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This past Friday, I had the pleasure of taking my rescue Diver Certification with Hawaii EcoDivers, in the waters of the North Shore of Oahu.The rescue Diver Course was designed to develop ones knowledge and skills to be able to assist other divers in trouble, manage diving accident situations and perform diving first aid. The course is a combination of classroom, confined and open water sessions that will teach a diver the theory and practical knowledge necessary to deal with any diving emergency both above and under water. Focussing on prevention, response and correct accident management, this course widens a diver’s scope making them a safe and valuable diving companion.The fun part about this course is rising to challenges and mastering them. Most divers find this course both demanding and rewarding, and at the end, say it’s the best course they’ve ever taken.

 MSDT Loren Kearney warned me the day before that it would be a real “butt-kicker,” which I soon agreed with! The dives were from the beach outside of the Haleiwa Boat harbor, located on the North Shore of Oahu. The training began with 10 situations or skills that we needed to know the techniques to handle in order to keep ourselves, and the person in distress safe. Loren made sure we learned to never put ourselves in a situation where we would become the victim, so I quickly learned the quick reverse maneuver. When we were only half way done with the 10 skills, my body was already feeling taxed, but you have to keep pushing through! As we progressed through the skills, the techniques and scenarios became increasingly difficult and strenuous on the body, however it was all worth it. By the end of the 10 skills, it was time to put our lessons into practice by completing the dive emergency scenarios. These included realistic situations one could be put in while at the beach, or at a dive site. By the end of the course, I gained the skills, training, and techniques necessary to prevent and manage diver emergencies. At the end of training, I was able to prevent emergencies from happening by thinking ahead and solving issues before they become problems, handle an active and passive panicked diver, all the way to recovering an unconscious diver and tow them to shore while performing rescue breaths, while removing their equipment, while removing my own equipment and ensuring their vitals. I am much more confident in and around the ocean knowing that I have the skills and training necessary for preventing and managing diver emergencies. 

Overall, I would highly recommend the PADI Rescue Diver course through Hawaii EcoDivers! The class is highly challenging, and highly rewarding, giving divers the peace of mind that they can keep calm and handle many different kinds of marine emergencies, and have the training to carry out rescue exercises. After taking the course, I can go to the beach or on a dive and read every situation, notice potential problems or hazards, and address them before they can become emergencies.