Rescue Diver Equipment List Guide

Last Updated: February 8, 2023

The wild sea, the vigilance, and the observance that it asks from you, the missions of rescuing amidst the unfavorable conditions might sound extremely challenging. However, does it spark excitement in you?

Rescue Diving isn’t just exhilarating and adventurous; it has tons of responsibilities and requires agility and alertness. If you are passionate about the experience and joy this responsibility brings, you may be the right one for the role.

The key points to be a rescue diver and the equipment you would need have been highlighted in this article. Read till the end to understand the role and requirements of a rescue diver.

What Does it Take to Be a Rescue Diver?

Rescue diving is a very challenging and demanding job. The role has high responsibility, so it is best to check the requirements you need to meet to be a rescue diver.

Training and Certification

To become a rescue diver, one needs to have formal training. A rescue diver should be certified to perform a rescue operation. The training involves extensive theoretic learning comprising of the concepts that one needs to understand for diving and rescuing.

Along with theoretical lessons, accident management is also included in the course. The instructor teaches you to create an Emergency Assistance Plan. Thereby, after gaining all the theoretical knowledge and understanding the basics, you are ready for the practical lessons.

The primary water skill that makes the base of the training is self-rescue. A rescue diver must first learn to rescue himself. For this, a procedure is taught in the training.

Finally, there would be a set of skills and techniques that you would need to learn, such as supporting a panicked diver to the shore or surface of the water, searching for a missing diver, helping to surface an unresponsive diver.

Institutions give a set of techniques and prior training to help the divers learn how to react to difficult situations that can arise. The divers are also prepared for worse-case scenarios.

If you are want to get your Rescue certification with PADI then you need to first complete the Advanced Open Water training. You will also need to undertake Emergency First Response training during your Rescue Diver course as well.

Learning the Psychology of Rescue

Just as training enables a rescue diver with all the techniques, skills, and knowledge related to diving and rescuing, learning the psychology of rescue is essential for being mentally ready to handle the pressure.

The psychology of rescue involves mentally preparing yourself for the mission while giving mental support to the panicked and disturbed diver.

The psychology of rescue is mostly covered in the training as it is a crucial part of it.

Physical Requirement

You would notice that your instructor would emphasize physical training. The reason behind this is that physical training is required to carry out rescue missions. It involves the rescue divers building stamina, strength, and vigilance.

What Equipment Does a Rescue Diver Need?

rescue dive equipment list

After rigorous training, it is time to buckle up for the missions; however, you need the right equipment before getting started. Here is the checklist of everything that you need.


A diving mask protects the diver’s nose from water entering into it. The second function of the mask is to help the diver focus his eyes and save his vision from water.


BCD is the abbreviated form of Buoyancy Control (or Compensation) Device. The BCD is necessary for the diver to maintain positive buoyancy.

Primary Regulator And Alternate Air Source

The hoses are attached to the primary regulator, whose function is to convert high pressure air in the tank to low-pressure air.

Recommended read: How to Set Up a Scuba Octopus Regulator

An alternate air source is one that the diver can use as a secondary air supply. Some examples of air regulators are a bailout bottle and a pony bottle.

An alternate air source is very important for a rescue mission. The diver may need extra air in case he exhausts his primary air supply.

SPG To Check Air

SPG or Submersible Pressure Gauge is used to assess the amount of air left in the tank. SPG is an essential part of the rescue mission. Primarily because the amount of air left in both the diver and the rescue diver’s tank determines if the mission needs to be aborted or continued.

The mission is aborted if the secondary supply is also exhausted. To prevent this, the diver needs to manage his air supply carefully.


The rescue diver needs sufficient oxygen when underwater to rescue the individual safely. Thereby, an oxygen tank or cylinder is a must.


They enable the rescue diver to move swiftly. Diving fins are a necessary equipment as agility and speed are integral parts of a rescuing mission.


The weights ensure that the rescue diver reaches the depths of the water faster and can rescue the individual quicker.

Wetsuit, Drysuit, and Rash Guard

Exposure protection enables the rescue diver to dive in a wide range of water conditions and temperatures.


The snorkel is a breathing tube attached to the mask and extends to the surface of the water. The individual who is being rescued can use a snorkel to come to the water surface faster.

Dive Computer

With a good dive computer you are able to assess the situation, how far you have come, and monitor the oxygen levels in the tank. Dive computer helps the rescue diver make decisions better and faster.

Dive Compass

A diver’s compass is different from the compass used on land. The underwater compass is vital to navigate the location of the individual that needs to be rescued.

Final Thoughts

Rescue diving operations are extremely diverse. Therefore, a rescue diver can prepare the equipment in advance and train rigorously too.

There are other tools to help them rescue better and faster. Some extra tools he may carry along a rescue mission are a dive flag, knife, torch, and a signal such as a whistle.

The knowledge of the extra tools needed comes from learning and analyzing the past rescue missions.

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