Elite Scuba Diver

Public Safety Diver Information

Elite Scuba Diver is committed to training Public Safety Divers 

This is a continuing education certification course for certified scuba divers who desire knowledge and training in public safety diving. The course emphasizes safety; knowledge; skills; abilities; and risk, incident, and resource management with practical applications. The course is also designed specifically to provide public safety divers with training, knowledge, and skills necessary to assist them during underwater search, rescue, and recovery activities. NAUI Public Safety Diver (PSD) is an entry-level course in public safety diving for current or future members of a PSD team. Graduates of this course are considered competent to participate in public safety diving activities, provided those activities and the diving environment approximate those in which the diver has received training.

Age. 18 years of age by the water phase of the course. Certification/Experience/Knowledge. NAUI Advanced Scuba Diver or equivalent.
NAUI First Aid for Diving Professionals or equivalent. Proof of at least 20 logged dives. The instructor is to ensure adequate student knowledge and capability before any open water training and shall use skill or other evaluations to do so. One open water dive (which does not count toward the minimum number of dives required for the course) may be used as a screening and evaluation dive. This is not required when the student’s diving proficiencies are well known to the instructor.

Dive Team Membership. Current member of a PSD dive team as shown by the applicant’s name on the team’s roster or a signed letter from an officer of the dive team.  A diver who has applied or is applying to become a member of a PSD dive team but is not yet assigned to a team or one who is attending a fire/police academy or is a police/ fire department member may enroll in the course at the discretion of the instructor and the team or sponsoring agency.

The instructor may accept other divers who meet the age and experience requirement into the NAUI PSD course following interview and evaluation.

The student or agency shall provide all required equipment; the student shall be responsible for the care and maintenance of their personal equipment.

  • The instructor shall ensure students’ diving equipment will be sufficient and proper to complete all aspects of their training.

  • Full-face masks (FFM) and dry suits are important pieces of personal protective equipment in most types of public safety diving. If appropriate to the course, PSD candidates who have and wish to use their own full face mask and/or dry suit during NAUI PSD training should be encouraged and will be allowed to do so (provided team policies do not require uniform equipment and the student’s is other than the required standard), and:

    • The student shows prior proof of training/certification for FFM and/or dry suits, or

    • The student is concurrently enrolled in a NAUI full face mask and/or dry suit course while attending the NAUI PSD course.

Medical Approval.
Verification of good physical condition as documented by a medical examination and unconditional approval for diving by a licensed physician within the preceding 12 months. In no event will medical approval be accepted wherein the physician signing the certificate is the student.

28 hours are estimated. This includes confined water sessions, open water sessions, on-site discussions, and briefings and debriefings as necessary to prepare for or conclude any diving activity.


    • The minimum number of open water dives is five.

    • For this course, a “dive” is defined as breathing underwater in confined or open water at any depth or length of time as required to complete the assigned tasks or skills.

    • Dives are to include:

      • One in a limited visibility water (less than 10 feet) or limited visibility simulated with a blacked out mask.

      • One using search patterns with a dive tender to locate a specific object underwater.

      • One “rescue” of another diver underwater.

      • During training, each student shall rotate through, participate in, and demonstrate proficiency in various public safety diver incident command system positions during the course and serve at least one time during the course as:

        • Primary diver.

        • Safety diver.

        • 90% ready diver.

        • Dive group supervisor.

        • Line tender.

        • Recorder/scribe.

        • Equipment/support technician.

    • DEPTH

      The maximum depth for an open water dive during this course is 130 feet. No dives are to require actual staged decompression. However, simulated staged decompression may be added to the ascent of a no-required stop dive. Any simulated decompression time spent deeper than 25 feet must be included in the actual dive time.


  • General.

    This includes classroom sessions, eLearning, and on-site discussions, briefings, debriefings, as necessary for or to conclude a dive’s activity in confined or open water.

  • Introduction to Public Safety Diving.

