The Self-Reliant Diver


Photo by Juergen Hitzler

Many years ago, Scuba Diving International (SDI) released a solo diver course which remains today a very popular course. Creating this course was not a big stretch given our background as a technical agency. The name of the course was also pretty easy: diving by yourself had always been called ‘solo diving.’ The course was designed to fulfill two needs: teach divers the proper techniques and skills to dive alone, and strengthen the buddy system so one diver was not a dependent diver.

In technical training the self-reliant diver techniques and skills are taught and these fit in well when you have a dive buddy. These techniques and skills teach a diver who is diving with one or more buddies how to address and take care of their own needs, and in the worst case scenario, go to their buddy for assistance. During the dive planning stage, this is discussed and agreed upon by all divers in the team. Another big difference is the equipment used. Self-reliant divers generally dive with standard equipment in a standard configuration.

Solo divers are trained completely different. Solo dive planning begins with bringing the proper equipment for solo dives, which is different than the equipment used when diving in a buddy system. Solo divers also do not rely on another diver to be there should something go wrong; they bring redundant equipment and have a ‘Plan B’ that will allow them to get out of the situation. The foundation of a good solo diver is that they know their personal limitations. There are times and situations where there are benefits of diving alone; these include: photographers, videographers, spear fishing, etc.

A good self-reliant diver makes an excellent dive buddy and a very competent diver. By taking the SDI Solo Diver course, a diver can accomplish both levels with one course, they can learn the skills needed to be self-reliant and should the occasion arise, they can perform a solo dive.

For more information on the SDI Solo Diver course check us out at

Contact SDI TDI and ERDI

If you would like more information, please contact:

Tel: 888.778.9073 | 207.729.4201

2 replies
  1. Stuart Schooley
    Stuart Schooley says:

    I am the owner of Dutch Springs a recreation area for scuba divers. We allow solo diving with a solo certification. A question has come up regarding an uninsured instructor with a solo certification who dives with a rebreather. Is a rebreather acceptable equipment to use when diving solo? Is there redundant equipment that is necessary when diving solo with a rebreather? What are the standards diving solo with a rebreather?

      SDI/TDI/ERDI says:

      Great question Stuart. SDI/TDI does not condone the practice of Solo diving for any form of technical diving. The agency considers all dives done on Closed Circuit and Semi-Closed Circuit rebreathers as technical dives.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>