A rescue diver equipment list includes your normal diving setup plus extra things

The Rescue Diver course is a challenging course that will drain you mentally and physically. If you are not exhausted after this scuba diving course, then you didn’t do it right! But it is also one of the most enjoyable and rewarding courses to be taught, and also to teach. Here we created a rescue diver equipment list for those who are about to start their course or are teaching the rescue diver course, or if you are just recreationally diving and want to be prepared for any scenario.

Here’s our checklist for things that all divers should do for their own safety.

Rescue Diver Equipment List

You will need your standard scuba diving equipment. This includes:

  • Mask
  • BCD
  • Primary regulator and alternate air source
  • SPG to check air
  • Tank/cylinder
  • Fins
  • Weights
  • Exposure protection; wetsuit, drysuit, or rash guard
  • Snorkel (many divers leave this out, but as a Rescue Diver you should carry one with you)
  • Dive computer
  • Compass

Here is some additional safety equipment that you should always carry while diving.

  • An audible emergency surface signal such as a whistle, air-horn, shaker etc.
  • A visible emergency surface signal such as an SMB (surface marker buoy), flare, dive flag, float, or reflective light.
  • A dive tool, knife, or cutter. This helps in case of entanglement from fish wires, ropes, etc.
  • An underwater slate and pencil so you can write notes
  • A torch that can be used in low visibility, in the dark, underwater, or on the surface.
  • A pocket mask for rescue breaths to be used on the surface
Scuba Diving Equipment Gear Checklist
Our Scuba Diving Equipment Gear Checklist.

PADI Rescue Diver Requirements

If you are planning on getting your Rescue certification with PADI then you will need to have completed your Advanced Open Water course with PADI or another similar diving agency. You will also be required to undertake Emergency First Responder (EFR) training prior to or during your Rescue course. Most dive centers and instructors will teach the two courses at the same time as there is an overlap of knowledge and skills to practice.

If you already have EFR or First Aid Training within the 12 months, then PADI may accept this and you do not need to complete this again. Take your certification card or evidence of your training, to your dive center and check with them prior to starting your Rescue course.

Emergency Equipment on the Boat

This is emergency equipment that should be on every boat or at shore.

  • First aid kit
  • 100% oxygen kit with enough supply
  • Additional pocket masks
  • Space blanket
  • White vinegar
  • Tweezers
  • Life rings and buoys
  • Ropes to create a drift line
  • Emergency Action Plan (EAP) with steps to follow in an emergency.

Remember, some people can freeze up or blank out during a real scenario so the EAP should include:

  • Phone numbers for emergency contacts; the dive shop, the local hospital, DAN (Diver’s Alert Network), the closest recompression chamber
  • A script for what to say on the phone during an emergency
  • Steps to follow for marine life injuries
  • Steps to follow with suspected Decompression Illness
Surface Marker Buoys are an important piece of your rescue diver equipment list.
Bring your own SMB or rent one when diving.

Teaching the Rescue Diver course

Additional equipment you will need when teaching the Rescue course includes but is not limited to:

  • CPR mannequin or doll
  • Disposable gloves
  • Rubbing alcohol to disinfect
  • Bandages and gauze to practise with

So there you have it, a comprehensive rescue diver equipment list to get you started with your rescue course. This list is also handy for instructors who are teaching a rescue diver course. The equipment listed here is also good to have on every dive regardless, as you never know when a real emergency will happen.

What other items do you think should be added to this current rescue diver equipment list? Let us know in the comments below.

Emma was initially terrified of the deep ocean but dived right into scuba diving years ago and hasn't looked back since! After completing her PADI DiveMaster certification and with a Bachelor of Communications (Media) background in film-making, Emma started her scuba career as an Underwater Videographer before becoming a full-time PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer. She taught and certified hundreds of PADI scuba divers as Open Water Divers, Rescue Divers, Deep Specialty Divers, Dive Masters and more, and then managed several Dive Centres. Her favourite fish (which is also tattooed on her arm) is the Barracuda!