So many certs, so little time.

Having recently completed my PADI navigation speciality i find myself wondering, what next?

If like me you love expanding your scuba knowledge, then the PADI specialities are a fantastic way of doing this by not only expanding the diving options available, but making you a safer diver and therefore a happy diver 🙂

Just a quick glance at their website provided me with a small conundrum. SO SO MANY! And some courses aren’t cheap either!

However after much time and careful consideration i’ve compiled 5 specs that i personally think are the most useful. Why 5 specs? Because to become a PADI Master Scuba diver (the highest non-professional level that PADI recognises) you require 5 specialities and 50 dives.

So here we go.

1) Enriched Air Diver – More bottom time, less chance of decompression sickness and you get to say ‘Nitrox’ possibly the best word in diving. Pretty much a no brainer.

2) Equipment Specialist –Ok, you love scuba diving and start the slow process of acquiring all the kit. Cool! But as you gear up for your next dive, there a leak coming from the dive valve. Oh no! But never fear, you check the valve and the o-ring looks a bit dodgy so after a quick replacement your ready for your next dive! Sweet.

The Equipment spec is great since you get the opportunity to learn about basic kit maintenance and repair that could potentially make or break a dive. A quick and easy hands on course which is worth its weight in gold.

3) Underwater Navigator – Your on holiday in Egypt on a live aboard dive boat (lucky you). New dive sites all the time, differing conditions, wrecks and much more. With so many variables the last thing you want to happen is to get lost, surface and have a massive surface swim back to the boat.

Underwater navigator teaches you the basics of compass use, navigation techniques and tips. Especially useful in low visibility conditions such as the UK. After I’d completed this course i felt so much more confident in finding my way around.

4) Deep Diver – Although a lot of the best things found underwater is found within the first 12m in the warm a few things are definitely worth venturing down past 18m which PADI class as a deep dive.

Wrecks, interesting aquatic lifeforms and there’s something exciting and mystical about going down into the gloom. Confidence at depth is important because a mistake near the surface can be multiplied deeper down. Therefore the deep diver course, in my opinion is arguably the most important spec, especially when safety is concerned.

5) Wreck Diver – So you’ve passed your deep, nav and enriched air courses. What to see now? How about a wreck, sitting at 36m? With the nitrox course, you’ll be able to stick around at that depth safely (deep) for a longer bottom time compared to air (EANx) and be able to navigate there and back again (with accurate bearings mind). As well as going to look at it, why not have a gander inside? The wreck spec teaches you to penetrate a wreck safely using reals etc. Fun Fun Fun!

Hope this helps you choose your next move!

Rob

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