If you’ve completed the Deep Diver course, you know a 100-foot / 30 metre dive is a rush but have you ever wondered what it’s like at 150 feet / 45 metres? This curiosity may prompt questions about technical diving, such as, what is the difference between tec diving and recreational diving? Here’s the good news: We’re here to answer that question.

Technical Diving - side mount

Dive Sites

Recreational divers can explore underwater worlds that non-divers will never see. Technical divers can see all the sites recreational divers can, but they can go deeper and stay longer. Increased limits open up even more places to explore. However, tec divers use alternate breathing gasses and tons of gear. For this reason, tec dive sites can be limited for logistical reasons.


Every scuba diver is required to complete a training course to become certified to dive. Both tec and rec divers have a training path for continuing education. Recreational divers can choose specialties, such as fish identification or wreck diving. The tec diver path includes trimix, rebreather, and sidemount.


PADI® teaches to dive within your limits. Open water divers dive to a maximum depth of 60 feet / 18 metres. Experienced divers are advised to stay within non-decompression limits above 130 feet / 40 metres. Technical divers can go beyond 130 feet / 40 metres and have planned decompression stops. These extended limits mean you can explore a wreck longer, or go further back into a cave. Photographers, for example, appreciate extended limits because they can take more time to get ‘that’ shot.

Technical Diving - Videographer


Recreational divers use an RDP or dive computer to plan their dive. Most recreational dive computers give visual instructions that make dive planning extremely easy. Tec divers have rigorous planning procedures. Preparing gear, gas mixtures, and planning staged decompression, takes more time. Tec divers recognize planning is half the fun!


While every diver needs a set of scuba gear to go diving, tec divers use at least twice as much gear as recreational divers. Click here for a breakdown of tec diving gear. Because of the need for more gear, equipment cost is higher for technical divers. (but it’s the perfect solution for those affected by gear lust!).


Going deeper for longer periods of time presents more risk to technical divers. However, the goal of the training is to mitigate this risk. You’ll have the experience, training, and equipment to handle extreme situations. The extra risk for tec divers lays the way for phenomenal experiences. Tec divers want to be the one in a rebreather approaching skittish animals usually scared away by bubbles.

Technical Diving - Rebreather


Does that sound like you?

Now that you know the difference between technical diving and recreational diving, click here to find a PADI Dive Center or Resort that offers Rec and Tec diving courses.

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