Imagine: you’re on vacation and your favorite sunglasses are feeling a bit loose. As you take them off to see what’s wrong, you notice that the tiny screw attaching one of the arms to the lens is loose, and all of the sudden it pops out and disappears in the sand beneath your feet. Thankfully, your PADI® Advanced Open Water Diver training kicks in. Remembering the Search and Recovery dive, the first thing you do is mark the most likely location of your screw.

Calmly, you make sure that nothing disturbs the area and you start a careful visual search in a series of expanding circles around the spot you marked. On the third pass you see something tiny glint in the sunlight and there it is.

Many of the skills you’ll learn in the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course have application far beyond diving. Search and Recovery is a great example. It’s not so much the specific search patterns you learn but the fundamental approach and discipline that really make a difference with a myriad of day-to-day situations.

Advanced Open Water: Search and Recovery

What You’ll Learn During the Search and Recovery Dive

During the Search and Recovery dive your instructor will help you learn an approach to finding and recovering an object underwater within certain limits. That’s not always an easy task and success is among the most rewarding experiences you’re likely to have.

The first thing you’ll do is define, and mark, a search area. Then, depending on a number of factors including object size, visibility and bottom conditions, you’ll decide on a specific search pattern. Once you find the object, after letting out an underwater “whoop!”, you’ll either put it in your pocket or mark it for later recovery.

The recovery is great fun too. Using a lift bag and a few reliable knots you’ll bring an object, such as a small outboard motor, to the surface and onto the shore or boat. You’ll find that the knots you learn and use: the bowline, sheet bend and two half hitches are remarkably useful for many purposes, such as loading a roof rack or rigging a tarp for a party. These knots are secure and easy to untie even after being put under a big load for an extended time. The Search and Recovery dive will help you say farewell to the ubiquitous and truly terrible granny knot forever.

Don’t forget that the Search and Recovery dive is only the tip of the iceberg: There’s a great deal more to learn in the associated Search and Recovery Specialty course and the dive you just made counts towards that certification too!

Divers using lift bag - search and recovery

Become an Advanced Open Water Diver Today!

If you’re ready to advance your skills in many different ways, the Advanced Open Water Diver course is your next step. You’ll practice navigation and buoyancy, try deep diving and make three specialty dives of your choosing. It’s like a specialty sampler platter! For every specialty dive you complete, you can earn credit toward PADI specialty certifications.

Here are a few of the many options you can choose from for this certification course: Deep, Digital Underwater Photographer, Dive Against Debris, Dry Suit, Enriched Air Nitrox, Fish Identification, Night, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Search & Rescue, Underwater Naturalist, Underwater Navigation, and Wreck Diver.

Ready to get started now? Enroll in an Advanced Open Water Diver course at your PADI Dive Center or Resort using our dive shop locator.

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