Master Scuba Diver and PADI Specialty courses


Both of these ratings and concepts broken down and explained including the advantages of both.

Master Scuba Diver is the highest leisure rating for divers in the PADI education system.  Put simply, a PADI Master Scuba Diver is a Rescue Diver who has completed five PADI Specialty courses and logged at least 50 dives.  It is a mark of achievement and investment in your diving education, and you can generally expect MSD’s to be skilled, knowledgeable, and passionate divers.

DrySuit training

Many divers tend to naturally progress to the “linear” route in their diver training, progressing from Open Water to Advanced, with some going onto Rescue and Dive Master and beyond.  However by doing this you miss out on the huge diversity of skills and knowledge that can be acquired by doing PADI Specialties.  In addition to this the diving area around Antibes and Golfe Juan has a huge variety of sites that lend themselves perfectly to really enjoying these Specialty courses.

PADI Digital Photography Specialty

PADI Specialty courses are mini courses, usually comprising between two and four dives with associated knowledge development, usually delivered via the excellent eLearning platform.  There are over thirty in the PADI system and some of the most popular include Enriched Air Nitrox, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Navigation, Deep, Digital Photography, Aware Dive Against Debris, Dry Suit and Wreck.  Not only do they improve you noticeably as a diver, giving you more knowledge and a wider skill set, they’re also great fun.  I have very fond memories of doing the (pre Digital) Underwater Photography Specialty with a great Instructor in Dahab, Sinai, Red Sea back in 1998.  We learnt a huge amount and the course also immeasurably improved buoyancy control and spatial awareness as well as our photography skills!

The other thing about these great little courses is that they help you progress from Open Water to Advanced Open Water Diver.  The first dive of any given PADI Specialty is exactly the same as an Adventure dive and thus credits to the Advanced Open Water certification.  The Advanced consists of five Adventure dives with the accompanying knowledge development, two of which have to be Deep and Navigation.

Advanced Open Water eLearning

So, as an example if you do the Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty after becoming an Open Water Diver (highly recommended as this improves and accelerates comfort levels, confidence and thus enjoyment of diving) then by default you’ll have completed 20% of your Advanced certification.  Also looking at things the other way round if you are Advanced certified then you have already completed the first dive of five specialty courses, three that would have been selected by you and your Instructor and the other two being Deep and Navigation.

In summary PADI Specialty courses are a great way of improving your knowledge and skills with an Instructor passionate about the subject matter.  They also enable you to progress to the Master Scuba Diver rating which is a really positive goal to have as a diver.

If you’d like more information about the Specialty courses I teach, or a quote for a package send me an email on or call 0615305223.