Specialty courses focus on training for specific dive sites, equipment, protocols or skills and are a great way to advance your diving.  There are many, many courses to choose from and its a great idea to explore them and see which ones excite you.  The “Nitrox Specialty”  gives you the opportunity to breathe air that is enriched with Oxygen allowing you to increase your time on the bottom.  The “Night/limited visibility” specialty prepares you for diving with Manta Rays on Kona, a bucket list dive!  Maybe there’s a shipwreck you’d love to explore that lies just a bit deeper than your certification allows?  The “Deep Specialty” will get you there.  Want to extend your dive season?  The “Dry suit Specialty” will teach you how to use a Dry suit so you can dive in cooler water temperatures and dive more often.  Click here for a full list of SDI Specialty Courses.

So many specialties are available, there seems to be some confusion amongst new divers as to which specialties are required and which are recommended.  For some specialties, like Nitrox or Solo diver, formal training is a requirement.  Not only is this for your safety, you will be asked for a certification card if you choose to dive solo or use Nitrox breathing gas.  When implementing a new piece of dive gear like a dry suit, DPV or full face mask, it is highly recommended to seek out a qualified instructor that can teach you how to incorporate this new piece of equipment into your diving.

Some specialties can be approached from a different perspective. For example, If you live in a coastal area near several dive boats and have friends that use underwater cameras regularly, you might not need the formal training that taking the “underwater photography course” offers you.  You can seek out mentorship from other divers and apply what you have learned to your diving.  Same with the “Boat Diver Specialty”. If you have never been diving from a boat, and you want to try it out, let the dive boat crew know and they should provide you with a briefing on what to do while onboard. Come to think of it,  my regular dive buddies (myself included) have never taken the “Boat Specialty” and we have done hundreds of boat dives together, on dozens of different boats. This is not to say that you SHOULDN’T take the “Underwater Video” , “Fish Identification” or any other  specialty course from your local dive shop.  It can be a huge value to you and is a great way to break into a new underwater hobby.  These are just a few examples of underwater activities that do not require formal instruction.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions regarding specialty courses.  If the course you are interested is one that I do not offer, I can provide a recommendation for a competent instructor with experience in that exact area of diving.