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PADI® Underwater Naturalist Course

All sea creatures have a unique role to play in aquatic ecosystems. It's fascinating to learn about the symbiotic and predator/prey relationships between aquatic animals and plant life.

The PADI Underwater Naturalist course is ideal for scuba divers to get an informative insight into the ecosystem at familiar dive sites and key differences between terrestrial and aquatic worlds.

Underwater Naturalist | Table of Contents

Important: The Underwater Naturalist Specialty certification may count towards PADI Master Scuba Diver. Review the Specialties list for further details about 30+ other courses (listed from A to Z).

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.

Understanding Local Ecosystems

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 Underwater Naturalist Specialty course you will need to be (all):

Number of Days: One (1)

Open Water Training Dives: Two (2)

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).

Benefits of Becoming an Underwater Naturalist Specialist

The key reasons for taking this course are to learn about aquatic animals and marine vertebrates (animals with an interior skeleton structure).

Also, our marine invertebrates list contains a number of species that many scuba divers never see, such as rare echinoderms and those with Annelida characteristics (e.g. segmented worms).

A global database of fish species (alias FishBase) states there are around 35,000 species of fish worldwide [June 2022]. Furthermore, you can find over 4,000 of them on coral reef structures (including man-made artificial reefs).

How to Get the PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty Certification in Thailand.PADI's specialty course for identifying fishes is a basic introduction to common fish families, including:

Having the knowledge and unique skills to explore distant locations away from the shore is another reason for taking the course because that's where you'll find large pelagics.

Do you like swimming with big fishes?

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

Digital Learning Programs for Self-Study

In general, students with a busy schedule will benefit from choosing online learning to complete the self-study portions.

Being able to complete the independent study part for certification courses offers some convenience with flexibility.

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 Underwater Naturalist Diver: What Will You Learn?

You need to participate in the instructor-led knowledge sessions by completing the knowledge reviews (the A.W.A.R.E. - Our World, Our Water manual is recommended and available as a free download).

You will learn about aquatic plant and animal habitats, symbioses, and underwater ecology. As a result, you will see unique creature behaviours that you would normally have missed, including:

  • Identifying life groupings and responsible interaction.
  • Marine life predator/prey and symbiotic relationships.
  • The role of aquatic plants and underwater environments.
  • Food chains and marine life conservation.

The PADI AWARE Foundation

It is a nonprofit organisation, designated in 1992. It helps to unite divers and other concerned individuals about the plight of coral reefs and how to conserve underwater environments.

Joining forces with the team of environmental divers means you can become a Project AWARE Patron and contribute to conservation.

Key takeaway:

The main topics covered in the academics sections include information that unites scuba divers and other water enthusiasts, including:

  1. Project AWARE
  2. Protect the Living Reef
  3. Understanding Coral
  4. The Complex Nature of Life on the Coral Reef
  5. The Importance of Coral Reefs
  6. Coral Reefs in Peril

Note: Another section contains more information about earning the Project AWARE Specialist certification with the 'Private Scuba' team in Thailand.

FAQ Section and Medical Questionnaire Form

Can I Get the PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty Certification Online?

There are many scuba courses you can do online, and some offline too. You would need to check whether this particular course is available through digital learning.

Is there a Simple Strategy for Identifying Reef Fishes?

Yes. Beginners will find it easier to focus on determining actual fish families (e.g. ray-finned fishes with the class Actinopterygii). Unless you're a marine biologist, there is no need to learn every single species known to man.

What Happens if I Touch an Underwater Organism?

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 is the PADI Underwater Naturalist Course?

There are several reasons why combining the PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty course with the AWARE Fish Identification Specialty is a good idea.

For example:

  1. You will observe new features and animal behaviours (even on the dive sites you are familiar with).
  2. Learning more about symbiotic relationships and underwater ecology will help to make you a more knowledgeable diver.
  3. The majority of scuba divers fail to understand the importance of aquatic plant and animal habitats.

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 Underwater Naturalist Specialty Certification 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 Underwater Naturalist Specialty Manual and Certification Card

Blue Check MarkHotel transfers within Pattaya City limits

Important: You may be making two (2) scuba training dives in the same day. If so, 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 Participants

Most of the information and advice in this page focuses on scuba diving in a range of diverse environments (including some with cold water temperatures).

We also have a list of blog articles about snorkeling which relate to popular boating adventures - especially those taking place in hot and sunny climates like Thailand.

Scuba Diving Help Guides for Beginners

Note: The short PADI video highlights what to expect in the PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty course and how fish families and their characteristics vary in different parts of the world.

What Comes after PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty?

Most divers and snorkelers will agree that scuba diving and snorkeling is more fun when you can identify different fish species and other aquatic marine life.

If you are into coral reefs, the AWARE Coral Reef Conservation certification tackles the dangerous threats to the world's reef systems and how you can get involved.

So what comes next?

This certification has strong links to the popular Specialty Courses offered by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).

But, the PADI® Underwater Naturalist course combines particularly well with several other specialties, such as:

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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