Open Water Diver   |   Advanced   |   Rescue   |   Nitrox   |   PPB   |   Boat Diver   |   Deep Diver   |   Drift Diver   |   Dry Suit   |   Multi-Level   |   Night Diver   |   UW Navigation   |   DPV   |   Wreck Diver   |   Tec Basics and Tec 40   |   TecReational Diver  | Email Peter

Underwater Navigation
Unknown Divers, Nanaimo, BC -- picture by Peter Rothschild

Underwater navigation is a particularly useful skill when diving in our beautiful Puget Sound waters, as it lets us locate quickly and easily those favorite underwater dive sites we want to show our friends.  When activities are specialized, such as limited visibility diving, night diving, wreck diving and search and recovery diving, having good skills in Underwater Navigation will make the dives safer and more enjoyable.

Good navigation skills will reduce confusion and anxiety, and allow you to avoid long surface swims at the end of the dive.  They will increase effectiveness in dive planning, dive execution and help you conserve air as you take the shortest route to your favorite wolf eel den.

From the Instructor Manual:

The Underwater Navigator course is to include three open water training dives. The recommended number of course hours is 12, with time being equally divided between knowledge development and actual water-training sessions.  After the training dives, student divers are required to log their dives in their personal log books.

The purpose of the PADI Underwater Navigator Specialty course is to familiarize divers with the skills, knowledge, planning, organization, procedures, techniques, problems, hazards and enjoyment of underwater navigation. Training should emphasize fun and safety. To conduct an Underwater Navigator course, the following is to be included:

1. the planning, organization, procedures, techniques, problems and hazards of underwater navigation.
2. methods of estimating distances underwater.
3. natural navigation techniques.
4. using underwater patterns.
5. dive site relocation techniques.
6. compass navigation techniques.