PADI Underwater Naturalist Specialty Course

tubastrea coral The purpose of the PADI Underwater Naturalist course is to create an awareness of the aquatic world, and evoke a sense of responsibility for the privilege of diving. We discuss the basics of underwater life, habitats, interaction with divers, but not as a biology class format. It is intended that the participant find out more about the aquatic world through independent study or through other educational programs. Particular attention is paid to dispelling myths about potentially harmful marine life such as sharks, eels, and jellyfish. Two dives are needed, with the only prerequisite being PADI Open Water Certification or higher.

From the PADI Underwater Naturalist Instructor Guide:

Course Philosophy and Goals
"The PADI Underwater Naturalist course is designed to help student divers to interact with the living underwater world based on objective assessments and observations. Thus, the goal of this course is to teach student divers to view the aquatic ecosystems scientifically, without biases based on misconceptions and myths. Student divers learn basic organism groupings and identification, but the emphasis is placed on student diver understandings of the relationships between organisms, their environment and humans, as well as on the application of environmentally friendly dive techniques."

"While the Underwater Naturalist course has a significant amount of knowledge development, as with other PADI programs, the course philosophy is to apply this knowledge and practice related techniques actually diving. With this in mind, the philosophy of this course is to focus on demonstrating responsible interactions with the living environment. This course philosophy therefore, involves student divers in the planning, organization, procedures, techniques and problems of diving in different aquatic environments. Student divers apply the knowledge they gain by reading the PADI Underwater Naturalist Manual and by completing at least two open water dives practicing and demonstrating the practical aspects of being an underwater naturalist."

We typically conduct the Underwater Naturalist course on tropical trips, but any location that has an appreciable amount of marine life can suffice for conducting the course. See our Trips Page for trips that may include the Underwater Naturalist Course or go to our Class Schedules.