The PADI Rescue Diver course is one of the most rewarding and challenging continuing education scuba certifications you can sign up for. This scuba course teaches you how to recognize and respond to dive emergencies, administer emergency oxygen, manage accidents, and even fix common equipment problems – all while putting your mental and physical strength to the test.

Don’t let the name of the course deter you; PADI Rescue Diver training is fun! You will learn to recognize the signs of diver stress and to always be prepared to help a fellow dive buddy in need, whether it be at the surface or underwater.

If you’re considering taking the next step in your scuba journey and enrolling in the PADI Rescue Diver course, you may be wondering what to expect. Keep reading for the answers to some common questions divers ask about completing Rescue Diver.

A scuba diving student practicing rescue breaths during one of their PADI Rescue Diver course dives in open water

Here’s What You Can Expect During the PADI Rescue Diver Course

Many divers ask, “Is PADI Rescue Diver hard?” and at first glance, the course requirements may seem intimidating. However, after completing this sought-after dive course, you will have the tools to become a more confident scuba diver and a better dive buddy.

The PADI Rescue Diver course content consists of three parts: knowledge development, rescue training exercises, and open water rescue scenarios.

During this course, you will learn to:

  • Use emergency oxygen
  • Troubleshoot and fix minor scuba gear issues
  • Develop underwater safety techniques
  • Improve navigation skills
  • Identify a diver in need at the surface or underwater
  • Rescue another diver or yourself

Unlike the PADI Open Water Diver course, a Rescue Diver student spends very little time in a pool. Most of the training and rescue scenarios take place in open water.

A PADI Instructor teaches a group of scuba diving students how to do rescue breaths during their PADI Rescue Diver course

What Are the Course Prerequisites?

To certify as a PADI Rescue Diver, you must:

PADI Open Water Divers can enroll in a Rescue Diver course to complete their knowledge development and confined-water rescue exercises. However, they’ll need to meet the prerequisites listed above before they can complete the open water exercises and earn their PADI Rescue Diver certification.

A scuba diver sits on a quayside while he completes his PADI knowledge development training on a laptop with PADI eLearning

How Long Does the Rescue Diver Course Take?

You can complete the knowledge development portion of the course in your own time, and at your own pace, by signing up for eLearning. The rescue training exercises and open water dives typically take place over two days after completing the knowledge development. If you also need to complete the EFR certification course, that will take another day. Contact your local PADI Dive Shop to find out more about individual course availability and schedules.

How Much Does the Rescue Diver Course Cost?

The cost for eLearning to complete your Rescue Diver knowledge development is $224 (€228/£190)*. There will also be an additional cost for your practical lessons with a PADI Instructor to complete your certification. This cost will be determined by your chosen PADI Dive Shop, as they are each individually owned.

A diver throwing a buoy to a casualty during a rescue scenario, a skill that's one of many key PADI Rescue Diver requirements

What Can You Do with a Rescue Diver Certification?

As well as being a better diver, there are many PADI Rescue Diver benefits.

First, you’re a step closer to a professional scuba career. If you plan to Go Pro, PADI Rescue Diver will be a requirement for achieving your PADI Divemaster or PADI Instructor rating. It’s also a prerequisite for certifying as a Public Safety Diver.

Of course, you don’t need to seek a professional certification to take the Rescue Diver course. In fact, many divers sign up to learn to become more self-aware while diving. Also, Rescue Divers only need 50 logged dives and five PADI Specialties to earn the elite PADI Master Scuba Diver rating—which fewer than 2 percent of divers ever reach!

A scuba diver pretends to shout for help while towing a casualty in the water during a PADI Rescue Diver course scenario

Is PADI Rescue Diver Worth It?

Here is What Divers Say

Robby Myers, ScubaLab Director:

“I liked that the Rescue Diver course was challenging. I also felt it made me better prepared to respond to an emergency and that it helps integrate safety-mindedness into my regular dive routine. Even just keeping small things at the back of your mind, like knowing your location, knowing where an AED is located, and where to get help is a good habit I picked up. Small things that untrained people might not think about, but are critical if something goes wrong.

Jack Fishman, PADI AWARE Community & Campaigns Officer/PADI Course Director:

“Becoming a Rescue Diver is about more than just sharpening your skills as a scuba diver. Your perception changes. It’s an incredible thing to see beyond your bubbles, into the comfort and presence of your fellow divers in the water. It’s a true step into leadership and increasing your awareness of the underwater world.”

How to Become a Rescue Diver

Are you ready to take the challenge, learn the PADI Rescue Diver course skills, and become a better dive buddy? Sign up today via eLearning (Get 20% off the course by joining PADI Club) or contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort to get started.

*Prices correct as of January 2024

Share This

Related Posts