The decision to become a PADI rescue diver will require a fit and trim physique and plenty of endurance. In most cases, the swim to surface is long and strenuous in open water currents, so be sure you are ready to meet the physical demands. In addition, the PADI rescue worker will be carrying a victim, perhaps one of dead weight, with little swimming effort contributed to get to the surface.
The PADI rescue diver course is open to persons who have obtained an Advanced Open Water certification and have completed a CPR program within the last 24 months. The minimum age requirements may vary, however, Junior Rescue Diver certificates are available at the minimum age of 15.
The prime candidate for a PADI Rescue Diver certification will need to be a person that can react quickly under pressure and is capable of lifting more than their own body weight. Expert training is provided to deal with victim panic while underwater, and how to administer emergency oxygen to the distressed diver. A well-qualified Padi rescue dive course will also prepare the students to handle first aid procedures and take them through a myriad of dive-related accident scenarios.
The PADI rescue diver must learn to master all forms of search and rescue techniques, to include the "missing diver" emergency that will be a strategic team effort to locate the victim. The PADI rescue diver will be highly skilled in all aspects of equipment functions and readiness, and able to adapt in a split second to the water conditions and nature of the rescue operation. In addition, a top workshop and certification center should also provide in-depth training on rescuing marine life.
Comprehensive training to become certified as a rescue diver will entail textbook reading, quizzes from each chapter, lecturing from seasoned professionals, open water dives and a final exam. The open water dives will simulate one or two life threatening situations, with one of the instructors playing the role of the victim. The student will be responsible to enact the rescue operation from start to finish, bringing the victim to the surface. This is a very serious exercise, often performed under difficult conditions, and will determine if you are ready and qualified to receive your certification. The student must be calm, alert and able to respond with lightning-fast reflexes in order to be awarded the certificate. No mistakes allowed.
For the diver who wishes to get a head start on the textual material, there are dive package courses available with a manual accompanied with a series of lectures on DVD. This is an efficient method to tackle the certification process, as it will allow you to pace yourself with the reading material. Then, when you are ready, you may enroll in an official PADI Rescue Diver course available in most of the top dive spots around the world. Each course framework will vary, but allow yourself at least one week to meet the graduation requirements for the live scenarios and written exams.