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Search and Recovery

About the Course

The next time someone loses an item underwater, you can be the hero that finds the missing object.

In the PADI® Search and Recovery course, you’ll learn how to find lost objects underwater. You’ll practice different types of underwater search patterns and learn how to use a lift bag as you plan and execute mock search operations.

Take This Course If You Want to

  • Recover lost items
  • Learn underwater search patterns
  • Improve your navigation skills
  • Find things underwater
  • Use a lift bag
  • Plan a search operation

How to Become a Search and Recovery Diver

Finding items underwater is both challenging and rewarding. You need to know how to gather information, organize a search and choose an effective underwater search pattern. Your PADI Instructor will give you practice scenarios to build and hone your skills.

PADI eLearning®

PADI eLearning makes it easy to fit scuba lessons into a busy schedule. Complete the independent study part of your course whenever, wherever it’s convenient for you. Work at your own pace, online or offline, using a computer or mobile device. Connect with your instructor for inwater training, or whenever you have a question.

  • eLearning time commitment: 2-4 hours.

With Your Instructor

During four dives, you'll locate objects large and small using different search patterns. You’ll get hands-on experience using a lift bag and, on the last dive, you’ll plan and execute a mock search operation.

  • Total time commitment: 2-3 days (dives must be completed over two days minimum)

More Info

Scuba diving requires a minimum level of health and fitness. Chronic health conditions, certain medications and/or recent surgery may require you to get written approval from a physician before diving.

Avoid disappointment, download and review the Diver Medical form to ensure you won’t need a physician’s approval to dive before enrolling in a scuba course. Instructors, divemasters and dive shop staff are not physicians and should not be asked for medical advice; only medical professionals can give medical clearance to dive.

If you (or your physician) have questions about medical fitness to dive, contact the experts at Divers Alert Network (DAN).

Minimum age: 12

Course prerequisites: Scuba Diver certification or proof of an entry-level certification with four training dives, such as Open Water Diver.

Choosing a Dive Shop
You can complete this course locally or while travelling.  

Choose a dive shop close to home to:

  • Support your local diving community
  • Meet dive buddies in your local area
  • Learn about your local ecosystem

Choose a dive shop away from home if you:

  • Plan to travel to a dive destination on holiday
  • Like to meet new people when travelling
  • Have the time to complete your course while on vacation

This course requires both knowledge development and inwater training for certification. When you purchase PADI eLearning from our website, the cost covers the knowledge development portion only.

There is an additional cost to complete your certification with a PADI Instructor. The cost depends on class size, environment, and whether or not you need to rent equipment. Contact a PADI Dive Center or Resort for more information and pricing. 

Besides your basic scuba equipment, you’ll need a compass and underwater slate for this course. Your PADI Instructor or local dive center staff may suggest other gear that may help with your searches, such as a dive light, marker buoys, lines and reels.

PADI eLearning: 2-4 hours

Entire course: 2-3 days (dives must be completed over a minimum of two days)

English.

For information on other available languages please contact your PADI Dive Center.

PADI’s online courses are designed to work on the browsers listed below. For the best experience, make sure your browser is up-to-date.

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If you plan to be somewhere without internet access, use the PADI Training app to download course content and study offline. Content can be downloaded in small sections with a total file size of approximately 186 MB. When you get back online, upload your progress so you can resume your training right where you left off. 

The PADI Training app is available for Android™ and Apple® iOS devices. For the ideal experience, devices should be no more than three models old and running with the most current OS (operating system).

The first dive of the Search and Recovery Specialty course may count toward your Advanced Open Water Diver certification – ask your instructor about earning credit.


Every specialty certification you complete brings you one step closer to becoming a PADI Master Scuba Diver™. Fewer than two percent of divers ever achieve this elite rating.