Search & Recovery Speciality - PADI

Search & Recovery Speciality - PADI

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PADI Search and Recovery Speciality

Few things are as satisfying as a successful search and recovery mission - especially if it is an expensive computer or camera system that has been lost

Overview of the PADI Search and Recovery Speciality 

When we start diving we learn skills to keep us safe in the water; so we are taught to control our buoyancy, clear a mask and deal with an out of air situation.  As we progress we learn lots of other skills and become skilful divers who can look after others and ourselves, find our way around and generally enjoy ourselves.

Are these the only skills a diver needs? Is there anything that would help the diving day run more smoothly?  Can we make it easier to recover a shoreline, lift a bag of scallops to the surface or locate a dive site or even a boat engine as we did in November 2012?

​Over the years we have recovered many things, have a look at a few of our blogs referenced at the bottom of this page.

The skills needed to do all of these things are covered in the Search and Recovery course.

This speciality gains you credit on your PADI Divemaster course and counts towards one of the Five Specialities for the Master Scuba Diver Certification

What do I need to start the PADI Search and Recovery Speciality?

  • PADI Advanced Open Water; or PADI (junior) Open Water Diver and a PADI Underwater Navigator (or equivalent certification from another organisation)
  • Minimum age: 12 years old
  • Mask / Snorkel / Computer

What Will I do during the PADI Search and Recovery Speciality?

Understanding how to manage a search can be an invaluable skill in many situations; from searching for wreckage from the bottom of a shoreline, to locating a computer that was lost over the side of the boat or locating a dive site.  During this course you will learn about, setup and undertake various search patterns, learning when you would and would not choose to use each one

Dry Runs
Searches involve groups of divers working together to achieve an aim and this does mean that everyone should understand what is expected from them.  Dry runs allow the team to work out what equipment is required and everyone has had a chance to practise their part of the search and recovery and iron out any difficulties.

Underwater communication is difficult, special signals might be need to be agreed to allow the search to be successful i.e multiple divers on a line need to know it is them you are talking to.

Recovery - the most common object that divers recover is the shotline, so being able to calculate the lifting bag size, perform the lift or just shift the object 

So in simplistic terms after this course you will be able to:

  • Plan, organise and follow the correct procedures to complete a Search and recovery dive
  • Learn how to deal with potential problems
  • Using various search techniques such as circular and Jackstay you will search and locate various size objects
  • Learn various recovery methods and practise using a lift bag and other recovery methods
  • Learn the appropriate knots and then practise and apply this information during your dry runs and underwater recovery dives
  • Learn how to search and recover objects when you have limited visibility
  • Legal implications and concerns for lifting objects

What Materials will I use during the PADI Search and Recovery Course?

As part of the course you will be provided with a PADI Search and Recovery Speciality Manual or Elearning for you to complete the relevant Knowledge Reviews, which you will review with your Instructor during your practical sessions in open water.

How Long does the PADI Search and Recovery take?

Over and above the pre-read
You will attend two days in Open Water UNLESS you completed the Search and Recovery Adventure dive as part of your Advanced Open Water; then 
You will attend one day in open water and complete dives 2, 3 and 4 of the speciality as you have already completed dive 1.

Any other costs?

Not included is the Entrance fees for open water site and personal travel costs

Whats my next adventure after the PADI Search and Recovery Course?

Over the years we have used the skills gained on this course for real life application and below are links to a couple of blog posts where we talk about what we did, which you might find interesting to read.

Link to Rutland Belle Mooring Lines

Link to Keel Recovery Rutland Water

Engine Recovery Duck Pond

Prior to any Diver training course students need to complete a Mandatory Medical Questionaire.

Please ensure that you have read the Medical Statement and are sure that you will be able to commence any diver training PRIOR to paying as our Training Terms Conditions apply after payment has been made.

A doctor's confirmation of fitness to dive is required if you answer YES to any medical condition on the Medical Statement.

You can check out the Medical Statement here:

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PADI Medical Statement

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SSI Medical Statement

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Diver diving an XDEEEP Wing over a wreck


Red Sea Safari

Our team of highly experienced instructors will be on hand to guide you through every step of the way, and to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable diving experience.

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Don't take our word for it


I cannot rate Dive Rutland high enough. Tracey, Bridget and all the team have shown me unending patience and understanding and I have got my open water certification. Thank you to you all for sharing your knowledge and tips. Can't wait to start my next course.

Carrie Spence

Northampton, UK


We are lucky to have a top notch Dive school on our doorstep in the form of Dive Rutland, My thanks to Bridget my instructor for her endless enthusiasm both in the theory and the practical applications of diving. Then to Tracey again for your skill and excellent support and for putting together a great community of divers who have helped and supported us.

Trikes of Bytham

Bytham, UK


Friendly, professional and committed to ensuring you get the best diving training and diving experiences, whilst upholding the highest of standards. Tracey and her team offer everything you need from newbie to experienced diver. Highly recommended.

Joanna Aitkens

Leicester, UK