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Dive Skills Circuit – 20 Skills to demonstrate

Go Pro UtilaIn general all the skill you need to perform should be done exactly like the demonstration quality ones here, concentrate on doing your skills in a smooth, relaxed manner. To do that you should be able to do these skills effortlessly and the only way to do that is to practise, practise then practise some more. Get fellow Divemasters or Assistant Instructors to watch you doing your skills then critique you, once you are happy get a Staff Instructor, Master Instructor or indeed a Course Director to comment on your skills.

Dive SkillsAll actions should be deliberate and exaggerated, clear and precise movements are much easier to follow. Try to avoid excessive adjustments and corrections to your actions as this tends to confuse your students. Most Course Directors offer a IDC prep or Pre-IDC course to run before your IDC commences, if you are unsure about your pool skills or just want to be sure you are at the correct demonstration quality level for your skills then this course should be one you consider doing, The preparation courses normally start on the Friday before the start of the PADI IDC which normally begins on a Monday.

Equipment assembly, Adjustment and preparation

Buddy Checks (aka Pre-dive safety checks)

Objective: Perform the pre-dive safety check. (confined water dive 2)

(BWRAF) commonly know as Begin With Review and Friend. There are several forms of buddy check, but almost all cover five most important principles.PADI will use BWRAF, which is broken down and describe below:


Check function of BCD. Press the inflator and deflator buttons to that BCD inflates and deflates with the air. Test the oral inflator. Operate all the air dumps to check that air can be dumped quickly. Ensure that straps (shoulder straps, cummerbund) can have no slack, and be lying flat.

W – Weights

If a weight belt be worn, check that the belt be secure, and the strap be arranged so that it can be released with the right hand of the diver. Ensure that weights on the belt be not likely to shift during movement, and be suitable for the diver. If a weight harness is worn, or the BCD possesses an integrated-weights system, test system for adequate operation. As some BCDs have integrated weights its important to ensure that the buddy be familiar with the weight system of the diver being checked, and be able to operate them in an emergency.

R – Releases

Locate and check that all of your buddy’s releases be properly secured and you know how to undo them in an emergency. This includes their Velcro waist band and at least two shoulder clips. Many BCDs also have a chest and stomach clip. It’s a good idea to touch each clip as you check it and even count each one out loud as you do so. Remember to check the tank strap and clip. You can do this by placing one hand on the bottom of the tank and the other on the first stage regulator and trying to move the tank up and down to see if the strap moves.

A – Air

Open air valve on tank. Most divers then close the tank a quarter turn for an added element of safety. Breathe the air through the regulators to ensure that it be fresh and dry: impure air is extremely dangerous underwater, but can usually be recognized through an unpleasant, often oily, taste or smell. Test operation of primary and secondary regulators. Both should breathe comfortably, and not ‘free-flow’ when purged. Check hoses for damage. Ensure that the secondary regulator (the ‘octopus’) be attached in the triangle between the chin and the base of the ribs, and can be released easily: this ensures easy access for a buddy in the event of an emergency.

F – Final Check

Conduct a final check of the diver. Ensure that hoses be clipped to the diver neatly, and be in the correct configuration. Make sure the diver have fins and a mask, and any other accessories (cameras, reels, knife, compass, torch etc.) needed for the dive. Check that these be secured to the diver, or else placed in a spot where they can be handed down once the diver be in the water. Correct anything else that need doing.

Deep Water Entry

Objective: Demonstrate appropriate deep-water entry(s).

Proper Weighting

Objective: Adjust for proper weighing, which is defined as floating at the surface with an empty BCD while holding a normal breath.


Objective: Demonstrate a descent using the appropriate 5 step method 1, Signal Buddy 2, Orientate yourself to the boat or shore. 3, Exchange your snorkel for your regulator. 4, Note time, start timer. 5, Lift low pressure inflator hose and deflate your BCD, Equalize while descending, looking down.

Scuba Unit Removal and replacement (underwater)

Remove, replace, adjust and secure the scuba unit and weights at the surface, with minimal assistance, in water too deep to stand up in. (confined water 5)

Weight belt removal and Replacement (underwater)

Remove, replace, adjust and secure weight belt or weight system on the bottom in water too deep to stand up in. (confined water 5)

Fin Pivots – Oral and Low Pressure Inflation methods

Objective – Independently establish neutral buoyancy underwater by pivoting on the fin tips or where appropriate another point of contact. This should be achieved using both oral and low-pressure inflator. (confined water 3)


Objective : Demonstrate an ascent using the appropriate five step method. (STELA) – confined water 1

1. Signal buddy — wait until instructor signals
2. Time – Note time
3. Elevate – One hand over head, other on BCD control
4. Look up
5. Ascend – Swim up slowly while rotating

Snorkel and Regulator Exchange

Objective; Exchange snorkel for regulator and regulator for snorkel repeatedly while at the surface without lifting the face from the water. (confined water 2)

Scuba Unit Replace (surface)

Remove, replace, adjust and secure the scuba unit on the bottom, with minimal assistance, in water too deep to stand up in.. (confined water 5)

Weight Removal and Replacement at the Surface

Objective: Remove, Replace, adjust and secure the weight at the surface, with minimal assistance in water that is too deep to stand up in.

Neutral Buoyancy – Hovering

Using buoyancy control only, hover without kicking or sculling for at least 30 seconds (confined water 4)

Buddy Breathing

Objective: Buddy breathe sharing a single air source for a distance of at least 15 metres/50 feet
under water both as a donor and a receiver.(confined water 4)

Mask Removal and Replacement

Objective: Completely remove, replace and clear the mask of water while underwater. (confined water 2)
This demonstration uses the thumb to push the top of the mask to the head when purging the water from the mask, we believe this could sometimes be problematic as students ‘may’ pull the mask away from the face causing water to flood back in so an alternative is to press the middle top of the mask or to press the two top corners of the mask against the face.

No Mask Swim

Objective: Swim underwater without a mask for a distance of not less than 15 metres/50 feet, and replace and clear the mask underwater. (confined water 4)

Regulator Clearing

Objective: Clear a regulator while underwater using both the exhalation and purge-button methods and resume breathing from it. Commonly the two methods demonstrated is the arm sweep method and the first stage grab method where the hose is traced to the regulator (confined water 1)

Air Depletion

Objective: React to air depletion by giving an out-of-air signal in water too deep to stand up in. (confined water 2)

Air Depletion / Alternative Air Source Combined

Objective: Respond to air depletion by signaling out of air, then securing and breathing from an alternative air source (AAS) supplied by a buddy for at least 1 minute. (confined water 3)

Free Flow Regulator Breathing

Objective: To breath effectively from a free flowing regulator for not less than 30 seconds.(confined water 3)

CESA – Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent

Objective: Simulate a controlled emergency swimming ascent (CESA) by swimming horizontally underwater for at least 9 metres/30 feet while continuously exhaling by emitting a continuous sound. (confined water 3)

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