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How Do I Become a Rescue Diver?

Rescue divers must be scuba equipment experts.
Rescue divers must be proficient in every phase of underwater operations.
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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2014
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Rescue divers are responsible for rescuing individuals and performing underwater salvage operations in oceans, rivers and other water-based locations. Someone wishing to become a rescue diver must first attend a diving certification course. Additionally, many divers are employed by government agencies such as the military, coast guard and the police force in which case divers may have to undergo general military or police training. These positions routinely require applicants to go through rigorous training, and be in top physical condition.

In many countries, local or national government agencies arrange diving certification classes during which participants are taught different diving techniques. Typically, class attendees must be strong swimmers and in some instances, the attendees may have to first pass a series of swimming certification classes. Basic diving classes are designed to teach people how to dive for recreational purposes so rescue divers normally have to attend a series of increasingly difficult classes some of which are located on coastal regions. Over the course of these classes the participants are taught how to survive under water for long periods, how to handle varying water currents and a variety of other skills.

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Aside from completing various certification classes, someone wishing to become a rescue diver may also have to attend a first aid class. Students are taught techniques such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other basic medical or rescue procedures that may need to be performed on individuals who are rescued from bodies of water. Many rescue divers also attend short-term courses on stress or emergency management.

Some divers are employed by the navy and these divers must first complete the same basic military training as other new recruits. In many instances, navy divers must spend some time working as crewmembers of ships or frigates before being able to apply for diving roles. Navy diving courses normally last for weeks or months and attendees are taught basic diving techniques as well as how to respond to the kinds of underwater emergencies that military divers often encounter. Likewise, someone wishing to become a rescue diver employed by the police or coast guard usually has to spend some time working in another role before applying for the diving job.

Divers need to have sufficient physical strength to pull injured people or heavy objects from bodies of water. Therefore, anyone wishing to become a rescue diver must be physically fit and many employers require applicants for diving roles to pass rigorous fitness tests. Additionally, most firms have minimum age requirements for divers. People with minor physical disabilities such as vision problems, high blood pressure and other ailments may be unable to work as divers due to the physically and mentally demanding nature of the work.

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