Private ScubaPADI® CoursesSpecialties › Self-Reliant Diver

What is a PADI Self-Reliant Diver?

They are seldom, but there are certain times when professionals and recreational divers either want to, or need to, dive alone.

Still, the industry standard says you should scuba dive with a buddy. So, how does PADI's Self Reliant Diver course prepare you for diving solo underwater?

Self-Reliance Dive Course | List of Contents

Note: The Self-Reliant Diver Specialty certification may count towards the high-ranking Master Scuba Diver rating in scuba. Check through the PADI A to Z list of Specialties for further information about more than fifty (50) other available courses.

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.

When Can You Scuba Dive Alone?

To begin with, you should never go scuba diving by yourself until, or unless, you have received the proper training to do so and you are using the appropriate safety equipment.

The rigorous instruction combines several theoretical sessions with three (3) scuba training dives in an open water environment.

Age, Depth, and Prerequisite Certification

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

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

Number of Days: Two (recommended)

Self-Reliant Training Dives: Three (3)

Maximum Depth: Depends on age and certification level

Important: Even though PADI scuba certifications do not expire, we recommend reactivating it through a refresher course if you have been away from diving for a while (e.g. longer than six months).

Key Reasons for Becoming a Self Reliant Diver

It's important to make it clear that scuba diving with a buddy is the accepted norm for the vast majority of the diving community.

Nonetheless, there are several reasons why experienced divers want to develop their self-reliance skills and independence in diving.


After you have learned how to perform dives without a partner, it usually makes you a stronger diver. Plus, you become less dependent on other divers who may have limited or no experience whatsoever.

But, you'll need to have proper in training self-reliant diving techniques, use the right equipment, and have an appropriate attitude for diving alone.

After accepting the risks that are integral to independent diving, responsible and experienced divers should be qualified to carry out scuba dives without a buddy.

Pro Tip: Scuba lessons help new students learn "what to do if you and your buddy get separated during a dive". As such, self-reliant diving will not be an activity that everyone can handle. At the very least, you'll need to have strong mental discipline when diving alone.

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).

Signing Up for PADI eLearning™

You can complete some self-study assignments online with eLearning®. Then, you would need to contact the dive shop to perform any required scuba training dives with a PADI Instructor.

PADI Self-Reliant Diver: What Skills Will You Learn?

The first part of the theory focuses on the potential risks associated with diving solo. Next, you will learn about the safety equipment needed to dive without a buddy.

After learning how to compensate for some of the common emergency situations in scuba, you will get to practice:

  • How to Become a PADI Self Reliant Diver and Dive Alone?Performing an air consumption rate swim. The main purpose is to gather information for other calculations during the course.
  • Switching to a redundant air supply system - during 'simulated' emergency situations.
  • Swimming without a dive mask on your face.
  • Navigating to various points, including the exit point.
  • How to launch and use Delayed Surface Marker Buoys (dSMBs).
  • Managing dive emergencies as a solo diver.

Important: The first dive conducted in the PADI Solo Diver course may be credited as an Adventure Dive towards the Advanced Open Water Diver certification.

Dive Gear and Specialist Equipment

You need to be wearing most of the usual scuba gear for the three (3) self-reliant training dives conducted in open water. Other specialist equipment for solo diving usually includes:

Note: Using different underwater torches will be useful as the surroundings become darker and if you will be navigating your way through any dangerous structures (e.g. 10 best wreck dives in the world).

FAQ Section and Medical Questionnaire Form

How Do I Become a Self Reliant Diver?

You will need to sign up for a sanctioned course from a reputable training agency, such as the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

PADI® standards require you to be certified as Advanced Open Water, at least eighteen (18) years of age, and have a minimum of 100 logged dives before you can take part in the Self-Reliant Diver course.

Is it Legal to Scuba Dive Alone?

So now you may be wondering if it's actually illegal to dive solo? In fact, even after you complete the PADI Self Reliant Diver certification, they do not guarantee that you can 'legally' scuba dive without a buddy.

For example, some individual countries and some dive operators may enforce regulations that require 'all' divers to find a dive buddy to accompany them underwater.

Can I Survive Below 40 Metres Underwater?

We refer to the US Navy decompression dive tables to answer this question. Divers can only stay at forty seven metres (160 feet) for around five minutes before they need to decompress during the ascent.

Can I Touch the Underwater Organisms?

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

What Should I Not Do After Multilevel or Multi Day Dives?

After cleaning the gear, there are several kinds of activities that divers should avoid doing. They include:

  • Physical exercise
  • Flying in a plane, including traveling to altitude (e.g. mountain hiking).
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Having a full body massage, hot bath, or hot shower
  • 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 Self Reliant Diver Specialty Certification in Thailand 8,900 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 Self-Reliant Diver Specialty Manual and Certification Card

Blue Check MarkHotel transfers within Pattaya City limits

Important: You will usually be making three (3) scuba training dives in the same day. The PADI and DAN 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 an email to our team if you need further information.

YouTube Video and Knowledge Base for Multilevel Divers

Most of the information and advice in this section focuses on deep scuba diving activities which we usually conduct from a boat in Thailand.

We also have a list of blog posts about snorkeling - with other popular watersport tourist attractions at the beach resort of Pattaya.

Scuba Diving Help Guides

Important: The short video [7:33 seconds] presented by Simply Scuba highlights what to expect in the Self Reliant Diving Specialty course.

What Comes after the Solo Diver Specialty?

This unique certification links to several "con-ed" diving courses, including many of the Specialty Courses offered by PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors).

So what comes next?

The PADI® Self Reliant Diver course combines really well with several other specialty courses such as, the Equipment Specialist, Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB) Diver, Underwater Naturalist, and Shipwreck 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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