SDI Solo Diver

At one point or another, many divers have found themselves alone during a dive, whether it was intentional or not. SDI’s Solo Diving is the practice of self reliant scuba diving without a “dive buddy.”Solo diving, once considered technical diving and discouraged by most certification agencies, is now seen by many experienced divers and some certification agencies as an acceptable practice for those divers suitably trained and experienced. Rather than relying on the traditional buddy diving safety system, solo divers should be skilled in self-sufficiency and willing to take responsibility for their own safety while diving.

Being one of SDI’s most popular courses, the Solo Diver course stresses proper dive planning, personal limitations, and accident prevention, as well as the benefits, hazards, and proper procedures for diving solo. You will also learn the additional equipment that is required for solo diving including its proper usage and assembly. This is the perfect course for underwater photography and underwater video divers as well as those diving with their children or buddies that may not be very experienced in scuba diving.

Who this course is for: 

The certified SDI Advanced Diver (or equivalent) who is interested in learning how to dive independent of a dive buddy, or looking to strengthen your buddy team diving skills. 

What you can expect to learn: 

The SDI Solo Diver course takes an in-depth look at all of the following and more: 

  • Why solo dive? 
  • History of buddy diving 
  • Pros and cons of buddy diving and solo diving 
  • Legal liability assumed by buddy diving 
  • How to use the SDI Solo Diving waiver and release 
  • Who must solo dive? 
  • The solo diving mentality 
  • When not to solo dive 
  • Equipment for solo diving 
  • Planning and conducting a solo dive 
  • Navigation 
  • Management of solo diving emergencies 
  • Review the SDI Solo Diver Liability Release and Express Assumption of Risk Agreement Form

Some of the required skills you will have to demonstrate include all of the following and more:

  • 200 metres/600 feet surface swim in full scuba equipment, configured for local diving conditions; must be non-stop and performed in an open water environment 
  • Demonstrate adequate pre-dive planning 
  • Plan dive limits based on personal air consumption rate 
  • Plan exact dive 
  • Properly execute the planned dive within all predetermined limits 
  • Equipment configuration appropriate for solo diving 
  • Proper descent/ascent rates 
  • Proper safety stop procedures 
  • Monitoring of decompression status equipment; tables, computers, equipment, etc. 
  • Navigation skills – demonstrate proficiency of navigation with compass 
  • Demonstrate emergency change over to redundant air supply (not to exceed 30 metres/100 feet) 
  • Deploy surface marker buoy (SMB) 
  • Use of audible signaling device 

What’s in it for you? 

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates may engage in solo diving activities without direct supervision of the SDI Instructor as 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 

The SDI Solo Diver certification counts towards a single specialty rating to complete the SDI Advanced Diver Development program or SDI Master Scuba Diver Development program. 

SDI Sidemount Diver

Sidemount diving’s roots lie firmly in sump diving and cave exploration. It started as a means to an end. Sidemount allowed cavers to further explore dry caves and navigate flooded passages. It made it possible for divers to explore restrictions they otherwise wouldn’t be able to before. And it has now taken on a life of its own turning into one of the most popular courses across training agencies.

Sidemount diving is not strictly only for the tech divers. More sports divers are discovering the benefits of diving in this configuration which includes: balance and stability, flexibility and configurability, comfort and safety.

Together, Solo and Sidemount diver remains one of the most popular specialties for SDI.

Who this course is for: 

The certified diver who is interested in learning how to safely utilize sidemounted primary cylinders as an alternative to the traditional back-mounted configuration. 

What you can expect to learn: 

  • Gas management utilizing independent cylinders
  • Equipment considerations
  • Cylinder options
  • Regulator options
  • Buoyancy compensator device (BCD) / harness options
  • Proper weighting
  • Equipment configurations
  • Communication
  • Hand signals
  • Problem solving
  • Gas-sharing
  • Gas hemorrhages
  • Water entries
  • Shore
  • Boat
  • S-Drills (specific to sidemount)

Some of the required skills you will have to demonstrate include all of the following and more: 

  • Plan dive
  • Test and check all equipment (depth gauges, bottom timers/watches and computers) 
  • Familiarization with area
  • Descend to planed depth and do not exceed any pre-planned limits
  • Demonstrate the ability to safely manage gas
  • Monitor depth/time/air consumption, figure all times on slate
  • Demonstrate ability to control buoyancy
  • Attaching sidemount cylinders while 
  • Out of water
  • On surface standing on bottom
  • On surface in water to deep to stand
  • At depth
  • Perform regulator switches
  • Perform safety stops

What’s in it for you? 

Upon successful completion of this course, graduates may engage in sidemount diving activities without direct supervision provided the 

following limits are adhered to: 

  • Safety stops as appropriate
  • Planned dives do not exceed divers current certification level

Together, Solo and Sidemount diver remains one of the most popular specialties for SDI.