    Topics include definition of Public Safety Diving, Incident Command System (ICD) including multi-agency operations, land communications, dive team roles, assignments and deployment of arriving team members or agencies.

  • Recording Keeping.

    Methods and procedures for recording keeping including for diving equipment used in PSD activities, on-scene records, audio recordings (recorded by departments), video & photographs, personnel on-scene roster, and records that “may be” required in any legal action including for liability and Workers Compensation/OSHA.

  • Operations.

    “Standard Operating Procedures” vs. “Standard Operating Guidelines” and legal issues of each, managing family and media relations, and review of appropriate local regulations or standards.

  • Risk Management.

    Public safety diver fatalities (case studies), risk vs. benefit analysis, including rescue vs. recovery, mechanics and misconceptions of drowning, and first aid for water emergencies. PSD Divers must recognize and minimize diving risks including air loss, diver-carried reserve air/redundant air supply, entanglement, entrapment, equipment failure, and overhead environments. Procedures for diving in contaminated environments (all water is assumed to be contaminated unless proven otherwise): Planning, equipment, recognition, and decontamination procedures.

  • Diving Environment.

    Procedures for diving in low visibility, black water, night operations, cold water, warm water, and current/moving water.

  • Health and Wellness.

    Medical evaluations for public safety divers, rehabilitation areas (RE-HAB), and psychological considerations in public safety diving (including PTSD).

  • Diving Activities.

    • Topics and activities include in-water communications including, surface hand signals, underwater hand signals, rope/line signals and voice communication (FFM)

    • Underwater Search patterns including tethered diving (tender duties and line signals), shore based (arc/sweep and parallel), diver based (circle, expanding square, U-pattern, jackstay), boat based (search pattern and boat safety)

    • Light salvage including rigging, types and use of lift bags

    • Specialized PSD equipment including dry suits, full face mask (with voice communications), cutting tools surface marker buoys, tow sleds, metal detectors, SONAR, surface air supply, ROVs and depth finders.

    • The importance of dive planning, the use of briefings and debriefings during team operations and crime scene considerations shall be included.

  • Continuing Education.

    Continuing education and skills maintenance, including additional NAUI PSD courses. The importance of team practice shall also be emphasized.


  • Students are required to demonstrate diving skills in confined water before proceeding to open water activities.

  • Students must be able to demonstrate the ability to perform diving skills when fully dressed out.

  • Diving skills may be performed using scuba or surface supply.

  • Swimming Skills (confined water) - no equipment.

  • Swim underwater 25 yards (23 m) on one breath; no dive or push-off.

  • Swim 450 yards (412 m) nonstop demonstrating at an intermediate level at least two strokes continually throughout the swim.

  • Survival swim for 20 minutes.

  • Scuba Diving (confined water). Students are to demonstrate the following basic dive skills before proceeding to open water:

    • Proper buoyancy control.

    • Rescue a diver simulating unconsciousness.

    • Share air as both donor and receiver from an octopus regulator or other acceptable alternate air source (not buddy breathing).

    • Perform any other skills the instructor(s) deems necessary for the course and conditions.

  • Scuba Diving (open water).

    • Demonstrate competency in the following scuba skills:

      • Proper communications

      • Buoyancy control.

      • Diving and performing tasks in limited visibility (visibility less than 10 feet/3 m or simulated).

      • Light salvage.

      • Underwater navigation.

      • Tethered diving.

      • Line signals (as tender and diver).

      • Underwater search patterns.

      • Underwater field sketching and measurements.

      • Any additional skills required by instructor.

    • Demonstrate competency in the following land-based activities:

      • Tender duties.

      • Assist with one pre-dive briefing.

      • Assist with one post-dive debriefing.

      • As recorder/scribe properly record and log a PSD dive.

      • Act as team support/equipment technician.

      • Any additional skills required by instructor.


  • Students must score at least 80% on final examination.

  • Students must successfully complete all practical skills assigned by instructor.


Minimum Standards?