• Search and Recovery

Search and Recovery

Search and find lost treasures!  Retrieve items that have fallen overboard or over a dock. Learn to effectively plan search patterns and use a lift bag for heavy objects.

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It happens: People accidentally drop things from docks, off boats, or even while scuba diving. If you have ever lost something in the water and wanted to go find it, then the PADI Search and Recovery Diver Specialty course is for you. There are effective ways to search for objects underwater that increase your chances of success. And there are good and better methods to bring up small, large, or just awkward items. Search and recovery can be challenging, but a whole lot of fun.


  • PADI (Junior) Advanced Open Water Divers who are at least 12 years old can enroll in the Search and Recovery Diver course.


Gathering information and resources, then carefully planning a search are the first important steps you learn. During four scuba dives you'll practice:

  • Swimming search patterns using your compass and natural navigation.
  • Locating large and small objects using various search patterns.
  • Using a lift bag for large or heavy objects, plus other recovery methods.
  • Planning a search operation based on facts gathered about a lost object prior to the dive.

Also, the first dive of this PADI Specialty Diver course may credit as an Adventure Dive toward your Advanced Open Water Diver certification - ask your instructor about earning credit.


Besides your basic scuba equipment, you will need a compass and an underwater slate. Your PADI Instructor and dive center staff may suggest other gear that may help with your searches, such as a dive light, marker buoys, lines, and reels.


  • Four Search and Recovery dives with instructors
  • Search and Recovery diver materials
  • PADI Search and Recovery Certification card

What’s not included:

  • You are responsible for providing your own scuba quality personal gear. Mask, fins, snorkel, and boots. Unfortunately, snorkel gear will not work for this course.

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