Underwater navigation is the common reference term for navigation techniques learned by Scuba divers in order to accurately navigate in an underwater environment.
Although it is considered a basic skill, it is normally only taught to a limited degree as part of basic Open Water certification. Most North American diver training agencies only teach significant elements of underwater navigation as part of the Advanced Open Water Diver certification program.
Underwater navigation is usually a core component of most, if not all, advanced diver training. In the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course, it is one of the two mandatory skills (together with Deep diving) which must be taken alongside three elective skills.
Training agencies promote underwater navigation as a skill (despite the fact that it is less popular than other recreational diving specialties) on the basis that it:
- builds diver confidence
- saves energy by minimising excess swimming
- makes dive planning more effective
- keeps dive buddies together
- reduces air consumption
Underwater navigation is a component of Underwater orienteering, combining Orienteering, Scuba diving and Finswimming.
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