SDI U/W Navigation



Divers are intensely fascinated by navigation… It allows them to make their way back to a special spot discovered on an earlier dive. They use the tricks and techniques of navigation to find an ideal exit point at the end of a dive without the need for an uncomfortable surface swim. Your SDI Underwater Navigation Specialty course will help you overcome the obstacles inherent to finding your way underwater. You will learn how easy and simple navigation can be and how it will help you both above and below the surface. During this course, you will review natural aids such as sand ripples or reef formations, which can accurately predict your route. Tools such as mechanical or digital compasses are a surprising challenge to the novice but we will help you unravel the challenge and teach the practical skills and techniques you'll need to use them effectively.

This course is designed to give students a greater understanding and experience on how to properly navigate underwater using both natural and compass navigation.

Who this course is for:

  • The certified diver looking for a higher sense of direction and orientation while scuba diving

Course prerequisites:

  • SDI Open Water Scuba Diver, SDI Junior Open Water Diver, or equivalent
  • Minimum age 18, 10 with parental consent (a parent or legal guardian must watch this Risk Awareness Video and contact us prior to signing up)

What you can expect to learn:

The SDI Underwater Navigation Diver Course takes an in-depth look at all of the following and more:

  • The aquatic environment
    • Vision
    • Light
    • Sound
    • Tides
    • Currents
    • Waves
    • Surge
  • Natural navigation
    • Bottom contours
    • Depth
    • Amount of light
    • Surge
    • Currents
    • Underwater objects
  • Compass
    • Types
    • Analog
    • Digital
    • Features
  • Compass use
  • Estimating distance underwater
  • Kick cycles
  • Time

Some of the required skills you will have to demonstrate include:

  • Equipment set up
  • Dive planning
  • Predive checks
  • Orientation
  • Navigation
  • Skills are generally done with more success if practiced on the surface from shore. Using the shore or descent line as a starting/reference point makes keeping track of students easier
  • Practice compass use on the surface: out and back, in addition to square and triangle patterns
  • Perform square pattern on the bottom
  • Perform triangle pattern on the bottom
  • Buddy contact
  • Equipment disassembly
  • Log all dives

What's in it for you?

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates may engage in diving activities without direct supervision of the SDI Instructor* so long as the following limits are adhered to:

  • The diving activities approximate those of training
  • The areas of activities approximate those of training
  • Environmental conditions approximate those of training

*Note: Junior divers (ages 10-14) must participate in underwater navigation diving activities with a parent, guardian, or dive professional.
Also, the SDI Underwater Navigation Diver certification counts towards a single specialty rating to achieve the SDI Advanced Diver Development program.

SDI Underwater Navigation Diver minimum requirements:

  • Satisfactorily complete the SDI Underwater Navigation Diver Knowledge Quests with a passing score of 80%, followed by 100% remediation by the Instructor
  • Complete all open water requirements efficiently
  • Demonstrate mature and sound judgment concerning dive planning and execution

Prior to signing up:

-You must be 18 years of age.  Minors may enroll, but a parent or legal guardian must watch this Risk Awareness Video and contact us prior to signing up

-No equipment is provided.  It is the responsibility of the student to provide all required equipment.  Please contact us for a complete list of required equipment.   

-If you are giving a course as a gift, please contact us.  

-Understand there is a $50 rescheduling fee if you do not arrive on time to the first academic session, you arrive and have not completed the academic portion, or you do not bring your medical clearance to dive, if required.   

-Review the General Liability Release.

-Review the Medical Questionnaire.  The purpose of this Medical Questionnaire is to find out if you should be examined by your doctor before participating in recreational diver training. A positive response to a question does not necessarily disqualify you from diving. A positive response means that there is a preexisting condition that may affect your safety while diving and you must seek the advice of your physician prior to engaging in dive activities.

-Watch this Risk Awareness Video

-If you have any other questions or concerns please contact us.

After you register:

-Sign up for an SDI account here (if you don't have an account yet).  If you already have an account you will receive your online access code within 24 hours. 

-Let us know you've signed up here making sure to use the same email you used on the SDI/TDI website.  

-You will receive your online access code within 24 hours.  Your access code is included in the course fee.  Please do not purchase a code from the SDI website.  If you do, we will not be able to refund or prorate your course fees.  

-Complete your online academics and obtain medical clearance to dive if necessary. 

-Arrive on time for the first session with all required equipment, an ink pen, and medical clearance to dive, if required.  


Skill Level: Specialty
Materials Included: Everything but equipment
Requirements: SDI Open Water Scuba Diver or Equivelant
Instructor: TBD
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This class cannot be purchased online. Please contact the store for more information.