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Refresher Scuba Course or How to Reactivate Your Lost Diving Skills

Refresher scuba course - main pic

Every time someone mentions the Refresher Scuba Course, I remember a story.

A long time ago in the orient, an old man was weeping bitterly.

A wise man, who saw him, asked. – Tell me, why are you crying?

– Because of the fig dessert I ate in my childhood. I remember its taste, but I won’t be able to taste it again.

– Why not?

– Because I lack an ingredient always.

The wise man replied. – I will pray for you so that you can taste it again before the thing which you lack will be yourself.

Perhaps, you also lack the ingredients to scuba again after some time without doing it. Maybe you lack practice or don’t remember part of the theory. Probably you have lost some diving skills and need to recover them. But this does not mean that you have to give up or forget about feeling the scuba thrill again. You are still in time to reactivate yourself.

If you are in this situation, just take a look at the content table of this article. We talk about the refresher scuba course.

refresher scuba course - 2

1. When Should You Do a Refresher Scuba Course?

If your brain doesn’t use it, it is forgotten. This is a universal truth. Our brain has a physiological mechanism by which we have difficulty accessing irrelevant information. That is information that we do not use. In order for our brain to remember, it must make neural connections. There are some brain proteins (phosphatase enzymes) that make it difficult for these connections.

Hence situations like “But I knew it, why don’t I remember it?”, or “It’s on the tip of my tongue…”, but it doesn’t come out.

Therefore, it is not so much a matter of losing information, but of not being able to access it. This is what happens when you have not been diving for a long time: your brain has a hard time retrieving the information.

According to a survey conducted by DEMA, The Diving Equipment & Marketing Association, in which more than 24,000 divers participated, 11.8% of them said they had not dived in more than a year. Another 21.7% admitted that, although they consider themselves divers, they are not active for various reasons.

How long is too long? You may ask. According to the different certifying agencies, if you did your Open Water course and did not dive again, 6 months is enough time to need a refresher course. As a general rule, any diver who has not dived for more than a year should take a refresher course.

In any case, if you find yourself in one of these groups and want to dive again, our advice is to take a refresher scuba course.

2. Do I Have to Refresh My Certification?

Of course not, under no circumstances will you ever have to retake your diving certification. You are and will be an Open Water Diver until the last day of your life. Diving certifications do not expire. You just need to give your brain a little boost.


3. What Is the Purpose of a Scuba Refresher Course?

For the first time, the purpose of a course is not to learn; it is to remember. Because the knowledge is already in your head, you just have to re-establish the neuronal connections. This is what you will do in your refresher dive course.

The fundamental purpose of the dive refresher course is safety.

PADI refresher scuba course

4. Is a Scuba Diving Refresher Worth It?

Scuba refresher needs may vary from one person to another.

Even though for two people with the same length of inactivity, the refresher course may be more or less necessary.

A very experienced diver with an extensive dive log will not have equal refreshment needs as one who has only done 4 dives during the Open Water Diver course.

All will enjoy the benefits of dive reactivation, but some will be more aware of needing it than others. Oddly enough, it is usually the more experienced ones.

Yes, divers also suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect. This psychological effect states that individuals with little knowledge and limited skills suffer a double burden: not only do they make regrettable mistakes, but their incompetence deprives them of the ability to realize it. In Spanish there is a saying “La ignorancia es la madre del atrevimiento” (ignorance is the mother of daring). But when we talk about scuba diving, it is a danger.

You will avoid these dangers by reviewing the theory and practice of diving with some exercises suggested by your diving Instructor.


5. What Is the Diving Refresher Course Process?

The diving refresher course has 2 parts, one theoretical and one practical.

  1. The first part is theoretical

Don’t worry. You won’t have to reread the Open Water manual in the academic part. This part has 20 topics. Among them:

– dive preparation

– boat diving

– dive computers

– aquatic life

– problem management

– health and fitness for diving…

The most usual is to have a class with the Diving Instructor for about an hour where you will go over the concepts together.

But more and more people are choosing to go through the theory online and then ask questions.

The best thing about this program is that it adapts to your needs. First, the diving refresher course offers a brief general introduction to all the topics and then, it adapts to the student’s needs and offers the student only the contents he/she needs to reinforce. How is this possible? Very simple, the e-learning methodology makes it possible. The program poses some questions that the student answers, depending on his/her answers the diving refresher course shows some contents or others.

  1. The Scuba Refresher Course’s second part is a practical

Again, the course follows the trial-and-error methodology. The instructor observes how you dive and grades on a check sheet that he carries with him.

You will review the assembly of the scuba diving equipment and its verification with your instructor. You will be reminded of diving skills such as sharing regulator, recovering it, how to act when the goggles fill with water, buoyancy control, etc.

In addition, the instructor will ask you to perform 5 tests to pass your diver refresher course.

  1. Remove your mask and put it back on.
  2. Demonstrate your ability to maintain neutral buoyancy.
  3. Buoyancy control with the BCD and weights in shallow water.
  4. Ascent with an alternate air source until you reach the surface.
  5. Other techniques or skills that the instructor feels will help you in the refreshment course.

The scuba diving refresher course practical part can be done in confined water or in the sea, but at shallow depths. After this point, you will do a complete open water dive, where you will feel completely comfortable in the water again. Of course, you will always be with your instructor.

When you successfully complete both parts of the dive refresher course, the certification agency of your choice will issue you a new card attesting to your reactivation.

Refresher scuba course

6. SDI Dive Refresher Course and PADI Reactivate

With Dressel Divers you can choose between the SDI Inactive Diver/Refresher Program or the PADI Reactivate Program.

In both cases

Requirements: Be a certified diver.

Fill out a medical history questionnaire

10 years old at least.

Duration: The suggested number of training hours is 4

Dives: 1. Additional dives can be added.

Maximum depth: 18 metres / 60 feet.


7. Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Refresher Scuba Course

  1. Prioritize safety. Often, divers come to us who don’t want to admit that they need a refresher scuba course. Why? we don’t know. What we do know is that they endanger themselves and their buddies with this mistaken attitude.

A dive refresher course is relatively cheap. How much is your safety worth?

  1. Be honest with your instructor. Tell them if you had any bad experiences, and ask them to focus on what you know you are not good at. Tehy will focus more on what you need.
  2. Don’t skip the theoretical part. We know it’s the most boring part, but if you don’t remember how long you have to wait to ascend when you lose your buddy, you won’t know how to react if it happens. It is just an example.
  3. Make the most of the time. Practice as much as you need for as long as you need.

Have you done the refresher dive course? Tell us about your experience in the Facebook thread or leave us a comment!