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Learn about the PADI Rescue Diver course

Last Updated on May 3, 2022 by Dan

A PADI Rescue Diver is someone who has the knowledge and first aid skills to help people in difficult situations or emergencies. This article will go over the PADI rescue diver certification!

The PADI rescue diver course is a training course that is conducted under the Rescue Diver manual. Rescue divers are trained to dive in any conditions and under any circumstances, whether it be normal diving or rescue diving. these rescue divers are also trained to rescue distressed swimmers among other rescues such as firefighting and medical aid.

Given the nature of this vocation, rescue divers should have an adequate level of fitness, excellent swimming ability and discipline that is needed for rescue operations to be carried out successfully. They need to have excellent underwater navigation skills too 

What skills do you need to learn?

Rescue divers must learn about serious water accidents like entrapments underwater from boats and/or serious falls into deep water bodies while on dives both during instructional courses with their instructors but also while going through self-study materials at home before they get to rescue diver level. Rescue divers will require knowledge of rescue techniques as well as the rescue gear that is used in rescue operations. One major aspect of a rescue diver course involves learning how to correctly assemble and use rescue equipment like a surface-supplied diving apparatus (SSDA), immersion suits, breathing systems, reels and other rescue equipment one may need when performing rescues under water or from bodies of water.

A rescue diver must be able to dive quickly and efficiently if they are required to perform a rescue. 

Rescue divers must also be able to dive quickly for rescue operations when their rescue diver buddies are in trouble near the ocean surface if they can’t make it to shore after a boat capsizes or sinks during a boating accident.

Rescue divers will also learn about rescue diving procedures which include closing off and locking up gas valves on cylinders/pumps, setting up rescue equipment such as air pipes and regulators and other rescue procedures that involve using life lines, stretchers, radios and emergency oxygen supplies that are required for saving injured people from drowning underwater or from bodies of water like lakes and rivers.

Comprehensive rescue diver training goes beyond rescue diving and rescue procedures as rescue divers will be trained in CPR, first aid, oxygen administration and other emergency life-saving situations that may occur in the water or around bodies of water like rivers, lakes and swimming pools.

Rescue divers must also have the knowledge to deal with panicked people who may be drowning underwater or on land from a boating accident such as setting up radio communications between their dive team and medical responders etc so that proper coordinated rescue operations can take place quickly without wasting time when a victim is near death because of lack of oxygen in their lungs.

What training do they receive?

A PADI Rescue Diver is someone who has the knowledge and skills to help people in difficult situations. They are trained in emergency procedures, first aid, oxygen administration, and other advanced lifesaving techniques useful when scuba diving.

A PADI Rescue Diver training course involves four sections:

  • Rescue Diver Introduction;
  • Emergency First Response – CPR/First Aid;
  • Intermediate Oxygen Administration; and
  • Final Exam Review.

The training for each section can take up to two days depending on the availability of time with your instructor.

In addition, you must be able to swim 300 meters non-stop using any stroke (other than breaststroke) without stopping or grabbing hold of the pool wall.

We have included some practise questions at the bottom of the article and will have an eBook with 40 practise questions in the store shortly.


The PADI Rescue Diver course is for scuba divers who want to learn basic emergency and rescue skills.

The PADI Rescue Diver course is the next step for divers who have already achieved at least an Advanced Open Water Diver certification. You need to be at least 12 years old. This additional deep-dive training, with a minimum of four dives and three different instructors, helps you gain confidence in your skills to take care of yourself underwater as well as lead others out if they need help during their next diving trip. The additional fee for this certification ranges between $200-$320 dollars depending upon the location.


To become a PADI Rescue Diver, you must complete the following prerequisites:

– Complete an Open Water referral (or equivalent) and Advanced Open Water Diver Course within the past 24 months.

– Be 18 years of age or older when starting training

– Successfully passing Emergency First Response Primary Care and CPR/AED courses (within two years prior to beginning class) with no less than 90% on each course. This is not mandatory for those who live in regions where this knowledge does not apply, such as Hawaii.

– Have at least 25 logged dives since certification as a diver. These can be from any dive discipline except Dry Suit diving.


20 Rescue Diver Practise Test Questions

1 After a near drowning, the victim may experience shock

A. True

B. False


2. When managing an emergency, the first step is to stop, breathe, think and then act.

A. True

B. False


3. Causes of equipment-related problems when diving include:

A. Being unfamiliar with the equipment

B. Ill-fitting equipment

C. equipment that has not been properly inspected

D. All of the above.


4. You think that a diver has decompression illness. For how long should you administer oxygen?

A. No more than an hour

B. Until medical help arrives

C. You should not administer oxygen

D. Until the symptoms begin to decrease


5. A dive skill that will not help in preparing you for self-rescue is good buoyancy control?

A. True

B. False

Question 85. Why we don’t check for circulation signs with an unresponsive diver at the surface?

