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My rescue diver certification with Hawaii Eco Divers was a challenging yet rewarding class. I perfected my self rescue skills, and learned how to save panicked, tired, cramped, injured, out of air and unconscious divers among many skills. All the while surrounded by the beauty of the ocean in Hawaii. Now, I’m prepared for any emergency a diver might face, including CPR, first aid and how to save someone choking. I highly recommend taking the PADI rescue diver course with Hawaii Eco Divers. 


I wanted to share what I learned by diving deeper into each skill:

Panicked Diver

When a panicked diver is stressed out of the water, approach the diver with your regulator in your hand. Tell them to inflate their BCD while keeping a safe distance. If the diver tries to throw themselves on you, kick back, deflate your BCD go under with your regulator and approach them from behind. Then, grasp their tand with your knees and inflate their BCD. Underneath the water, remind them to calm down and breathe. If they need to ascend, do it slowly. In a rapid ascend, try and pull them down, but if you start getting dragged up, let go and tell them to flare their arms. The slower they ascend, the less possibility of the benz. 

 Tired Diver

For a tried diver on the surface, tell them to inflate their BCD or just do it for them. Wrap your knees around their tank the same way you help a panicked diver, and tow them back to the boat. 

 Cramped Diver

For a cramped diver, or if you have a leg cramp yourself, push the toe end of the fin back towards the hip and massage the calf. 

 Injured Diver

If there’s an injured diver, put, or tell them to put direct pressure near the wound to help halt spread of infection and blood flow. Carry them up to the surface (if they’re unconscious go under their arm and hold the regulator in their mouth) slowly while maintaining pressure. At the surface, inflate their BCD and tow them back to the boat. Apply specific first aid for the respective injury. 

 Out of Air Diver

If you are out of air, perform CESA (controlled emergency swimming ascent) Place on warm up and breathe slowly out of your mouth making a humming noise. Limit the breaths you take to the surface. If your buddy is out of air check your gauge and put your alternate air source in their mouth or let them take it, only if you have enough air. Make sure the regulator is up right and they’re okay. Hold onto their BCD during the exchange and their arm on the ascent. 

Unconscious Diver  

If there’s an unconscious diver, check their gauge, and put your arm under theirs to hold them. If their regulator isn’t in their mouth, leave it. In the case that the regulator is still in their mouth, hold it there and ascend slowly to the surface. Deflate their BCD so there’s no chance of rapid ascent. At the surface, inflate their BCD and ask them if they’re okay twice. If they’re still unresponsive, tell someone to call 911. Give two emergency rescue breaths every five seconds. If you’re too far from shore, give the two rescue breaths at the beginning and focus on getting them to a flat surface first. Take off their gear and yours when close to use as a flotation device. Lift them onto a surface and start performing CPR until you get tired, EMS arrives or someone else comes to take over. 

Diver with Ear Problems 

Lastly, we learned about our most common problem at the shop, someone being unable to equalize. In that case, hold onto their BCD, bring them a little bit closer to the surface and try again. Keep bringing them up until they can equalize, if a diver can’t equalize, they shouldn’t continue the dive. 


Well, that’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed learning about our rescue diver certification course in Hawaii! Learning with Ricardo at Hawaii Eco Divers is always informative, educational and fun!  




Divemaster Candidate Laura