My PADI Rescue Diver Course

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PADI Rescue Diver = Confident, Responsible & Prepared.  (And a bit tired as well!)

Rescue Diver - Bahamas

Divers who have completed their PADI Rescue Diver Course always talk about the course being the most rewarding, and often the most demanding, PADI course they complete. Instructors also tell us how much they enjoy teaching it.

As I woke up surprisingly early on the first day of my holiday, I had distant school memories where the word ‘rewarding’ was often linked to hard, boring work.  With this in mind, I walked across the hotel to the PADI Dive Centre to start four days of Emergency First Response and PADI Rescue Diver training.  Hard work? Maybe. Boring? Never!

After the paperwork was completed, I was handed two brand new manuals – one for EFR and the other Rescue Diver.  The theory and practical skills combine perfectly on this course which made the knowledge reviews great markers for progression during the course.  You learn some amazing skills very simply.

What do you learn?

  • Causes of diver emergencies
  • Accident management
  • Identifying a diver in need
  • Common equipment problems
  • Diver rescue procedures
  • First Aid and injury treatment
  • Missing diver procedures
  • In/Out water rescue skills

First off, you learn about the psychology of Rescue. The important concept that is re-enforced over the course is: Protect Yourself First! Don’t become the second victim.  The importance of of preparation should be familiar to divers of all levels, but in the Rescue course it is taken further. Do you have the right equipment for emergencies?  Before I took the rescue course this was something I never really gave to much thought to.  Now I know exactly what is required.

CPR and First Aid

Rescue Diver - EFR-650px

The EFR Primary and Secondary Care elements of the course were really interesting and provided me with skills that I know are not just for diving but can be used in everyday life. Some of the primary and secondary skills you learn include:

  • Scene assessment
  • CPR (not a skill to be taken lightly as those who have completed CPR training will know)
  • Bleeding management
  • Spinal injury management

This knowledge brings with it a confidence and I know that I am now prepared to respond to an emergency correctly when needed .

Water Skills

Rescue Diver - Bonaire_0213_0407

The practical side of the course in based on a number of rescue scenarios revolving around skills used to help either a responsive or non responsive diver on either the surface or underwater. Prepare to get tired! Yes, this is a pretty intensive part of the course but at the end of each day the tiredness is only second to the content feeling you have. Top Tip: Try and choose the smallest, lightest person on the course as your buddy. Special thanks to my willing victim, Nat!

One of the hardest parts of the in-water rescue skills can be remembering the correct order of the actions you need to complete. In fact, you may even find you won’t notice how physical it is towing an unresponsive diver as you’ll be concentrating on providing rescue breaths, supporting the airways and removing equipment if the situation requires. Each scenario, though varied, essentially boils down to the same core skills that by now your have learnt and are starting to master.

As an ex-rugby player, my favourite skills were those involving panicked divers. If you’ve ever caught a scrum half off the back of the ruck and turned him, then it is pretty much the same skill (yes, I know i’m talking to a very small demographic here).

All jokes aside, the PADI Rescue diver course is a great course that takes you further as a diver, giving you the confidence and preparation that can really transform your outlook. I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

Big thanks to my excellent PADI Instructor Robert Stepien (PADI OWSI 318292) and his assistant and my willing (at times not-so-willing) victim Nat McGhee (PADI OWSI 315372) at Dahab Divers Technical.

Ready for the challenge? Contact your local PADI Dive Shop now to start your transformation to a PADI Rescue Diver.