Question 86. What should we do if we realize the victim has no circulation / heartbeat during a rescue at the surface?

Question 87. Why is it important to start rescue breaths in the water?

Question 88. With an unresponsive diver underwater who has lost their regulator, should you put it back in?

Question 89. What is the best mask for in-water rescue breathing?

Question 90. What are the points to take into consideration when removing equipment from an unresponsive diver?

Question 91. It is best to remove as much equipment is possible before towing a diver to safety. Is that true or False?

Question 92. If administering oxygen to a breathing injured diver, which mask is the most appropriate to use?

Question 93. How can we reduce risks of contaminants entering the oxygen tank?

Question 94. What should you keep in mind when writing an accident report?

Question 95. What is the difference between a saddleback carry and a Fireman carry?

Question 96. What is a Ladder exit?

Question 97. What is a Lifeguard exit?

Question 98. What are common circumstances that can affect your exit?

Question 99. What are the steps to administering oxygen to a breathing injured diver?

Question 100. Complete the sentence:

When using continuous flow valve set to _____ L/minute, if bag does not inflate increase to _____ L/minute




A. True


A. True


D. All of the above


B. Until medical help arrives


B. False

Answer 85. We do not check for a heartbeat as we would not be able anyway to provide compressions in water.

Answer 86. Continue with the rescue breaths protocol, as there is nothing you can do in water to restore the victim’s circulation.

Answer 87. Waiting until exiting would likely cause a potential respiratory arrest to turn into cardiac arrest.

Answer 88. With an unresponsive diver underwater, do not waste time trying to put the regulator back in their mouth if it’s not there. If it is, however, keep it in their mouth while taking them safely to the surface.

Answer 89. Mouth-to-pocket mask is the best way for in-water rescue breaths, as it protects from disease transmission while avoiding water entry into the victim’s airways.

Answer 90. When removing equipment from an unresponsive diver, keep towing the diver to safety, continue with your rescue breaths, signal for help to people on boat or shore, take things off logically, and always consider buoyancy as a priority.

Answer 91. That is false.

Answer 92. If the diver is breathing, we can use the non-resuscitator demand valve system.

Answer 93. We reduce risks of contaminants entering the oxygen tank by keeping the unit assembled at all times, with the valve closed.

Answer 94. When writing accident reports, never guess or speculate, only state facts that I have witnessed personally. Do not express personal judgement, just stick to what actually happened.

Answer 95. In the Saddleback carry, the diver is stretched across the rescuer’s back. In the Fireman carry, the diver is swung across the rescuer’s shoulders. They are both common exit techniques from a shore dive.

Answer 96. With a Ladder exit, the diver is basically hugging the rescuer, sitting on their lap while they climb the ladder.

Answer 97. With a Lifeguard exit, the diver’s hands are placed on the deck, he rescuer exits the water without losing contact with the victim’s hands, then they hold the diver by the wrists and stand, bringing the victim’s waist to dock level, lower the victim’s face down and roll them over.

Answer 98. Exiting on rocky terrain, swim steps, the presence of helpers or the possibility of help arriving soon, surf and waves, and the need of interrupting rescue breaths are all factors that can affect your exit choice and effectiveness.

Answer 99.

  1. Ask for permission. If the diver is unresponsive but breathing, assume they would consent. Tell the diver “This is oxygen, it will help you. May I give it to you?”
  2. Slowly open the valve
  3. Test the mask on yourself, inhale gently, do not exhale in the mask
  4. Secure the tank – possibly cradled in its own box
  5. Place the mask over the diver’s face and ask them to breathe normally
  6. Monitor the oxygen supply and pressure gauge

Answer 100. 15 L/minute, 25 L/minute

We have an eBook with 100 practise questions in the store now:

Rescue Diver Guide

  • This Rescue Diver Guide will help you prepare for your final test and includes skills needed to pass the course, tips from an experienced instructor, updates for COVID and 100 practise questions.

    Rescue Diver copy


Or buy the guide with many screenshots, questions in our new Payhip store: Buy Now

Learn about the PADI Rescue Diver course
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Learn about the PADI Rescue Diver course
The PADI Rescue Diver course teaches scuba divers basic emergency and rescue skills. We outline what is involved in the course and give you 20 printable practise knowledge questions for your exam at the end of the article.
The Best Scuba Diving Gear
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