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Independent Diver Overview


Independent diver RAID


This course teaches certified RAID divers with at least 100 logged dives, three main additional skills so they are competent and confident diving without the guaranteed support of a buddy. These skills are managing a ‘stage’ or bailout bottle; deploying a DSMB; safely and effectively managing several pieces of backup equipment.

Public Release date: April 2, 2024

Type of credit needed:                  

Diver – Specialty Credit
Instructor – Specialty Instructor Credit
Instructor Trainer – None needed, see standards

Who can teach this course?
Active RAID Independent Diver Instructor – information for being certified as an instructor is at the end of the document.

NOTA BENE: RAID’s Independent Diver course is a recreational no decompression program for open-circuit divers… nothing more.

I. Purpose

This course is designed to safely train students to:

Dive independently without the guaranteed support of a capable buddy.

Divers in this program will follow best-practice, established procedures to deploy various piece of backup/redundant gear, use a DSMB as surface marker and buoyancy aid, and to prepare, carry, and use an independent gas source (bailout bottle)

Bailout must be breathable at the maximum dive depth.

Bailout must have sufficient volume to complete a safe ascent including the required safety stop.

Note: NITROX is not required but is recommended.

II. Student Prerequisites

Be a minimum 18 years old, 16 with parental consent.

  • Be certified as a RAID Open Water 20 and RAID Deep 40 diver or equivalent.
  • Or be certified as a RAID Explorer 30 or RAID Advanced 35 diver or equivalent.
  • Have a minimum of 50 logged hours underwater or 100 dives using open circuit.
  • Complete the registration process, including all mandatory paperwork.

III. Student to Instructor Ratios

Confined Water
A maximum of 8 students: 1 instructor

Open Water
A maximum of 4 students: 1 instructor

IV. Depth Limitations During Training
Training dive depth limits of individual dives are outlined in Independent Diving training materials. Overall, training dives must not exceed the maximum depth 6 meters / 20 feet in confined water and 40 meters / 130 feet in open water. At least two dives should be deeper than 20 meters / 70 feet.

V. Supervision

A certified RAID Independent Diver instructor is defined as an in-status RAID sidemount, Deco 40 (open circuit) instructor or higher, and any RAID CCR instructor.

All training must be conducted by an instructor. The instructor must be physically present and in direct supervision of all segments of training.

A certified assistant must be a RAID Divemaster or higher who is certified as RAID Independent Diver.

VI. Equipment Requirements

  • Single cylinder (with or without H or Y valve) of adequate capacity for the planned dive.
  • One standard primary regulator setup fitted with long hose (approx. 2m / 7ft) including piston clip.
  • One low-pressure (LP) inflator hose for BCD and dry suit (if appropriate). LP connectors must be interchangeable.
  • One backup regulator with standard hose fitted with neck bungee.
  • One SPG with piston clip.
  • Stage cylinder holding suitable gas volume for planned dives.
  • Stage cylinder rigging kit.
  • Cylinder marking for MOD, Diver Name and Mix (labelled as per RAID cylinder marking standards).
  • Suitable DIN regulator with SPG on a short HP hose.
  • A recreational BCD that has capacity to carry a stage cylinder OR Wing, plate and harness with single tank adaptor.
  • Personal dive computer.
  • Backup computer or depth dive timer.
  • Wetnotes or wrist slate or finger slate.
  • Primary DSMB.
  • 1 x reels or spools with adequate line length for the dive depth.
  • 1x cutting devices.
  • Backup Mask.
  • Light where appropriate.
  • (See Equipment list in student guide.)
  • Access to an oxygen analyzer when nitrox is being used.

VII. Course Requirements

To earn certification, the student must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete the online academic modules, quizzes, and exam.
    • Management
    • Equipment
    • In-Water Manual
  • Complete all the skill requirements as outlined in the instructor guidelines for Confined Water In-water training, including but not limited to the following partial list.
    • Pre-dive safety checks
    • Buoyancy check
    • Stage remove and replace on the surface
    • Descents
    • Buoyancy and trim
    • Frog kick
    • SAC rate
    • Stage remove and replace underwater
    • Gas sharing stationary
    • Gas sharing swim
    • Back up mask deployment
    • SMB Deployment
    • Ascent

VIII. In-Water Training

To be certified as a RAID Independent Diver student’s must complete these requirements to the instructor’s satisfaction and must confirm their personal comfort with the listed skills in the RAID online QA system.

  • Minimum of 1 confined water dives with no minimum time requirement
  • Minimum of 3 open water dives with at least 2.5 hours of underwater training

IX. Certification

The Independent Diver certification entitles the holder to dive without the potential assistance of a dive buddy to a maximum depth of 40m/ 130 feet (following their existing certification and experience) in conditions similar or better than those experienced during training using air or nitrox.


RAID deco 40 (or better) instructor, including cavern, cave 1 and all CCR instructors (although, please note, this is a recreational open circuit program). This also includes RAID sidemount instructors, but excludes twinset instructors because they do not, by default, have any experience with a stage or bailout.

Also, able to teach the RAID program is any member who teaches a corresponding program from a recognised sister agency (SDI, SSI, PADI et al).

The Administrative Process.

The task of checking member prerequisites to teach Independent Diver will be the responsibility of the appropriate RRO.

  • Crossover Independent Diver Instructors:
    • RRO’s will need to complete the standard crossover application form for the instructors and upload proof of current certification to their profiles.
    • After we have audited the application, and all is in order we will add the Independent Diver Instructor course to the candidate’s profile.
    • You as the RRO can use the By Pass function to certify the candidate.
  • New Independent Diver Instructors:
    • Eligible instructors: RAID deco 40 (or better) instructor, including cavern, cave 1 and all CCR instructors (although, please note, this is a recreational open circuit program). This also includes RAID sidemount instructors.
    • Eligible instructors who wish to teach this new course, will be asked to purchase a specialty instructor credit.
    • Upon completion of the quizzes and exams RRO’s can sign off the course by making use of the By Pass function.
  • Instructor Trainers.
    • Our suggestion is that any existing RAID IT at Deco 40 and above, Cavern/Cave and CCR who certifies at least five Independent Diver students, can apply to become an IT for this RAID specialty.
    • Please note: we believe that there should not be a direct IT crossover at this level since there are liability issue to consider.