PADI Underwater Navigation Specialty Course

Underwater Navigation Where are we? Does this question get asked a lot when you're diving? You received a basic introduction to navigation during your first scuba course, but now it's time to take your navigation skills to a higher level. During the Underwater Navigator course, you will gain confidence in your navigation skills so that you will conserve air, time and avoid buddy separation. We perform three open water dives, with navigation skill development the primary goal. You will learn how to estimate distances underwater, how to use natural references when navigating, and how to perform more complex compass routes during each succeeding dive. Plus, the PADI Nav-finder will be used to help you make simple course maps so that you can relocate a favorite dive spot or treasure over and over again. Prerequisite: PADI Open Water Diver or higher.

From the PADI Underwater Navigator Instructor Guide:

Course Philosophy and Goals
"Early Polynesian navigators routinely crossed thousands of miles of open ocean in outrigger canoes, using only their own senses and knowledge, a tradition passed down from generation to generation. These early peoples used natural navigation clues such as the motion of specific stars, weather, wildlife species, and directions of swells on the ocean, colors of the sea and sky and angles of approaching harbors to navigate their way from point A to point B on the ocean's surface. Today, we still use natural navigation clues to navigate above and below the water, but the invention of the compass and other navigational instruments makes navigation a much easier albeit still a very challenging task."

"Despite more than an hour underwater and covering a lot of ground, scuba divers can successfully reach their intended mark by integrating natural navigation techniques (environmental observation) and their skill of using instruments like the compass."

"Whether your first navigation dive or your hundredth, few moments in diving compare with the satisfaction and pride you feel when you navigate a distance or specific navigation pattern and hit your mark dead-on. Keep that thought, the philosophy of this course is to focus on fun and challenging underwater navigation dives with an emphasis on safety. Thus, the goal of this course is to teach student divers a systematic, methodical approach to enjoying underwater navigation. Student divers will develop the techniques involved in navigating underwater within recreational limits and while avoiding disturbing delicate marine life."

"The best way to learn underwater navigation procedures and to apply them is by doing it. This course philosophy therefore, expands student diver knowledge about environmental clues that help them to navigate, how to use a compass for precision, patterns that aid navigation, navigational instruments and how to interact responsibly with the aquatic life they'll see while navigating underwater. Student divers will apply the knowledge they gain by reading the PADI Underwater Navigator Manual and watching the companion video on at least three open water dives practicing and demonstrating the practical aspects of underwater navigation."

We typically conduct the Underwater Navigator course at a local dive site as well as on some of our tropical trips. See our Trips Page for trips that may include the Underwater Navigator Course or go to our Class Schedules.