You got your open water certificate in the bag and are ready for the next step. A world off options lays in front of you in all kinds of scuba diving specialties. We are here to help to pick the right specialty for you which will make you a better diver. As a bonus you will save money which you can spend on useful specialties or gear. Yes, some specialties are just a way to burn money.
All of the agencies offer in some way or form specialties in a wide array of topics. Also all agencies have dedicated specialties for certain area’s like turtle specialty diver, Threser shark diver or hawksbill clam diver. I’m not completly sure if that last ones exists but you’ll get the point. In my opinion these are fun to do but won’t make you a better diver. If you are interested in learning more about turtles, by all means go for it. Just remember that you also could be spending your money on a useful specialty. Most likely those which will make you a better diver.
The best scuba diving specialty to start with: Buoyancy
To dive right into the thick of it: The first specialty which you should take is a buoyancy specialty. There is quite a simple reason for this. The skills you will learn in this specialty will be of use to you in every single dive you’ll take after. Buoyancy is the foundation of all your diving skills. Without proper buoyancy it’s almost impossible to take pictures underwater. Night dives are way more challenging without proper buoyancy control. Doing a drift dive without being able to maintain still in the water will make it a struggle instead of a relaxing drift downstream.
On to the next one: Navigation
Navigation underwater is a essential skill which will come in handy in more situations then you can imagine. Even if you only do guided dives it’s a skill worth having. What do you do when you loose your group? Quite handy if you can find the boat by yourself right. Being stellar at underwater navigation also will give you some diving freedom. There are many shore diving opportunities all over the world which you can dive without instructor. These all come within reach once you get your navigation skills down.
Once you got these two specialties down you have a solid foundation to develop these skills. Stop doing specialties for a while and just dive, dive, dive. Go on a trip, dive weekly locally and just gain some experience. This will help you decide what specialty to do next. Also this will prepare you for the more demanding specialties like deep diving. Ideally at the end of this stage you will be at 50 or more dives.
Tier 2 scuba diving specialties
Once you get a bit more experienced, it’s time to broaden your horizon. You can pick any of these specialties since there all good. Your choice may vary on your own particular intrest or the area you may live in.
- Night diving
- Enriched Air Diving
- Deep diving
- Dry Suit Diving
Be aware! Quality of specialties vary greatly!
A specialty at dive school A isn’t the same as one at dive school B. The quality of specialties varies greatly and it is important that you choose a dive operation which values teaching you something. Ask any diver with a few specialties behind him and they will tell you the same.
Also be aware of the fact that some diving operations will make you do a certain specialty before you can go on specific dives. I have heard stories of divers who needed a wreck diving specialty just do dive around a wreck. As they did the specialty all they had to do was identify the wreck (point at it) and identify to ascend line on the bow of the wreck. Please make sure you pay on your way out. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this is not they way a wreck diving specialty is intended.
In my opinion specialties are done best at your local dive operation with a familiar instructor. This way you know what you can expect and if your money is well spent.
I have tried to use names which represent the specialties as of what they are. In your organisation the may be named differently. Check out the website of your agency to find the actual specialty: