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Adaptive Support Certification

Want to dive with a buddy who has cognitive or developmental concerns or physical challenges? Become a certified PADI Adaptive Support Diver! The Casino Point Dive Park is the perfect location to improve your skills.

Diving is replete with countless stories of transformation! Adaptive diving is more of an approach: diving adapts to each person and their needs. Some adaptive techniques are just more visible than others.

This class emphasizes the art of possible and empowering each person on a journey that is unique to them. It is designed to challenge the common misperceptions about obvious or hidden “disabilities.” We focus on what divers can do rather than on what they can’t do and providing buddy support as needed.

As a PADI Adaptive Support Diver you’ll be more aware of individual considerations when diving with people with disabilities, have empathy for what it feels like to dive with physical challenges and will be trained to use Adaptive Techniques to make things easier and run more smoothly. In addition, this specialty will count toward your Master Scuba Diver rating.

PADI adaptive support

Your class will cover a range of topics including:

  • safe entries, exits, transfers and lifts
  • putting on and taking off exposure gear without injury
  • donning scuba gear in-water and removing it for exit
  • buddy communication skills including touch-based methods
  • assisting with mask clearing and equalization
  • establishing neutral buoyancy and appropriate trim using adaptive weighting techniques
  • distressed diver scenarios
  • experiencing diving with (simulated) blindness, amputation or paraplegia
  • assessing dive site suitability
  • questions to ask when booking a dive vacation
  • specialized equipment for disabled divers

You’ll learn to be a responsible dive buddy for an adaptive diver – understanding the “how and why” of each technique so you’ll be able to make informed decisions when an instructor isn’t around to offer guidance. In this class, you’ll have an instructor right by your side, so you’ll feel comfortable while you gain more confidence in your abilities.

All of our classes are private, limited to just you or your small group. This class is generally planned over a 2-day period, but with us, learning happens at your own pace.  Rushing through is not the way to go.

Our belief in the art of possible and adaptive approach to teaching empowers you on a journey that is unique to you.

Our approach is different than you’ll find elsewhere: we celebrate inclusivity and diversity and ensure that everyone is treated with respect, patience, empathy and kindness.

All PADI courses are performance-based, meaning that we modify skill techniques to meet performance requirements by leveraging what individual students can do.  You purchase a class, but you earn your certification.

What to Expect
  • Your instructor will call each diver before the class begins, so you’ll be able to get to know each other and get answers to any questions you might have.
  • You’ll also confirm completion of your CPR/ First Aid training within the last 24 months or arrange enrollment in a DAN CPR/ First Aid specialty class (depending on availability).
  • Your 2-day class will include on-site Knowledge Development, 1 Checkout dive, 1 Confined Water dive and 1 Open Water training dive.
  • If you are already certified as a PADI Advanced Open Water or Adventure Diver and completed an Adaptive Support dive as an Adventure dive, only one additional dive is required, and the second dive will be a fun dive.
  • Similarly, the first dive of this certification may count as an Adventure Dive for PADI Advanced Open Water or Adventure Diver certification. Please ask your instructor for details.
  • Pacific water is considered cold water year-round (upper 50s-low 60s F in winter and upper 60s – low 70s in summer), so you will be wearing a 7mm wetsuit, boots and possibly a hood.
  • NOTE: Use of any kind of camera during your training dives is not allowed.


  1. Your class will be conducted at the beautiful Casino Point Dive Park, which is a world-class marine preserve located in Avalon with a shore entry down a short flight of stairs. (Adaptive accommodations are available.)
  2. This course does not have eLearning or a manual, so we’ll send you some materials ahead of time with the majority of teaching done interactively on site.
  3. You’ll complete a quiz, and we’ll discuss the results and answer any questions you might have to make sure you have a clear understanding of the information.
  4. We’ll do some training on land followed by a checkout dive to allow your instructor to evaluate your abilities and level of comfort in the ocean. There will be time for rest, water and a healthy lunch.
  5. Depending on the time of day and tide, we may also complete your Confined Water dive on Day One.

 There’s always time for questions – we’re here to help you every step of the way!

 PLEASE NOTE: The Park is considered Confined Open Water by PADI standards.  None of your class will be conducted in a pool – there are no pools available on the island.


