Are you seeking a rewarding new challenge? The rescue diver course will help you to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to perform diver rescues and administer first aid. You’ll learn skills such as self-rescues, buddy rescues, how to recognize and calm a panicked diver, administration of first aid for dive-related injuries, search and rescue, and how to manage accident scenes.

  • Must be 18 and older, or 15 with parental consent
  • Current CPR certification
  • Current First-Aid certification
  • Advanced Diver certification or 40 logged dives

The details

The rescue certification course is designed to develop the knowledge and necessary skills for an individual to effectively perform diver rescues and assists, and administer necessary first aid.

Qualifications for Graduates

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates:

  • Are able to conduct rescues for divers in distress
  • Are qualified to enroll in:
    • The SDI Master Diver Program
    • The SDI Divemaster Course
Who May Teach

An active SDI Open Water Scuba Diver Instructor

Student to Instructor Ratio


  • Unlimited, so long as adequate facility, supplies and time are provided to ensure comprehensive and complete training of subject matter

Confined Water (swimming pool-like conditions)

  • A maximum of 10 students per instructor
  • Instructors have the option of adding 2 additional students with the assistance of an active assistant instructor or divemaster. Although additional assistants may be used, no additional students may be added

Open Water (ocean, lake, quarry, spring, river or estuary)

  • A maximum of 8 students per instructor are allowed; it is the instructor’s discretion to reduce this number as conditions dictate
  • Instructors have the option of adding 2 more students with the assistance of an active assistant instructor or divemaster. Although additional assistants may be used, no additional students may be added
Student Prerequisites
  • Minimum age 18, 15 with parental consent
  • Provide proof of current CPR, first aid and oxygen (O2) provider (where local law permits) certification*
  • Provide proof of SDI Advanced Adventure Diver certification, or equivalent, or open water diver certification and 40 logged open water dives

* Note: SDI CPROX, CPR1st or CPROX1stAED courses may be combined with the rescue program by qualified instructors.

Instructors are required to teach and evaluate all the following skills

On the surface identify and assist a properly equipped skin or scuba diver simulating:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Tiredness
  • Leg cramp
  • Early panic symptoms

Locate and bring to the surface a scuba diver simulating unconsciousness to the surface from approximately 6 metres / 20 feet

Upon surfacing, transport the unconscious diver 50 metres / 150 feet to shore or boat, simulating in-water rescue breathing

Upon reaching the shore or boat, with the assistance of 1 aide, remove the diver from the water

Course Structure

SDI allows instructors to structure courses according to the number of students participating and their skill level


The suggested number of training hours is 12

Of the suggested 12 hours, 8 of the suggested hours should be performed in open water conditions

Training Material

Required Materials:

  • SDI Rescue Diver Manual (or SDI Rescue Diver Online Training course)
  • SDI Rescue Diver K.Q. Review
  • SDI Rescue Diver Instructor Guide

Optional Material

  • SDI Rescue Diver PowerPoint Presentation
  • SDI Rescue Diver Slates
  • SDI Rescue Diver Instructor Slates
Required Equipment

Basic open water scuba equipment as described in section two of this manual, with the addition of a cutting device.

Required Subject Areas

The SDI Rescue Diver Manual is required for this course. Instructors may use any additional text or materials that they feel help present these topics. The following topics must be covered during this course:

Prevention and Causes of Diving Accidents

  • Stress and psychological factors i.e. the panic syndrome in self and others
  • Physical conditioning
  • Equipment
  • Surface drowning syndrome

Diving Lifesaving

  • Self rescue
  • Diver assists
  • Surface and underwater rescues
  • Types of transports
  • In-water artificial respiration
  • Boat and shore exit techniques
  • Diver first aid
  • Review of oxygen (O2) administration

Hyperbaric Injuries and Management

  • Information collection
  • Access to hyperbaric chambers

Accident Management

  • Access to emergency transport/assistance
  • Accident reporting
  • Liability and related legal considerations
In order to complete this course, students must:

Demonstrate mature and sound judgment concerning dive emergency planning and execution

Complete all open water requirements safely and efficiently

Sign Up. Call

If you would like to register for the next Rescue Diver course, we would invite you to a consultation with our current staff instructor to go over the details of the Rescue Diver course with you. During your consultation please bring all of your certification cards, your logbook and any information pertaining to your diving career.