Many factors can affect the success or failure of any search and recovery conducted underwater. Those of particular importance are surface conditions, underwater visibility, depth, bottom topography, bottom composition, vegetation, accessibility, surge, tides, currents, accuracy of bearings, water temperature, pollution, and obstacles or hazards. The size, weight, and dimensions of the object to recover also play a huge role.

The search and recovery dive team cannot control these factors. There is, in fact, one aspect of an underwater search and recovery that can be controlled – organization.

The other factors must be considered when the team plans a search and recovery, altering how they search and the recovery methods to accommodate them. Thus, the goal of this course is to teach student divers a systematic, methodical approach to the search and recovery of submerged objects. Student divers will develop the techniques involved in locating and retrieving lost articles, large and small, within recreational limits and while avoiding disturbing delicate marine life.

The mechanics of the search are truly an art; while the principles applied to the operation are firmly grounded in science. The best way to learn how to conduct search patterns and to use lifting devices is by doing it. This course
philosophy therefore, emphasizes diving. Student divers will apply the knowledge they gain by reading the PADI Search and Recovery Diver Manual and watching the companion video on at least four open water dives searching for and recovering objects of different sizes in varying search areas.

Requirements: Certified as PADI (Junior) Advanced Open Water Diver (or equivalent with another training agency such as NDL, SSI etc.) and at least 12 years old.