Sidemount Diver


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Having scuba tanks on your back isn’t a requirement for exploring the underwater world.

Many scuba divers have discovered the joy of mounting cylinders on their sides. Sidemount diving gives you flexibility and streamlining options. Plus, you don’t have to walk with heavy cylinders on your back – just enter the water, clip them on and go.

Sound interesting? Sign up for the PADI Sidemount Diver Specialty course. If you’re a PADI Open Water Diver who is at least 15 years old, you can enroll in a PADI Sidemount Diver course.

This course is particularly interesting for people with back problems.

In this course we will cover with the following:

  • Benefits of Sidemount
  • Basic Sidemount Configuration
  • Diving Sidemount
  • Sidemount Problems
Practical Application

The PADI Sidemount Diver Practical Application focuses on setting up sidemount equipment. We will use two diving cylinders on a BCD suitable for Sidemount diving. We will also need two regulators with Sidemount configuration

Confined Water Dive

In the confined water dive we will practise with the skills you will use in the open water dives. As you can see, it’s a big list, so we’re going to have a lot of fun.

Sidemount exercise with sharing gas with a long hose
  1. Assemble, don and adjust the sidemount equipment that will be used on the dive.
  2. Demonstrate an appropriate sidemount entry into water shallow enough in which to stand and donning sidemount cylinders in the water.
  3. Inflate the BCD to establish buoyancy, swim on the surface into water too deep in which to stand, perform a buoyancy check, and adjust for proper weighting.
  4. Execute a five-point descent with a buddy.
  5. Locate both SPGs and indicate the gas supply in each cylinder to the instructor and buddies.
  6. Throughout the dive, in two-cylinder sidemount, manage gas by switching second stages as planned before the dive.
  7. Establish neutral buoyancy and swim using flutter kicks and frog kicks (unless it is not possible for the student due to a physical limitation), with a buddy, 24 meters/80 feet to assess balance and trim, to make adjustments as required, and to develop/confirm familiarity with both kicks.
  8. Recover and clear the second stage from behind/below the cylinder.
  9. In two-cylinder sidemount, remove and release the second stage of one cylinder, secure the second stage of the other, clear it and begin breathing from it, then recover the first second stage.
    then recover the first second stage.
  10. Establish neutral buoyancy and hover using breath control for at least one minute.
  11. Respond to a simulated out-of-gas emergency as both the donor and as the receiver by sharing gas with a long hose second stage, then swimming 15 meters/50 feet maintaining contact with a buddy.
  12. In two-cylinder sidemount, respond to a simulated failed regulator or failed cylinder valve by switching second stages (if necessary to maintain a breathing supply) and shutting down the simulated affected cylinder valve, within 60 seconds.
  13. With a buddy, perform a safety stop in midwater for three minutes, not varying from the stop depth by more than 2 meters/7 feet.
  14. Surface in water too deep in which to stand, establish positive buoyancy, remove the cylinder(s) and exit the water.
  15. Establish positive buoyancy, enter water too deep in which to stand and don cylinders, connecting the BCD and other inflators as appropriate for the configuration in use.
  16. Swim underwater for a distance of not less than 24 meters/80 feet, including at least one turn of 180 degrees and swimming backwards using only kicks (unless doing so is impossible due to a physical limitation), without making contact with the bottom.
  17. Disconnect the lower attachment of at least one cylinder, swing it in front with the upper connection in place, swim at least 18 meters/60 feet, then reconnect the lower attachment.
  18. Execute a proper ascent, and exit the water (any method), then enter the water using a method in which the diver dons the cylinders before entry (giant stride, seated back roll, etc.)
  19. Throughout the session, respond calmly, correctly and appropriately to simulated emergencies presented by the instructor.
Open Water Dives

We will do three open water dives

At first we will plan our dive(s), taking into account our sidemount configuration. Aspects such as when to switch second stages and dive limits. You’ll be able to dive a lot longer with two dive cylinders. In dives 1 and 2 we do the skills we have practised in confined water.
The Depth range will be 6 metres/20 feet to 18 metres/60 feet. We will stay within the day light visibility.

In Dive 3 we will repeat some of the most important skills. This dive we will plan first as well. The depth range will be meters/20 feet to 30 meters/100 feet, or students’ maximum depth qualification, whichever is shallower. We will stay within the day light visibility.

Additional information

Minimum Age (years)


Minimum Prerequisite Certification

Open Water Diver

Available in (language)

Dutch, English, PADI Languages

Course duration


Number of confined water lessons


Number of open water lessons



Excluding gear

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