PADI Self-Reliant Diver Specialty


Sharpen your skills and become a better diver with this PADI specialty course! While diving with a buddy is the norm, there are plenty of reasons for an experienced diver to develop self-reliance and independence while diving. Learning how to dive without a partner and compensate for situations you’d normally handle with a buddy can make you a stronger diver in most dive situations.

What is Self-Reliant Diving?

With proper training, equipment and the right attitude to accept the risks involved in independent diving, an experience diver can responsibly engage in dives without a buddy. Self-reliant diving is an adventure activity that is not for everyone, but does have its place. If you have the mental discipline and commitment to learn and follow self-reliant diving techniques, you’ll bolster your skills and confidence when diving alone, in a dive pair or as part of a team.

To take this course you’ll need to be a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver who is at least 18 years old, with 100 logged dives. You will also complete a skills assessment with your PADI Self-Reliant Diver Instructor before getting started.

This specialty course takes place as a one-day, small group course on our day boats AquaQuest or Reef Quest. During three self-reliant training dives, you’ll practice:

  • Performing an air consumption rate swim to gather information for later calculation
  • Switching to a redundant air supply system during simulated emergency situations
  • Swimming without a mask
  • Navigating and using a DSMB (Delayed Surface Marker Buoy)


On board our day trip vessel AquaQuest


1-day course

Course Outline:

Knowledge session and three dives


  • All required PADI materials
  • Pony bottle rental
  • All dive and snorkel equipment, and full tuition
  • Three dives
  • Tropical buffet lunch
  • Fresh chilled water, tea and coffee
  • Two outer reef locations per day

Book now

PADI Self-Reliant Diver Specialty

Cost per person

​Includes all equipment and tuition. Prices valid to 31 March 2024. Price is per person and includes all applicable fees, taxes and levies. Locals discount not valid for optional extras.

Additional info

Prerequisites and forms



  • Snacks and beverages
  • Photo purchases
  • Digital camera hire
  • Quality souvenirs

What to bring

  • Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Cert card and logbook

Medical and altitude information

All scuba participants must meet medical questionnaire requirements. Some conditions or medications may prevent you from diving.

Currently the rules state that for a single no decompression dive, you should not fly/go to altitude for at least 12 hours, or 18 hours after multiple dives. Divers Den recommends waiting a minimum 24 hours whenever possible. These are guidelines only, there is no guarantee that these recommendations will prevent decompression sickness. There are no current guidelines regarding diving after flying.

Altitude is defined as 300m/1000ft above sea level. Certain other tourist attractions around Cairns and Tropical North Queensland involve travelling to altitude. These include the Atherton Tablelands and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, so we recommend a gap between booking these experiences and any dive course or trip. Under normal circumstances, you should be out of the water on your last dive by 2pm.