  1. If there are any Confined Water skills that still need to be completed, we’ll begin where we left off and you’ll finish those first.
  2. Next, you’ll complete your Open Water dive, with surface intervals as needed.
  3. If not all skills are completed on any given dive, an additional dive will be required. Some divers need additional time to complete the class, and multiple options are available to do so. PADI standards allow up to 3 training dives per day.
  4. If you’ve completed all performance requirements, TA-DA! You’re now a certified PADI Adaptive Support Diver!
What’s Required
  • All divers must currently hold Open Water certification.
  • Class Size: For the Adaptive Support Specialty, we prefer to keep the class size to a maximum of 3 divers in one party so that everyone has enough time to learn in comfort at their own pace. However, if you have a larger family group, please call us and we will try to accommodate your needs. If an Adaptive Support diver will be participating as a buddy, there is no charge for their attendance.
  • Minimum Age: Certified divers ages 15 and up may participate.
  • First Aid/ CPR Certification: You must provide proof of CPR/ First Aid training from a recognized training agency (such as DAN, Red Cross or American Heart Association) within the last 24 months.
    • Alternatively, you can enroll in a DAN CPR/ First Aid specialty class (dependent on class availability).
    • You must complete the required eLearning at home before your arrival on Catalina Island. The in-person training will be completed on Catalina Island with your instructor.
  • Gear: If you have an Adaptive Diver joining you for this course, please call us to discuss any specialized gear needed.
  • Insurance: You must purchase DAN Dive Insurance for every member of your group and provide proof of insurance prior to your arrival on Catalina Island. Learn more
  • Logbook: Please bring your current Logbook for your instructor to review.
  • Medical Clearance: All certification classes require medical clearance before arrival on the island. Please download and complete this form immediately, returning it signed via email as soon as possible before your arrival. (launch in new window- link Diver Medical Questionnaire)
  • Depending on each diver’s unique circumstance, signoff by a medical doctor may be required. Please contact us immediately if you have any concerns whatsoever. If you need medical signoff and you do not have that before your arrival, you will not be allowed to proceed with your class.
  • If anyone under the age of 18 is participating, there are additional forms which will be provided, and which must also be completed and signed by a parent or guardian and returned via email as soon as possible before your arrival.
  • You must have good buoyancy and be in good overall health. We highly recommend completion of the Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty  prior to this course so that you have better awareness of trim.
  • Do bring your own bathing suit and towel. We also recommend bringing a warm jacket for surface intervals.
What’s Included
  • On-site Knowledge Development: Your instructor will provide some materials ahead of time for you to review, but the majority of teaching will occur on-site in an interactive, informal format.
  • Private Instruction: Your class will be yours alone. No one you don’t know will be participating.
  • Standard Gear: We provide everything you need for your day of diving from quality high-end gear, to shade, mats and chairs – even locked storage for your valuables and fresh water to rinse off after your dive. All included for no extra charge. Learn more

Gear Package includes:

  • 7mm wetsuit, hood, boots and gloves, as needed
  • Computer, if needed
  • Mask, fins and snorkel
  • BCD, regulator, tanks and weights
  • Sizing: Please indicate the correct body weight, height and shoe size for each diver as well as any specific gear that is required if an Adaptive Diver is joining you. Because we bring your gear to you, we would need to leave Casino Point to exchange sizes or retrieve necessary items. This may not leave enough time for all dives planned per day, incurring additional fees for the time needed to complete the class.
  • If you already have your own gear, we’ll fit you and help you learn to use it properly if needed.
  • If you have your own computer, please download and carefully read the user manual before you arrive.
  • Adaptive Diving Specialty Gear: We will provide sample specialized weight systems, swimming aids, materials to assist in donning wetsuits and blacked-out masks for your use during the course.
  • Proof of Certification: We will process your certification and PADI will issue a certification e-Card upon completion of your class. Physical cards may be purchased from PADI at an additional charge.
  • Drinks and Snacks: We provide water (and hot beverages if it’s chilly), but please feel free to bring your own light snacks and we’ll keep them in a cooler if needed.
  • Catering: Healthy catered lunches including options for protein shakes are available at an additional fee.

Our Environmental Commitment ensures that our gear, products and packaging are as eco-friendly as possible. Learn more

Pricing Options

Adaptive Support Diver Certification Class – 2 days, including 1 Checkout Dive, 1 Confined Water Dive and 1 Open Water Dive

  • $395 per person
  • If an Adaptive Diver is joining the class to assist in training, there is no charge for that diver.

Additional Training Days

Purchase of a class does not guarantee certification. Additional days may be required to complete training dives (at the discretion of your PADI instructor) in order to meet PADI standards for certification.

  • Additional training day: $350 per person
  • Additional half training day (less than 4 hours): $250 per person
  • NOTE: For Adaptive Divers, different rates may apply. Please call us to discuss your unique situation.


  • Add PADI AWARE Specialist certification: $55 per person Learn more
  • Add Enriched Air/ Nitrox certification: $195 per person (includes eLearning) Learn more
    • A second certification may be earned during your Adaptive Support class at a reduced rate from purchase of a stand-alone class. There is no separate in-water dive, but Nitrox may be used during a training dive.
    • eLearning must be complete before arrival.
    • You must have your own computer so that you can change your gas mixture settings independently.
    • Nitrox tank rental may be done on-site through a local vendor at an additional fee.
  • Bundling Classes: If you are interested in bundling other certifications, please call us to discuss your options.
  • Add catered food or beverages for your surface interval. See Menus

 All prices are in US dollars.

 Please carefully review our full Terms, Conditions and Cancellation Policy before purchase.

You may also be interested

Peak Performance Buoyancy

DAN CPR/ First Aid/ O2 Bundle

Advanced Open Water