you will become familiar with the skills, knowledge, procedures, techniques, problems, and hazards of Divemastering a dive boat.

Kayak Diving:
Want to reach dives sites normally only able to be reached by boat? As an advanced level scuba diver, you will develop the knowledge and skills to safely use a kayak as a means of expanding your diving experience. Through the use of the kayak, you will increase your awareness of the marine environment and discover new dive sites.

Kelp Ecology:
You’ve been diving in it since you were first certified, but your knowledge about kelp is limited. Just want are the different pieces of kelp? How does it stay where it is? What types of critters use kelp for their home? In your Kelp Ecologist course, you will learn about the different types of kelp, the life cycle of kelp and how it benefits all the different critters that life in it.

Marine Awareness:
A look at the sea through questioning eyes, what was that wiggly crawly I saw on the last dive? What does it do? How does it move? Where does it live? What does it eat? How does it reproduce? What is its part in the eco system? The more you visit the undersea world, the more questions you will ask. This Marine Ecologist program will help you on your way to seeing more and enjoying what you see, the whole reason you began to dive in the first place.  Since each environment is different, sand, mud, rock, kelp, coral, fresh water, brackish water, salt water, this program will be offered in as many different and diverse habitats as feasible. Take advantage of your opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills while under the guidance of our highly qualified staff.

Research Diving:
Want to learn more about the critters you observe while diving? How about learning research procedures and techniques? In this course you will learn about oceanography (practical), biological (marine life and plant identification and preservation), and oceanology (men and equipment underwater).  Research projects and ecology projects may meet the requirements for certification.

Safety Sea Signing:
You look over and see the biggest lobster you’ve ever seen. Your dive buddy is looking the other way. You get their attention but can’t figure out how to tell them that there is a huge lobster in the reef. Here is where SeaSigns comes in. With the help of the American Sign Language, SeaSigns has developed some great signals for you and your buddy to communicate while you’re diving!

Sea Turtle Awareness Diver:
You’re cruising along underwater, when you look over and there is the biggest sea turtle you’ve ever seen! At that point you realize that you want to know more about these magnificent creatures! In your Sea Turtle Awareness course, you will be introduced to basic sea turtle identification and conservation. Upon completion you will be have a better knowledge of which species of turtle you’ve seen, and which ones need to be added to your list!

Self-Reliant Diver:
You have 100 dives logged, you feel like you can handle yourself well underwater. It sounds like it is time to take the Self-Reliant Diver course. In your course, you will develop the skills, knowledge and techniques necessary to rely on themselves first, whether they are diving with a partner.

Surface Marker Buoy Diver:
You’re diving in a current or choppy sea and need to make a safety stop, you realize that the dive boat is nowhere to be seen. So, you get out your surface marker buoy and attach it to your reel and shoot it to the surface. This allows you to safely make your ascent and safety stop. Your dive boat can then find you and your marker alerts other boaters to your presence. During the Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) Diver course, you will gain the knowledge and learn techniques required for the safe use of surface marker buoys (SMBs) and delayed surface marker buoys (DSMBs)

Surf Diving:
The waves are huge, but you’re confident that you and your buddy and get through them and onto your dive! You’ve both have taken the Surf Diver course. In your course, you will develop the necessary skills and knowledge to surf dive. You will learn about oceanography, meteorology, tides, wave dynamics, currents, entry & exit techniques, and surf safety.

Underwater Angling/Fishing:
Fishing pole with reel, check! Lure, check! You’re ready to go underwater fishing! What? Yep, with our guidance you will learn the techniques and skills to successfully fish underwater! This is a great for you and your buddy to bring home the catch!

Underwater Archaeology Diver:
With treasure, historically significant boats, cities, and prehistoric artifacts being found underwater, you can easily be drawn to Underwater Archaeology. Our program is not designed to make an Archaeologist out of you, but to train you to be an “assistant” to an Archaeologist. Experience has shown that a trained diver can be of invaluable use in expanding the capability and effectiveness of the Archaeologist.

Underwater Habitat Diver:
The dream of living and working underwater has intrigued man since “Capitan Nemo’s submarine”, Cousteau’s submarines and habitats, U.S. Navy’s Sea Lab experiments, Tektite I & II programs, La Chalupa’s scientific experiments, and the other underwater labs utilized throughout the world – came to public attention.  The thought of being able to spend extended time underwater has been at the forefront of every diver’s wish. Our Aquanaut training program affords you the unique opportunity to live in an underwater habitat and experience all of this and more.  Live your fantasies, and at the same time prepare yourself to do underwater science from an undersea lab.  Aquanaut training – for the ultimate turn-on to diving

Whale Shark Awareness Diver:
You can’t believe your eyes! This is got to be the biggest critter you’ve ever seen in the water! Whale Sharks can reach more than 42 feet long! You decide you now need to know more about these incredible creatures! In this course, you will become familiar with whale sharks and learn techniques for responsible interaction.

Zombie Apocalypse Diver:
You and your family have just arrived at Lake Tahoe. You’ve got up to the lake three hours late. Your car had engine trouble and traffic was miserable. How could your vacation get any worse, you asked yourself quietly? Then suddenly you look around and have your answer: Zombies! The Zombie Apocalypse has happened, and hoards of the walking dead are aimless moving about. Your vacation was an inconvenience now it is a disaster. Zombies are approaching fast and looking for their next meal: You! Searching for any means of escape you can find, it dawns on you, you have the most sought-after SCUBA certification in the world, you are a certified Zombie Apocalypse Diver! How will this story end, is going to be up to you! Will you become another member of the zombie hoard or will you be able to survive the apocalypse alive and well?

Specialty courses range from beginning level training to highly advanced training. They range in duration from 4 hours to 24 hours of class time and 1 to 4 dives devoted to open water training. A specialty course is not intended to make you an expert in a specialty area of diving. It will however, introduce you to the specialty, make you aware of the potential hazards, how to avoid them, allow you to safely experience the specialty, and let you know resources for learning more about the special interest area.