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Scuba Diving is a sport that can be enjoyed by persons of all abilities and our Diveheart programs will allow you to work as an Adaptive Dive Buddy, an Advanced Adaptive Dive Buddy (Dive Master) or as an Adaptive Scuba Instructor (Instructor) to assist people with physical challenges in enjoying the underwater world.

What Professional Skills will YOU Learn?

Diveheart adaptive training centers around developing widely applicable skills. This is done via land clinics, theory discussions, and empathy training  both in and out of the water. We utilize black out masks, tied limbs, and other tools so that each Adaptive Buddy and Instructor candidate can better understand what their Adaptive Divers must deal with in order to be successful.


When diving with Adaptive Divers we always utilize the team concept, consisting of at least three people. When dealing with a more complex Adaptive Diver such as a complete quadriplegic wherein each team member plays a unique role, strong teamwork and good communication is mandatory. Throughout the entire program everything you will do will be as a team, this is especially stressed though during the quadriplegic workshops.


Adaptive Divers are often completely reliant on their buddies; the level of trust between them is immense. We will focus on what you can do as a buddy to help instill that trust in your students. It is also incredibly important that you can trust in the other team members that you are working with. Again this is a skill that is developed at every stage of the program, however it is perhaps most obvious during the transfer training.


Communication underwater can be tricky, add in that you are now dealing with a larger team, usually dealing with more complex issues, and can have a member of the team that can't utilize standard scuba signals (either through a visual impairment or an inability to form them) and communication skills become very tested. Briefings and debriefings must be very thorough! You will be introduced to a brand new set of signals such as the utilization of tactile signing, designed to communicate with visually impaired divers.

Dive Skills

Your basic dive skills will be highly tested throughout this training curriculum. Task loading and stress testing ensures that even the most experienced divers will be challenged. Briefings, debriefings, spacial awareness, buoyancy control, skill demonstration, comfort underwater, airway control, and trim control will all be tested and developed to an elite level. Every diver, from new Divemasters to Instructors with years of teaching experience have commented that they feel their dive skills have improved through the completion of this program.


This is the main focus of the training program! As an Adaptive Buddy or Instructor you are certified to dive with people with very different abilities. Utilizing Diveheart's Needed Scuba Assistance (NSA) we will teach you how to find out how much assistance each specific Adaptive Diver will need and how to best accommodate them. We focus not on teaching what potential solutions are but instead developing the skills to identify them yourself.

  • Paraplegic divers can still use their arms for propulsion but may have a partial or complete loss of sensation and motor skills in the lower half of the body. We conduct empathy training by tying the diver's legs together to experience what it feels like to be a paraplegic diver and learn how to structure a team around a pareplegic diver's needs.

  • Quadriplegic divers who don't have the ability to use their legs and arms may need to be part of a bigger adaptive dive team but can still partake in diving. The Adaptive buddy or Instructor team may simply need to propel and equilize the diver as well as assist in entering and exiting the water.

  • Amputees can definitely still dive but the Adaptive Instructor may need to help them find ways to complete certain skills.  This may be accomplished with specialized dive equipment.

  • Persons with limited or no sight can be overcome and can create a very positive sensation for the diver. It is up to the Adaptive buddy or Adaptive Instructor to work around any obstacles to help the adaptive diver achieve the appropriate level of certification.

Why Diveheart?

Diveheart’s mission is to build confidence, independence and self- esteem in the lives of children, adults and veterans with disabilities through scuba diving, scuba therapy and related activities. Their vision on adaptive diving is to instill the “can do” spirit in participants, inspiring them to take on challenges that they may not have considered possible to them before. Using zero gravity and the spirit of adventure, we help participants believe that if they can scuba dive, then they can do anything.

Diveheart DIVE ARMY Open Water Dives Key

We have that discovered the forgiving, weightless wonder of the ocean's water column provides the perfect gravity-free environment for those who might otherwise struggle on land, so that they may feel their "astronaut moment". Water is the great equalizer and underwater we are all equal. Diveheart works with individuals who have a variety of abilities, including physical and cognitive disabilities, vision impairments, deafness, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis and more. Diveheart seeks to help it’s participants “Imagine the Possibilities” in their lives.


Adaptive Diver

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