Scuba Specialty Ratings

Computer/Multilevel Diver Specialty

Divers must plan their dives according to Recreational Dive Planner for their safety.  However, as one dives deeper, they have a shorter amount of allowable bottom time.  One way to extend your dives is to plan multiple depths.  Ascending to a new depth essentially “credits” the diver with more allowable time.  This process is made even easier with a dive computer.  This scuba specialty helps the diver to master the use of dive computers and multilevel dive planning.

Deep Specialty

Some diving environments and sites require divers to go deeper than 60 feet and potentially approach the recreational diving depth limit of 130 feet.  There are special considerations at these depths such as changes in light and colors, temperature, and buoyancy based on equipment response to pressure.  Deep diving has additional safety concerns as well.  This specialty helps the diver learn how to handle all these issues.  Some dive operators require that divers have this specialty in order to participate in certain dives or for certain locations.  Also, those who are interested in wreck diving will also benefit from this scuba specialty as most wreck lie in more than 60 feet of water.

Prerequisite:  Must be at least an Advanced Open Water rated diver to complete

Digital Underwater Photography Specialty

Divers have the opportunity to see so many sights that some people can only dream about.  Why not be able to capture these sights to share with others through photography?  This extremely popular scuba specialty helps divers learn how to compose shots, properly operate a camera underwater, and effectively capture images in the underwater environment.

Dry Suit Specialty

Are you looking to extend your diving season and the range of potential diving conditions?  Is that wet-suit of yours just not keeping you warm enough in those Midwest waters?  Dry suits offer divers a way to answer these questions.  These suits are versatile and sometimes a necessity depending on dive conditions.  However, just like all specialized pieces of equipment, users need to be trained in their preparation, use, maintenance, and safety considerations.  If you are thinking about going dry, this scuba specialty is a must!

Enriched Air (Nitrox) Specialty

Every diver wants to have more time enjoying the underwater environment.  One major limiter to this how much nitrogen we can safely accumulate at depth.  When we are first certified, we can only use normal air in our tanks, which is 79% nitrogen.  We can extend our bottom time and shorten our surface intervals by diving on Enriched Air, or as it commonly referred, Nitrox.  These gas mixtures have higher amounts of oxygen, which in turn have less nitrogen for us to accumulate during a dive.  This specialty teaches divers to use these new mixtures as well as understand the new dive tables and the unique safety considerations of Nitrox.  Divers cannot get Nitrox fills without this scuba specialty.

Full Face Mask Specialty

This is a relatively new scuba specialty in the PADI world.  Full face masks have been a part of technical diving for some time, but their use is sometimes beneficial in the recreational dive world.  Such benefits include protecting the whole face during ice diving or they may be more effective for divers with certain physical limitations.  This is a specialized piece of equipment that requires special training in its operation and maintenance.

Night Specialty

Just as it does above water, the underwater world changes at night.  Different creatures come out and the behavior of others change.  A diver can dive the same location during the day and again that evening, and it can practically be like two different locations.  Each new dive environment brings new wonders as well as new challenges and considerations.  This scuba specialty teaches divers how to use dive lights and other procedures that allow for the safe enjoyment of this unique environment.

Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty

Buoyancy control is quite possibly the most important skill in scuba diving.  Without it, we can use up too much air, potentially damage things like coral, decrease visibility by stirring up the bottom, and put ourselves at risk of injury due to uncontrolled ascent or decent.  We all learned to start controlling our buoyancy in basic open water.  This scuba specialty helps divers to move from proficiency to mastery.  It also helps divers to consider concepts such as streamlining, weight distribution, and fine tuning one’s buoyancy without use of the BC.

Search and Recovery Specialty

If one spends enough time around water, they will lose something in it.  People can lose all sorts of things like anchors, motors, and cameras.  Boats and ships can sink with precious cargo.  Whether you are interested in finding lost personal items in a lake or sunken treasure in the Caribbean, you will need the skills of the Search and Recovery scuba specialty to effectively locate and safely bring the items back to the surface.  These skills include various search patterns and the use of lift bags.

Prerequisite:  Must be at least an Advanced Open Water rated diver to complete

Underwater Navigation Specialty

Just as good buoyancy is an important skill in diving, the ability to navigate is equally as important.  We were introduced to navigation during basic open water, but this specialty takes the application of this skill further.  Through the use of kick cycles and compass bearings, a diver can navigate in any environment: near infinite visibility, extremely low visibility, or low light/night.  This scuba specialty is a must for those who want to dive more complicated environments (i.e. caves and wrecks) as well as those who may wish to become professional divers.

Wreck Specialty

An extremely popular diving specialty, wreck diving offers people the opportunity to combine an encounter with history and a challenging environment.  Wrecks can be any man made object or vehicle that lies on the water’s bottom.  These can be small pleasure boats, to trucks, to airplanes, and all the way up to great ships of trade or war.  Divers need to able to preserve the integrity of these wrecks as well as be aware of special safety concerns when diving on such a wreck.  This scuba specialty covers these topics so that you and other divers can continue to safely enjoy such wonders.

Prerequisite:  Must be at least an Advanced Open Water rated diver to complete.


Have you been diving for a while now? Are you looking to be a better scuba diver or buddy.  Maybe a scuba specialty is right for you.