PADI Underwater Navigator Instuctor

The PADI Underwater Navigator course offered at Rainbow Reef Dive Center is designed to help you the PADI Professional Dive Instructor offer a better understanding to your students of how to safely navigate underwater. Early Polynesian navigators routinely crossed thousands of miles of open ocean in outrigger canoes, using only their own senses and knowledge, a tradition passed down from generation to generation. These early peoples used natural navigation clues such as the motion of specific stars, weather, wildlife species, and directions of swells on the ocean, colors of the sea and sky and angles of approaching harbors to navigate their way from point A to point B on the ocean’s surface. Today, we still use natural navigation clues to navigate above and below the water, but the invention of the compass and other navigational instruments makes navigation a much easier albeit still a very challenging task. Despite more than an hour underwater and covering a lot of ground, scuba divers can successfully reach their intended mark by integrating natural navigation techniques (environmental observation) and their skill of using instruments like the compass.

Whether your first navigation dive or your hundredth, few moments in diving compare with the satisfaction and pride you feel when you navigate a distance or specific navigation pattern and hit your mark dead-on. Keep that thought, the philosophy of this course is to focus on fun and challenging underwater navigation dives with an emphasis on safety. Thus, the goal of this course is to teach student divers a systematic, methodical approach to enjoying underwater navigation. Student divers will develop the techniques involved in navigating underwater within recreational limits and while avoiding disturbing delicate marine life.

Whether your first navigation dive or your hundredth, few moments in diving compare with the satisfaction and pride you feel when you navigate a distance or specific navigation pattern and hit your mark dead-on

The best way to learn underwater navigation procedures and to apply them is by doing it. This course philosophy therefore, expands student diver knowledge about environmental clues that help them to navigate, how to use a compass for precision, patterns that aid navigation, navigational instruments and how to interact responsibly with the aquatic life they’ll see while navigating underwater. Student divers will apply the knowledge they gain by reading the PADI UnderwaterNavigator Manual and watching the companion video on at least three open water dives practicing and demonstrating the practical aspects of underwater navigation.

PADI Underwater Navigator Prerequisites

To qualify to teach the PADI Underwater Navigator course, an individual must be a Teaching status PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor or higher. PADI Instructors may apply for the Underwater Navigator Specialty Instructor rating after completing a Specialty Instructor Training course with a PADI Course Director, or by providing proof of experience and applying directly to PADI. For further detail, contact one of our Course Directors at Rainbow Reef Dive Center.

PADI Underwater Navigator Materials and Equipment

Use the PADI Underwater Navigator course materials prescriptively to accommodate various sequencing preferences and teaching and learning styles.


  • PADI Underwater Navigator Specialty Course Instructor Guide

  • Specialty equipment needed for student divers to perform underwater navigation dives.

  • Underwater line and reel for distance measurement

  • Marker buoys

  • Navigational aids (underwater grid slates, course plotter/Nav-Finderô )


  • PADI Underwater Navigator Manual. Use the student diver manual for detailed content explanation.

  • PADI Underwater Navigator video.

  • As needed: extra line and reels and navigational aids for student divers.

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