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Types of Scuba Diving     

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Types of Scuba Diving

You will find diving available for or the novice, the experienced, the adventurer, and the explorer.  Scuba diving can be divided into four major categories: recreational, technical, commercial and military.


Recreational diving is devoted to enjoyment and fun.  Most divers are recreational divers who get pleasure from looking at the extraordinary world under the sea. Once a diver has been certified for open water certification, which typically involves an experience in a large body of water such as an ocean, sea, or lake, they can continue courses in many specialty areas.  These include but are not limited to the following courses: wreck diving, night diving, deep water diving, penetration diving, cave diving, ice diving, rescue diving and drift diving.

  • Wreck Diving has become very popular over the years. Wreck diving involves the hunt for treasures typically from sunken ships.  This type of diving is done by many recreational divers as well as professional divers. Wreck diving requires experienced divers that can handle very deep waters and potentially dangerous situations.  It is an educational experience for the diver because the wreck becomes home to marine life.

  • Night Diving involves exploring bodies of water at night in darkness.  The thrill for the diver is that they experience a whole new world with night diving since many of the marine life are nocturnal.  Since vision is limited underwater torches are used to aid the scuba diver in seeing through the murky darkness.  The use of a surface buoy is recommended so that the surface is aware of the diver's movements.

  • Penetration Diving/No Clear Surface Diving is a type of diving where the scuba diver enters a space where there is no direct, vertical ascent to the safety of breathable air of the atmosphere at the surface. Cave diving, wreck diving, ice diving or diving in other man-made, underwater structures are examples of penetration diving.  This type of diving can be a very risky but  a thrilling form of diving. 

  • Deep Water Diving  involves diving at greater depths.  The proper training and skill level of the diver will determine how deep an individual can dive. Safety and awareness is very important with this type of diving because depths can take a toll on the human body. Temperature, lighting, visibility, pressure and currents all need to be considered with deep water diving.  Proper training and education is imperative for this type of diving.

  • Cave diving is  the exploration of underwater caves that are either fully or partially filled with water.  This is an amazing experience for a diver and has become more popular for that reason.  This form of specialized scuba diving requires special equipment and advance skills.  Cave diving, which is a form of penetration diving, requires a lot of preparation.  Caves can have narrow passages, strong currents , low ceilings and entries and exits that are far apart. Mexico and Florida have some of the most popular caves for cave diving.  Safety is always a concern and a priority with this type of diving. 

  • Ice Diving is a very advanced form of penetration diving.  It is very dangerous and for diver safety it is typically a team effort where the divers are tethered to a line that keeps them attached to each other.  Divers who are not trained in this area should never attempt it.

  • Rescue diving is limited to individuals who have been trained in paramedic or emergency operations.  It is where specially trained divers risk their lives to save individuals whenever an underwater rescue mission is in progress.  This type of scuba diving involves a very specialized type of dive that is often inherently filled with danger.

  • Drift Diving is a relaxed form of diving where the diver  and is carried at various speeds by the current. The diver can travel long distances, exerting a minimum amount of energy, seeing a lot more of the surroundings.   Once again it is importance that only those trained in this specialized form of diving attempt drift diving.

This type of diving is for the recreational diver looking for extreme diving.  It requires specialized training, advanced skills and sophisticated diving equipment. Technical diving encompasses areas such as extreme deep diving, advanced wreck diving, and advanced cave diving.

Commercial diving is for individuals who scuba dive for a living and get paid to do it.  These divers build underwater structures such as oil platforms, take professional photographs or videos, carry out underwater maintenance, conduct surveys, create maps, perform scientific research,  recover evidence, participate in salvage operations, and work in many other diving related occupations.

Military diving is similar to commercial diving and covers all types of diving carried out by military personnel.  It  involves such tasks as underwater underwater demolition, recovery of military hardware, surveillance, mine clearing, and military research. Military divers and scientists have historically been responsible for most advances in dive equipment and dive medicine