View Full Version : Has Anyone Taken the PADI Wreck Diver Course?

10-06-2007, 01:09
I am working towards my Master Scuba Diver and wondered what to expect from the PADI Wreck Diving Course. I know there are four dives, with one being a penetration dive. What should I expect?

10-06-2007, 08:07
I was told that the penetration part is purely at the discretion of the instructor, so not required and often doesn't happen. I was told that basically you learn to navigate a wreck and assess it for safety. I was strongly advised that if I wanted to take the class to make sure I talk with instructors about their class before signing up or I might not get what I'm looking for.

We do swim-thrus on wrecks, but anything that would require a line and a reel leads me to believe that taking a serious penetration class would be the best route. I can't see how PADI's 4 dive wreck specialty would teach me about running lines, stage bottles, proper kicks, proper planning, etc. That's why we ruled it out as part of our MSD.

10-06-2007, 09:16
yep. i took it last year. we learned about safety issues, gear you need for slight penetration, and we went to spiegel grove and did a swim thru and laid a line with a reel, then had to retract it.

decent class, but, its not a full wreck or enclosed environment cert, atelast, with only that card i wouldnt suggest jumpin in over ur head without a professional for a while ;P

10-06-2007, 12:55
I second having an in depth discussion with your instructor to be sure you are both on the same wavelength. PADI standards are pretty basic. But, some instructors will add enough to the course from their personal experience to make it a very good experience.

The one I picked for example actually does real life real wreck diving. Once he knew what I wanted he tailored my instruction to both meet course curriculum and give me agood foundation.

On the other hand, I know of people who met the standards and only peeked their heads inside the wreck through a rather large hatch.

But, no matter what instruction any beginning wreck diving course is just a beginning. The rest is up to you.

10-06-2007, 21:57
It can be a decent course if taken with the right instructor. I took my Wreck course with an instructor who dives NJ wrecks. I learned a lot about running reels, different finning techniques, proper tie offs, and planning wreck dives. We didn't use stage bottles. That's a whole 'nother course. The PADI wreck course can be very informative. However, it can also be a poor course. My other option at the time was to take it from my LDS (in AZ) from an instructor that only dove wrecks once a year (when the course was being taught) and not do a penetration. In fact, reel work wasn't even taught. The instructor did all the line work, if any.

10-07-2007, 09:33
I just completed the Wreck Specialty last weekend in Mermet Springs. My 4 dives consisted of...
#1 practiced following "guide lines" in the quarry
#2 strung line in school bus
#3 mapped wreck of 747 from US MARSHALLS
#4 penetrated 747 & strung line

pretty basic stuff

10-07-2007, 09:49
IMO all additional schooling and instruction you get is a plus in some regards.

The PADI Wreck Specialty is know different from other rec. agencies wreck classes to much....it is a 'diver safety based class', as it should be.

It gives the diver a taste of what they might expect when encountering a wreck or artificial reef. The limited penetration dive is an 'option only' and should combine basic reel/line work and again a high dose of common sense and safety....you and your instructor would evaluate that option.

For what the course is...you would probably find it fun and interesting with a good instructor.

Chris I see you are a local DFW fellow....where would you be taking this class if you did in fact do so, just curious?


10-07-2007, 16:56
I had an excellent PADI Wreck specialty course, did my dives on the Spiegel Grove and USS Duane in Key Largo with 2 penetration dives. The instructor and three classmates were my usual trip buddies and good friends. In fact, this was planned as just a "fun" trip and at the last minute we decided to make a course of it. We spent a lot of time talking over dinner and in the condo so it was probably "longer" than most courses.
We did 6 wreck dives and 2 reef dives on that trip.

That said, the course is designed to be an introduction from which you can (carefully and conservatively) continue to learn and build experience. Wreck diving is something where you just cannot eff up. I've only done "light" penetration on about 18 dives, basically simple stuff I could have done without line. I am still a total novice and plan to follow up with cave courses and TDI Basic/Advanced Wreck.

10-24-2007, 09:24
Yes, I did the course on HMAS Swan (Destroyer Escort River Class) at 30m.

Main issues will be alot of line work, light out scenario inside a vessel, rule of thirds, need to also provide a survey of a ship measured with tape or rangefinder, underwater including slate drawing. Provide history report on vessel you are diving.

The hardest thing for me was remembering the bloody knot you tie while holding the light.

Was alot of fun because of the people in the team, we did the initial line work on trees then went on penetrations. If I was doing it again I'd suggest combining the course with a nitrox certification.


10-26-2007, 14:31
I took the class and got a lot out of it. As someone earlier in the thread mentioned, I did it with an instructor who dives a lot of wrecks off the coast of NJ, and two of our certification dives were on one of the NJ wrecks. The class didn't make me an instant wreck expert, but it did give me exposure to the issues you face when wreck diving here, and certainly gave me a new respect for the overhead environment. We did one day of lectures and line drills in the parking lot, and then underwater at the quarry, and then went out for 2 dives in the ocean the next day. I agree that there are better classes if you intend to do heavy wreck penetrations, but this could be a good building block if that is an eventual goal for you.

10-28-2007, 13:26
The PADI course is quite basic. If you really want to learn wreck diving you must do more advanced stuff. This one doesn't qualify you for anything much - just a basic orientation.