Top 5 Diving Courses for Vacation Divers

Shark CaveDiving is on vacation is how a lot of people get their start in diving, and many want to know what the best diving skills they can get are in order to maximize their options on vacation. Since we’re in the middle of the vacation diving season, I figured it was high time to look at what vacation divers can use best. So here’s the Cold Water Diver list of best five courses for vacation divers!


1.) Advanced Open Water Diver

Advanced Open Water Diver, or the equivalent thereof, is a key diving course for a vacation diver. It gives you a taste of a number of diving experiences (night diving, deep diving, etc…), and in doing so acts as a great stepping off point to the next courses.

2.) Deep Diver

This course is key. There are a lot of really cool things below the 20m maximum usually attributed to Open Water Diver, and the expanded 30m limit of Advanced Open Water Diver. This course is also a great eye opener, especially for the effects of narcosis. Pay attention, and you’ll be diving safely down to 40m with this course!

3.) Enriched Air/NitrOx

I’ve talked about enriched air diving in the past, and it is a must for vacation divers. This course familiarizes you with the methods involved in safely diving with enriched air. What this course provides for you as a vacation diver is a safer margin to avoid DCI if you’re making multiple dives over multiple days. Aggressive dive schedules need extra safety margins, and enriched air is one of those margins.

4.) Night Diver

Diving at night is a major thrill, especially in the tropics. This course will give you a good grounding in the techniques and equipment you’ll need to dive safely at night. Highlights of night dives include unique wildlife, and bioluminescent trails behind you! There are also a lot of amazing photo opportunities that only come after the sun goes down!

5.) Wreck Diver

Next to coral reefs and tropical fish, nothing encapsulates peoples ideas about diving like divers entering a wreck. This course is all about how to do it safely, and what to do if things go wrong. There is also a mapping component, which can add something special to your logbook or blog if you decide to do a dedicated wreck diving vacation.

So why these five courses? Well, they maximize your options as a vacation diver. There’s nothing worse than getting to a dive site and finding out that you can only experience part of it because you can’t safely dive the rest of it. In the past, I’ve talked about the difference between experience and training, and how doing something and not getting hurt is not the same as knowing what to do if something goes wrong. Now, for most diving vacations, these five courses should carry you through just about anything. Bear in mind though, that specialized vacations may require specialized training, like drysuit use if you head to Silfra, or cavern or cave diving training if you’re headed to the cenotes of Mexico.

Whatever your choices are, dive safely!

About the author

Graeme is a professional diver, qualified as a PADI and SDI Divemaster, DCBC 40m Unrestricted Commercial Scuba Diver, 30m Restricted Surface Supply diver, and CAUS Scientific Diver Lv.2. Graeme has an Associate Degree of Arts in Environmental Studies, where he focused on archaeology and physical geography, and an Advanced GIS certificate.