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PADI Specialty Courses or How to Enhance Your Diving Skills

Becoming a certified PADI Advanced Open Water Diver is an exciting milestone in your scuba diving journey. Not only does it signify your proficiency in diving techniques, but it also opens the door to exploring a range of PADI specialty courses. These PADI specialties provide a unique opportunity to delve deeper into specific areas of interest within the underwater realm.

There are two essential PADI dive specialties that are crucial for any aspiring Advanced Diver: the PADI Deep Diver Specialty Course and the Underwater Navigation Course.

As part of the Advanced Diver certification requirements, you will be expected to complete at least one deep dive and a navigation dive. However, by undertaking the Deep Diver Specialty Course beforehand, you can fulfill this requirement while simultaneously gaining valuable knowledge and experience. This course equips you with the skills necessary to confidently explore greater depths, unveiling a whole new world of marine wonders.

Another PADI specialty that complements your Advanced Diver certification is the Underwater Navigation Course. As the name suggests, this course focuses on honing your navigational skills underwater. By undertaking these PADI specialty courses prior to obtaining your certification, you eliminate the need to repeat navigation dives later on.

However, there are many more specialties to explore. In this article, we will thoroughly examine the most popular PADI specialty courses. Take a look at the table of contents below.

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1. What are PADI Specialty Courses?

Imagine diving into the depths of the ocean, exploring sunken ships, or venturing into the beautiful cenotes of the Yucatan. These are just a few examples of the thrilling adventures that await you with PADI specialty courses!

These courses are designed to take your knowledge and skills in a specific underwater activity to the next level. They teach you to be a conscious and responsible diver as you explore the incredible underwater environment. You’ll gain the necessary knowledge to dive with confidence and be prepared for any unexpected situation. Your technique will greatly improve with each specialty.

Each specialty course you complete will open up a world of possibilities. You’ll discover new places, explore different types of dives, and broaden your underwater horizons.

In short, PADI specialty courses offer much more than just learning. They’re an invitation to explore, immerse yourself in exciting experiences, and acquire new skills as you become a better diver.


2. Why Should I Sign Up for PADI Specialty Courses?

If everything we’ve already told you isn’t enough, we’ll tell you more. If you’ve already completed your Advanced Open Water course, congratulations! Your diving skills have significantly increased. In addition, to pass the course, you would have already completed 5 dives corresponding to the specialty courses you have chosen. But the fun has only just begun. You can choose to continue your training and complete those specialties that you had only started in the Advanced Open Water certification. You already have a good portion done.

If you’re not yet an Advanced Diver, by taking PADI specialty courses before getting your certification, you avoid having to repeat dives because you already have them.

But wait, there’s more! If you dive into five PADI specialty diving courses and also complete the Rescue Diver course, you’ll be prepared to become a Dive Master and turn professional.

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3. The 10 Best PADI Specialty Courses

At Dressel Divers, we’ve been offering PADI specialty courses for 30 years, and believe us when we say that these are the most sought-after.

3.1. PADI Deep Diver Specialty Course

If you want to go down to 40 meters/130 feet, this is the PADI Specialty for you. To scuba dive with confidence at these depths, you should take the Deep Diver course. By taking this PADI Specialty, you will learn about the following:

  • Specialized deep diving equipment.
  • Deep dive planning, buddy procedures, safety considerations, and buoyancy control.
  • Managing your gas supply and dealing with gas narcosis.

If you’re interested in learning more about diving deeper, be sure to check out this post on the 5 aspects of deep-water diving that will surprise you.

3.2. PADI Underwater Navigator Specialty Course

A PADI specialty for finding your way back home.

In addition to obtaining your Advanced Open Water certification, there’s another good reason to learn about underwater navigation. This PADI specialty is essential for finding your way during your dives and staying oriented. You’ll take control of your dives, knowing exactly where you are, even if you’ve never dived in that location before. Additionally, you’ll feel much more confident and secure.

How will you achieve all of this? By acquiring and practicing key skills such as underwater observation, using your compass with greater precision, accurately estimating distances, and much more.

While you decide whether or not to pursue this specialty, you can read our article 7 Underwater Navigation Tips To Dive As An Expert


3.3. PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty Course

This is a PADI specialty course that will help you dive more comfortably and be less of a risk to others.

As we mentioned in the article ” 3 Secrets of Buoyancy Control to Dive as An Expert Diver,” good buoyancy control is essential for enjoying diving safely and comfortably. However, achieving an optimal level of skill can be challenging, especially for less experienced divers.

Peak Performance Buoyancy is your PADI specialty if you truly want to:

  • Determine the exact weight you need, so you’re not excessively weighted down yet still able to submerge.
  • Properly position your weighting system, taking into account your dive equipment, to achieve perfect balance in the water. The goal: perfect trim.
  • Conserve energy and use air more efficiently.
  • Move smoothly during the dive without posing a risk to the environment, marine life, or yourself. Additionally, you’ll be able to easily assume different positions.
  • By mastering peak performance buoyancy, you’ll dive with greater comfort and confidence while minimizing your impact on the underwater world.
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3.4. PADI Wreck Diver Specialty Course

There is a PADI specialty course for lovers of historical facts. We’re talking about the Wreck Diver specialty.

Before diving on a shipwreck, you’ll need to research and plan your visits properly. With this PADI specialty course, you will learn how to do this.

In addition, you will become familiar with all the safety considerations to take into account when diving on a wreck: navigating obstacles, dealing with currents, and moving with caution to explore the remains without unnecessary risks. You will know how to enter through narrow openings and even use guidelines and reels.

From powerful dive lights to cutting tools and signaling buoys, you will learn about the essential equipment to face these dives full of mystery.

Learn more about this PADI specialty course by reading the article. Wreck Diver: This Is How You Become One.


3.5. PADI Enriched Air (Nitrox) Diver Specialty Course

Take the PADI Enriched Air Diver specialty course only if you want more.

  • More time underwater. You’ll be able to extend your dives and explore the underwater world for a longer duration.
  • More safety. You’ll understand the limits of oxygen exposure and reduce risks.
  • More dives in a single day. By reducing nitrogen levels in your body, you can safely conduct multiple consecutive dives without compromising safety.

During the PADI Enriched Air Diver course, you will learn everything necessary to plan dives with Nitrox. You’ll delve into the world of gas mixtures, learn how to identify them based on labeling and understand safety measures and required equipment. Additionally, you’ll master the use of an air analyzer, a key tool for ensuring the quality of the mix.

Moreover, you’ll acquire knowledge about the use of tables and dive computers tailored to enriched air conditions. You’ll learn to calculate oxygen partial pressures at different depths, taking into account the selected mixture. This will enable you to avoid oxygen toxicity and dive safely and responsibly.

If everything we’ve told you isn’t enough, here’s the article: 5 Reasons to become a PADI Enriched Air Diver.


3.6. PADI Night Diver Specialty Course

Ready to dive into a fascinating PADI specialty course under the stars?

Night diving allows you to unveil the secrets of underwater life when the sun sets. Now, with night diving, every corner becomes a mysterious and thrilling stage. You will discover how colors transform and animal behaviors change when the sun goes down.

With this course, you will learn to navigate in darkness. You will move skillfully, following your compass and using dive lights as your guide in the nocturnal ocean. You will know how to descend and ascend at night and how to control your buoyancy to move confidently in the dim light.

You will acquire new communication skills as you learn to use your dive light for this purpose. It will be like speaking a new underwater language filled with lights and signals!

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3.7. PADI Drift Diver Specialty Course

Fun-loving divers adore this PADI specialty

People say that drift diving is the closest thing to flying in the ocean. Gliding along with the current is amazing, but there are some skills you need to fully enjoy it and practice it safely. If this is your case, drift diving is your PADI specialty.

By taking this PADI specialty course:

  1. You will become familiar with drift diving equipment: floats, lines, and reels.
  2. You will gain an understanding of aquatic currents: their causes and effects.

You will practice buoyancy control, navigation, communication, and methods to stay close to your buddy while moving along.

Until you experience it, we recommend reading the article: Drift Diving: 5 Tips to Make the Most Of It.

3.8. PADI Tec Sidemount Specialty Course

A PADI Specialty for Those Seeking Versatility in Diving

In the article Double Tank Diving, Why Is Wearing Two Tanks Worth It? we explained the origin of the sidemount configuration in diving. This configuration originated from cave diving, where the spaces are very narrow. Technical divers invented a setup to carry their tanks on the sides. To do it correctly, divers who opt for this PADI specialty learn:

  1. To mount and properly configure the sidemount diving equipment.
  2. To adjust their weighting system and sidemount equipment for proper buoyancy in the water.
  3. To handle gas by switching second stages between two cylinders.
  4. To correctly respond to potential problems when diving with sidemount equipment.


3.9. PADI Cavern Diver Specialty Course

This is the PADI specialty course for aspiring cave divers.

Although in the dictionary the words “cavern” and “cave” are practically synonymous, when it comes to diving, there are important differences that we must take into account.

Both in cave diving and cavern diving, there is a physical barrier between the diver and the surface that prevents direct ascent. However, during cavern diving, you will receive sunlight throughout the time you explore the cavern and you will always be within 200 feet (60 m) of an opening to the surface. For this reason, in cavern diving, you cannot go deeper than 70 feet (21 m) or venture farther than the mentioned distance from the cave entrance.

During the PADI specialty course “Cavern Diving,” you will:

  1. Discover what additional equipment you need to dive into these underground adventures, such as powerful flashlights or redundant breathing systems (Rebreathers).
  2. Learn to navigate and avoid sediment disturbance that could impair visibility.
  3. Additionally, you will learn to plan your cave dives, taking into account depth and distance limits, as well as air management.
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3.10. PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider Specialty Course

This PADI specialty course is not only for divers. It is also taken by boat crew members, lifeguards, freedivers, and anyone who spends their day in the water.

In this course, you will learn how to identify when it is necessary to use oxygen during diving and in aquatic emergency situations. You will learn to handle oxygen equipment and provide assistance to both divers and anyone engaged in recreational water activities who may need it.

Regarding divers, you will recognize the symptoms of potential decompression sickness and know how to act efficiently and safely.

The courses we have summarized are the most popular, but there are many more. They all offer you the opportunity to acquire specialized knowledge and develop advanced techniques to dive with confidence and safety.

Participating in these courses will not only make you a more competent diver but also provide you with the opportunity to advance to higher levels, such as becoming a professional diver. In summary, PADI specialties are an excellent way to improve your diving skills and explore different areas of interest within the underwater world. They are an invitation to explore, immerse yourself in new experiences, and become an even better diver. Have you already chosen your PADI specialty courses? Contact us.