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How to Become a Drift Diving Specialist

Learn how to scuba dive in a current and you'll save energy. Plus, most drift divers use less air when gliding over a colourful reef or zipping over underwater topography.

This section explains how to make the two required training dives with a PADI Instructor and get certified as a Drift Diving Specialist on the same day.

PADI Drift Diver Course | Table of Contents

Important: The Drift Diver Specialty certification may count towards the PADI Master Scuba Diver Rating. Check out our PADI® Specialty Courses List for further details on more than thirty other specialties (listed from A to Z) that might help you 'go with the flow'.

What is the Meaning of Specialty Diver?

In simple terms, a Specialty Diver is someone with enhanced scuba diving abilities beyond entry level certifications (e.g. Discover Programs, Scuba Diver, Open Water Diver).

Signing up for specialist scuba courses is the ideal path to take if you want to learn new techniques and experience different kinds of underwater exploration.

Furthermore, you will get the best opportunity to acquire superior knowledge and skills in the diving activities that interest you most because a 'Specialty Instructor' will be supervising the training.

Scuba Diving in Currents

PADI's Drift Diver Specialty Course introduces divers to the feeling of "flying" underwater. Gliding with the shift of underwater tides and currents saves your energy and air supply - which usually results in a relaxing and effortless dive.

Proper procedures for drift diving means you stay close to your buddies, communicate with the surface boat, and you avoid getting lost.

Age, Depth, and Prerequisite Certification

There are minimum age requirements and maximum depth limits for all the specialties that require open water training dives.

As a result, before you can enrol in the PADI Drift Diver Specialty course you will need to be (all):

Number of Days: One (1) Day (minimum)

Open Water Training Dives: Two (2)

Maximum Depth: Depends on age and certification level

Important: Even though scuba certifications do not expire, we recommend taking the PADI ReActivate® Scuba Review if you have been inactive from diving for a while (e.g. longer than six months).

Benefits of Becoming a Drift Diver Specialist

So, what are some common reasons for taking the PADI Drift Diver Course? Drifting is a popular method used by scuba divers to cover large dive sites (e.g. the King Cruiser Wreck in Phuket).

When you glide with a river or ocean current you save energy. So, the benefits can also include improved air consumption and a reduction in physical effort needed.

Reaching some of the top scuba diving sites means you'll need to travel over extensive landscapes. As a result, the best technique for covering big areas is drifting with the natural movement of the water.

How to Get the PADI Drift Diver Specialty Certification in Thailand.This specialty course prepares you for meandering at different sites where regular scuba finning methods could be ineffective, such as:

It's important to understand that the techniques and procedures used when entering and exiting the water during a drift dive may vary at different locations.

Exploring Offshore Dive Sites

Having the knowledge and unique skills to explore distant locations away from the shore is another reason for taking the course.

Do you like swimming with big fish?

If so, you need to go diving in deeper water that attracts schooling vertebrates and pelagics, such as large sharks, groupers, and sea turtles.

Digital Learning Programs for Self-Study

In general, it is much easier for divers with a busy schedule to choose the online learning option to start scuba lessons.

Being able to complete the independent study portion of a multiple day course offers you some flexibility and convenience.

As long as you have a computer or a mobile device, you will be able to study the knowledge development portion at your own pace (online or offline).

Drift Diver eLearning: Up to Four (4) Hours

If you sign up for PADI eLearning® you can complete the Drift Diver self-study assignments online (around 4,500 THB).

Following that, you would need to contact the dive shop to perform the required scuba training dives with a PADI Instructor to finish the course.

PADI Drift Diver: What Skills Will You Learn?

You need to participate in the instructor-led knowledge development sessions by completing all knowledge reviews from the Drift Diving student manual.

Here's why...

Of course, you will learn how to enter and exit the water in a safe and effective manner (e.g. from a boat) while wearing scuba gear.

Besides that, you may also learn about:

  • Drift dive planning procedures (e.g. selecting a dive site) and techniques for using aquatic currents
  • Considerations required for the selection of mooring and anchorage points for scuba divers, using navigation charts, and local marine rules
  • Making a giant stride off a boat deck and how to perform a backward roll entry (e.g. from a dinghy)
  • Scuba equipment for drifting and the problematic hazards of making dives in currents
  • How to dive safely in stronger currents and how to deploy a surface marker buoy (SMB)
  • Using current lines (including a gear line, tag line, and a trip line)
  • The correct usage of emergency marine VHF radio (e.g. Pan Pan Call vs. Mayday)
  • Preventing and managing motion sickness (pelagism, mal de mer, nausea, seasickness, vomiting)

Note: Did you successfully complete the elective Drift Dive from the Adventures in Diving Program? If so, an instructor may count it as being the first training dive of the certification requirements in this particular specialty course.

FAQ Section and Medical Questionnaire Form

Can I Touch the Creatures Underwater?

Divers share a common responsibility to protect and conserve nature. As a result, passive interaction with aquatic animals helps to safeguard the habitats of delicate and sensitive sea life.

Is there anything I Shouldn't Do after Diving?

After cleaning the gear, there are several kinds of activities that divers should avoid doing after using scuba equipment, including:

  • Exercising
  • Flying in a plane (including traveling to altitude, such as mountain hiking)
  • Having a deep tissue massage, hot bath, or hot shower
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Forgetting to log the dives

When Should You Do a Scuba Refresher?

Suppose you don't go diving for more than six months. There is a simple way to refresh the knowledge and skills that you already learned.

After a long period of inactivity, taking the PADI ReActivate® program will help you brush up on the safety procedures and scuba diving fundamentals.

Medical Requirements: Free Download

You must be in good physical and mental health and be medically fit for recreational scuba diving. You can review the Diver Medical Participant Questionnaire Online to check whether you need to be evaluated by a physician.

It is not appropriate to ask dive staff (e.g. divemasters, instructors) for medical advice or clearance to go diving. Instead, you can contact the Divers Alert Network (DAN) if you have questions about your medical fitness to dive.

Price for PADI Drift Diver Specialty Course in Thailand 8,500 THB*

We have qualified instructors and expert dive guides who can teach in several languages, including English, Thai, and Chinese.

The price includes (all):

Blue Check MarkBoat trips (with free soft drinks served on board)

Blue Check MarkProfessional tuition from a "Private Scuba" Instructor

Blue Check MarkFree rental of required diving equipment (including a dive computer)

Blue Check MarkPADI Drift Diving Specialty Manual and Certification Card

Blue Check MarkHotel transfers within Pattaya City limits

Important: You will usually be making two (2) scuba training dives in the same day. The PADI flying after diving guidelines say you need to wait a minimum of eighteen (18) hours after the second dive before you go to altitude. Please send us an email if you need further information.

YouTube Video and Knowledge Base for Drift Divers

Most of the information and advice in this page focuses on scuba diving activities conducted from different types of watercraft and from sandy beaches.

We also have a list of blog articles about snorkeling which relate to popular boating adventures - especially around the tropical islands in Thailand.

Scuba Diving Help Guides

Note: The short video presented by PADI highlights what to expect when taking the Drift Diver Specialty course and how drifting protocols and procedures may vary in different parts of the world.

What Comes after the Drift Diver Specialty?

So what's the next course on the list? This certification links to most scuba certifications, including popular Specialty Courses available through the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

PADI Drift Diver course combines well with several other specialty courses, such as Diver Propulsion Vehicle (Underwater Scooter), Deep Diver, and Multilevel Diver.

Note: All course prices for diving are subject to change and assume that all prerequisites have been met to start the training. Click here to contact the team at Private Scuba in Thailand to make a booking or send an enquiry.

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