Rescue Diver

Prevent and Manage Problems in the Water

With the Rescue Diver/Stress and Rescue Course

2-4 Days, 2-3 Dives

Why would I want to take this course?

Many divers describe this course as the most challenging, yet most rewarding course they’ve ever taken. Not only do you learn to prevent and manage problems in the water, you’ll become more confident in your skills as a diver and at the end of the course, will know how to help others if needed.

Rescue Diver is a pivotal course in your diving life and diving will never quite be the same after you complete it. Not for some scary reason about what you learn, but as a Rescue Diver you are not solely looking out for yourself anymore you are looking out for other people too. You will try to see what you can do to help if someone has a problem, or much more importantly see the signs of a potential problem before it arises and prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.

This course is a required prerequisite to any higher level diving certification including Divemaster and Instructor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I ready to become a Rescue Diver?

This is actually quite a difficult question to answer because it will be different for everyone. The short answer is when you are ready. Technically, you can take your Rescue Diver course as soon as you are done with your Advanced Open Water course!

When you become a Rescue Diver you “turn a corner” in your diving life and start the journey towards joining the “Pro” ranks. You should be very comfortable in your own diving first. That will be different for everyone. So only you can be the judge.

Generally, we suggest having at least 50 logged dives before signing up for this course. However, this is not required.

Before becoming a Rescue Diver, you should be fairly self-reliant, not looking to the Divemaster or Instructor for direction all of the time. You should be relaxed in the water and calm on your dives. Your buoyancy should be very good—it’s tough to help someone adjust their buoyancy if you’re still worried about your own.

The final requirement is that you should also want to help others.

Differences between PADI’s Rescue Diver and SSI’s Stress and Rescue Courses

The PADI course is generally 2 days and includes 10 exercises conducted in open water and 2 rescue scenarios. The exercises can be practiced in confined water first but it’s not required. Usually this course is completed over 2, sometimes 3 dives.

The SSI course takes 3 days (or more) and has 3 confined water sessions and 3 open water dives including a final scenario that ties the training together.

Overall, the PADI course is a little more focused on perfecting the exercises, whereas the SSI course is a little more focused on stress and problem prevention.

Course Information

Prerequisites & Requirements
  • Must be at least 12 years old
  • Adults (15+) must have their Advanced Certification or be certified to dive to a maximum depth of 100 feet/30 meters
  • Youth ages 12-14 must have their Junior Advanced Certification or be certified to dive a maximum depth of 70 feet/21 meters
  • Must have current EFR/React Right certification or proof of qualifying and current CPR/First Aid certification
  • Requires reading course materials prior to instruction
  • Course duration is 2-4 days
Course Overview

The course has 3 main sections:

#1 – Reading and videos (online or classroom) with quizzes and knowledge reviews

#2 – 2-3 Open water dives with scenarios 

  • Response to a tired diver
  • Panicked diver at the surface
  • Distressed diver under water
  • Search for a missing diver
  • Surfacing an unconscious diver
  • Response to a conscious victim via shore or boat
  • Response to an unconscious diver
  • Egress with an unconscious diver
  • First aid for pressure-related accidents
  • Response to an unconscious victim via shore or boat

Missing Diver Scenario

  • Organize and conduct a quick, effective search (both surface and underwater for a missing diver).

Diving Accident Scenario

  • Working in a coordinated, organized manner, effectively handle all phases of a diving accident, including locating, surfacing and transporting an unconscious diver to first aid procedures, control and summoning medical assistance.

#3 – Final Exam

*SSI’s Stress and Rescue course also requires 3 confined water sessions prior to the open water dives.


This course starts at $294.12 before taxes. View pricing details here.


Let us know about your trip or ask a question to learn more!

Other Advanced Courses to Check Out

Emergency First Responder (EFR)
Advanced Open Water