SDI Underwater 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

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
How to take this course!

Underwater Navigation Articles
  Beginners Guide for Night Diving Equipment and Navigation
  Diving From My Buddy’s Boat
  Drift Diver Missing at Sea (Navigation gone wrong)
  Tips and Tricks for a Successful Drift Dive
  Do’s and Don’ts of Diving Back in
  Technology Your Public Safety Dive Team Needs