PADI Adaptive Scuba Programs

Scuba Diving is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone. PADI diving programs allow divers with a variety of abilities to participate in scuba diving programs. As a PADI Adaptive Support Diver, you will learn the techniques of assisting a diver who is medically fit but may require adaptive techniques to get involved in scuba diving.

What professional skills will you learn?

If you are a PADI Divemaster or higher and want to become more aware and mindful of individual considerations of divers with varying abilities, you can become a PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty Diver.

PADI’s Approach to Divers with Disabilities

Diving’s healing power is well documented through amazing stories of triumph over adversity, illness, and hardships – sometimes when nothing else worked. In diving, many people find hope they never had before. Subsequently, the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course, and the associated PADI Adaptive Support Diver course, are designed to increase awareness of this and to challenge the common misperceptions about obvious or hidden “disabilities.” To achieve this, the focus is on respect and what potential divers can do rather than on what they can’t do.


Your “basic” dive skills will be very tested through this course.

Adaptive Divers often are completely reliant on their buddies, the level of trust between them is immense. We will focus on what you can do as a buddy to help instill that trust in your students. It is also incredibly important that you can trust in the other team members that you are working with. Again this is a skill that is developed at every stage of the program, however it is perhaps most obvious during the transfer training.


Communication underwater is always tricky, add in that you are dealing with a larger team, usually dealing with more complex issues, and can have a member of the team that can't utilize standard scuba signals (either through a visual impairment or an inability to form them) and communication skills become very tested. Briefings and debriefings must be very thorough! You will be introduced to a brand new set of signals in tactile signing, designed to communicate with visually impaired divers.

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Dive Skills

Your “basic” dive skills will be very tested through this course. Task loading and stress testing ensures that even the most experienced divers will be challenged. Briefings, debriefings, spacial awareness, buoyancy control, skill demonstration, comfort underwater, airway control, and trim control will all be tested and developed to an elite level. Every diver, from new Divemasters to Instructors with years of teaching experience, has commented that they feel their dive skills are improved through the completion of this program.


This is the focus of the entire program. As a PADI Adaptive Support Diver or a PADI Specialty Techniques Diver or Instructor, you will work with divers with varying abilities. The training will focus on helping to make reasonable accommodation for divers so that they can enjoy the underwater world as much as anyone else.

  • Paraplegic divers can still use their arms for propulsion but may have a partial or complete loss of sensation and motor skills in the lower half of the body. We conduct empathy training by having divers not use their legs to experience what it feels like to be a diver with similar physical challenges.

  • People with limited or no sight still get a great thrill out of enjoying the sensation of weightlesness and the adaptive instructor will learn a set of communication techniques such as tactile signaling to communicate with the diver. We will practice what it is like to experience limited to no sight during your training.

  • Other physical or psychological challenges A key concept discussed in the course is to avoid any preconceptions when welcoming divers with disabilities; they may surprise you. Some will be well able to meet performance requirements for certification as PADI Open Water Divers and beyond. Others will be satisfied with experience programs (such as Discover Scuba Diving) and some will benefit from referral to specialist organizations that offer limited certifications. As a PADI Adaptive Scuba Diver or a PADI Adaptive Specialty Techniques diver or instructor, you will learn how to help these individuals enjoy their time in the underwater world.

This is the ideal professional training for anyone with a passion for human beings and those looking to further set themselves apart as scuba professionals.

PADI Adaptive Scuba Programs offered:

  • PADI Adaptive Specialty Techniques Instructor

    The PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty course provides PADI Professionals with practical techniques and approaches proven to be effective when teaching and assisting divers with physical or mental challenges.


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