Rescue Diver Standards

General: The Rescue Diver Course is designed for public safety personal involved in water rescue operations, whither they be Firefighter, EMS, Police, Military or Volunteer.
Course Objective: To afford students the opportunity to learn water rescue and diving theory and practice skills at the highest level of water rescue activity.
Qualifications of Graduates:
  • At the successful completion of this course, graduates will be considered competent to engage in highly advance water rescue operations including scuba operation, boat operations and search and recovery.

Who May Teach: This course is taught by active status NARD Instructors and is team taught. An individual instructor may not teach the rescue diver course due to the complexity of the course.
Prerequisites for Entering the Course.
  • Minimum age for entry is 18.
  • Prior training and certification as SCUBA Diver by a recognized agency.
  • Membership in an active water rescue organization, commercial diver, member of the military, a fire, EMS or police department or is an active status scuba instructor with a nationally recognized agency.

  • At least 25 logged open water dives with not less than 30 hours bottom time in the past one year. This may be waved if the Team to which the diver is from issues a letter to NARD that the diver is "qualified."

  • All candidates are required to have their personal diving equipment including: mask, fins, snorkel, weight belt and weights, regulator with safe second, BCD, inflatable vest (snorkeling vest), SPG, depth gauge, compass, slate, underwater light and 50 feet of personal line for underwater use.

Required Course Minimums
  • Classroom hours
  • Pool Training
  • Open Water Training (Includes Night Operations)
  • Scenario Training

The following skill objectives must be satisfactorily accomplished by completion of course for the candidate to be certified as NARD Provider Rescue Diver:

Skill Performance Objectives
  • All candidates are to demonstrate satisfactory knowledge, skills, fitness and attitude.

Practical Demonstration of Basic Skills:

Swim 800 yards in 20 minutes
Basic Scuba Skills: While wearing all scuba gear appropriate to the area accomplish the following:
  • Entries and exits (giant stride, roll)
  • Proper BCD control
  • Swim 800 yards on the surface in full scuba gear withing 25 minutes.
  • Clear mask and regulator underwater.
  • No mask underwater swim and buddy breathing.
  • Make an emergency swimming ascent from 25 feet of water as a bailout and in gear.
  • Show proficiency in putting on gear in water and removing gear in water.

Skin Diving Ditch and Recovery: To be preformed wearing a weight belt, mask, fins, snorkel and an inflatable vest or BCD. Dive to the bottom of 8 - 12 feet of water remove and place all equipment on bottom, surface and dive and recover all gear in one breath. All gear in place on surfacing with mask and snorkel clear. Additionally upon surfacing swim using snorkel 50 yards.

Scuba Diving Ditch and Recovery: Diver descends to at least 8 feet of water wearing complete scuba equipment and removes all equipment including mask, fins and snorkel. He then shuts off the tank and returns to the surface. Upon surfacing he swims at least twenty feet away and signals the "OK" at which time he then surface swims back to the ditch location, performs a proper surface dive and recovers his gear. Total time of this exercise is not to exceed 5 minutes.

Scuba Equipment Exchange: First diver submerges in 8 - 12 feet of water wearing complete equipment. Second diver submerges without gear assumes a position on the bottom, gives diver one the "OK" awaits the return sign and then receives mask, fins, snorkel, scuba unit, BCD, and weight belt, and dons all equipment. Throughout exercise each diver must maintain control and buddy breathing. Once second diver is in all gear he gives the "OK" to diver one who surfaces as a free diver. Diver two surfaces in all gear.

Buddy Breathing Without A Safe Second
Scuba Bailout: Diver enters the water and submerges to at least 8 feet. Once at bottom he removes all gear and surfaces keeping gear in hand and treads water for 5 minutes while holding all gear.
Demonstrate the three forms of in water putting on of scuba gear while doing a rapid entry:
  • (1) Diver holds all gear including mask fins, and snorkel and enters the water in giant stride entry from low diving board, boat or pier, upon entering the water he places on all gear while moving to a location at least 25 yards from the entry point.

  • (2) Diver holds all gear including mask fins, and snorkel and enters the water in back roll entry from low pier, or boat, upon entering the water he places on all gear while moving to a location at least 25 yards from the entry point.

  • (3) Diver holds mask fins, and snorkel and throws scuba unit and BCD in the water, he then enters the water in giant stride entry from low diving board, boat or pier, upon entering the water he places on all gear while moving to a location at least 25 yards from the entry point.

Practical Demonstration of Use of Compass
Practical Demonstration of Search and Recovery Techniques
Practical Working Knowledge of Scuba and Water Rescue Equipment as well as Search & Recovery Equipment
Practical Knowledge of and Demonstration of Water Rescue Techniques
Practical Knowledge of and Demonstration of being able to manage and carry out all Dive Team operations from preplanning to rescue to postmortem and command dive team operations.
Curriculum Objectives
  • Practical Knowledge of Pressure Related Accidents
  • Practical Knowledge Physiology & First Aid
  • Practical Knowledge Marine Life & Environment
  • Practical Knowledge of Dive Tables
  • Practical Knowledge of Diving Physics
  • Practical Knowledge of Boat Operations

Peer Review: All Rescue Diver candidates are graded not only by the Instructors must also pass daily peer reviews. Any rescue diver candidate who fails in peer review will not pass the course. We all must work together and if a diver cannot work well with his fellow rescuers then he will fail the course.

Copyright 2006 National Association of Rescue Divers ©

National Association of Rescue Divers

P.O. Box 590474, Houston, Texas 77259-0474

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Copyright 2006 National Association of Rescue Divers ©