PADI Self-Reliant Diver Specialty Course

Red Hook Dive Center is the first and only dive center in St. Thomas that offers PADI's new "Self-Reliant Diver Specialty Course".

The PADI Self Reliant Diver Course has been developed to focus on the need for divers to be more self sufficient for those occasions when a buddy may not be around. It is not a course for everyone and certainly not one to be taken lightly so the pre-requisites have been set accordingly. It is intended for experienced divers who wish to develop their skills generally - perhaps in preparation for further advanced training.

The course would be ideally suited to

  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • Marine biologists 
  • Divemasters
  • Divers considering Divemaster training
  • Potential technical divers
Can diving without a partner be done responsibly?
Yes, but let's be clear about what responsible diving without a partner is and what it is not.
It requires experienced scuba divers willing to make the necessary commitment to train and equip themselves to accept the added risks involved. That is to say, it requires someone with the attitude and aptitude to do it responsibly. This is true in other adventure sport activities such as rock climbing.
To dive without a partner requires diligence, experience (such as 100+ buddy-accompanied dives), and the ability to plan for and apply the specialized procedures and equipment needed to engage in the activity. When divers choose to dive alone within this description, PADI sees a place for it. PADI’s Self-Reliant Diver course provides training for experienced divers in the use of redundant equipment and specialized equipment configurations as well as specific dive planning, and management of diving problems and emergencies that can occur when diving alone.
Responsible self-reliant diving is diving alone with the correct mental discipline, attitude and equipment. 
The long running argument whether it is safe is over – of course it is, if you do it properly!
The purpose of the Self-Reliant Diver specialty course is to recognize and accept the role of the buddy system and its contributions to diver safety while identifying and developing self-reliance and independence while diving. There are two reasons for an experienced diver to take the Self-Reliant diver course:
  • To develop the skills of planning and carrying out dives without a partner when preferred or necessary.
  • To sahrpen skills of diving self-reliance, making the diver a stronger partner in a dive pair or team.

This course covers when diving alone may be applicable, and the need to compensate for those situations, including dive planning, life support system readiness, adaptive training, equipment and responsibility.

This course is an introduction to self-reliant diving that helps student divers develop the skills, knowledge and techniques necessary to rely on themselves first, whether or not they are diving with a partner, including:

  • The value and application of the buddy system
  • The philosophy of, and motivation for, diving without a partner
  • Potential risks of diving alone, and how to manage those riskis
  • The value of equipment redundancy and what back-up equipment is needed.
  • Dive planning and gas management


  1. Be certified as a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or have a qualifying certification from another traning organization
  2. Have a minimum 100 logged dives
  3. Be 18 years of age or older
  4. Successfully complete a dive skills assessment by a PADI Self-Reliant Diver Specialty Instructor

Physical :
For safety, all students complete a brief  scuba medical questionnaire (pdf file)  that asks about medical conditions that could be a problem while diving. If none of these apply, you sign the form and you're ready to start. If any of these apply to you, as a safety precaution your physician must assess the condition as it relates to diving and sign a medical form that confirms that you're fit to dive.

Duration :  2 days
Course Fee :   $450  
Rental standard dive equipment, Redundant gas source, boat fee, instruction fee, 
Certification processing fee included.
Equipment Requirments :
  1. Standard dive equipment ( BCD, Regulator, weights, mask, fins )
  2. Redundant gas source
  3. Surface marker buoy with at least 100ft of line
  4. Redundant depth gauge and bottom timer, or dive computer
  5. Redundant surface signaling devices ( both visual and audible)
  6. Knife/cutting tool
  7. Slate and pencil
Course Schedule:
Day1 -   AM: Knowledge Development in the class room
            PM: Skill assessment ,  Training Dive 1 (beach)
Day2 -  AM: Training Dive 2  and 3 (boat)
            PM:  Debriefing, Equipment workshop
Flying After Diving

1) For single dives within the no decompression limits, a minimum pre-flight surface interval of 12 hours is suggested.
2) For repetitive dives and/or multi-day dives within the no decompression limits, a minimum preflight surface interval of 18 hours is suggested.