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Underwater Naturalist Specialty

Learn the inner workings of underwater ecosystems

Create an awareness. The submarine world is different from the terrestrial world. Those who venture underwater are in a unique position to observe and interact with organisms entirely different than those on land. In a sense, those who enter the underwater world are a privileged group; they have first-hand personal experiences with aquatic life.

Evoke a sense of responsibility. With any privilege comes responsibility. It is the responsibility of recreational divers to accept and foster a sense of respect for aquatic organisms.

Expand the publicís knowledge of the aquatic environment. As the saying goes, knowledge is the key to understanding. This course provides participants with basic introductory information about aquatic organisms. The course is designed to present such information in an entertaining and engaging way. It is not an academic treatment of aquatic biology. Rather, it is intended to encourage the participant to find out more about the aquatic realm either independently or through other educational programs. Particular attention is given to dispelling myths about potentially dangerous aquatic life by providing accurate, factual information about animals such as sharks, eels, jellyfish and others.

The course is made up of two open water dives and a classroom session. 

  • Introduction to the aquatic realm. Introduces participants to the aquatic realm. A comparison of the land and aquatic environments acts as a vehicle for illustrating how different the two environments are.
  • Aquatic life mythology and human perceptions of aquatic life. This module addresses potentially dangerous aquatic life by dispelling myths through accurate, factual information about animals such as sharks, barracuda, sting rays and others. The module also addresses the way we perceive aquatic life in general, particularly those regarded as harmful to people. 
  • Survey of aquatic life and relationships between aquatic animals. A brief but comprehensive overview of all the major types of organisms which live in aquatic environments. Included in this topic is a brief overview of predator/prey and symbiotic relationships between aquatic animals. 
  • Responsible human interactions with aquatic life. An overview of the numerous ways divers can interact with aquatic life. This module interprets the pros and cons of each interactive activity and can act as a springboard for launching non-divers into an entry-level certification program. Additionally, it acts as the cognitive bridge for the open-water portion of the course on the Specialty Diver path.

These are just a few of the "academic" topics that you'll learn during the underwater naturalist course.

Prerequisites are Open Water Diver AND some cold water diving experience. In addition you will find that your ability to control your buoyancy will significantly enhance your underwater naturalist study.  If your not sure about yours, you might consider taking the Peak Performance Buoyancy Clinic prior to this class.

Course Cost is $125 and includes all materials, the class time, and the open water dives.  By this point in a divers training it is important that a student begins to obtain their own equipment (rentals are available but having your own gear is preferred).  A dive light and a slate are essential for a student to have while studying aquatic life habits, but are not included in the course fee.



The Learning Materials Included

Underwater naturalist materials includes a specially selected book, underwater aquatic life slates, and custom materials specific to the Pacific Northwest. 






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Last modified: July 01, 2013