The Essentials

Peak Performance Buoyancy, Enriched Air (Nitrox) Diver, Underwater Navigator, and Equipment Specialist are just a few of the Specialties that divers can take to improve their scuba diving skills and knowledge. We offer a wide range of other specialties that cover many interests. These specialties can be found on the Specialties overview page.

Peak Performance Buoyancy

What is neutral buoyancy? Scuba divers like to be neutrally buoyant so they neither sink nor float. It can be a tricky thing. Divers who have mastered the highest performance levels in buoyancy stand apart. You have seen them underwater. They glide effortlessly, use less air and ascend, descend or hover, almost as if by thought. They interact gently with aquatic life and affect their surroundings minimally. The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course refines the basic skills you learned as a PADI Open Water Diver and elevates them to the next level.

What You Learn

  • How to trim your scuba gear so you are perfectly balanced in the water
  • Nuances in determining weight so you are not too light nor too heavy by even a slight degree
  • How to streamline to save air and move smoothly through the water
  • How to hover effortlessly in both a vertical position and a horizontal position

You will need to complete two open water dives to complete this specialty. You may also attend a buoyancy workshop in the pool.

    • Minimum age: 10
    • Open Water Diver or Junior Open Water Diver

    • Standard dive gear

    • PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy Manual
    • View the PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy DVD

    • $195 includes all materials and two open water dives with instructor. Travel/entry fees to wherever the course is held are not included. Rental gear is available.


    Enriched Air (Nitrox) Diver

    Enriched Air Divers

    The PADI Enriched Air Diver course is PADI’s most popular specialty scuba diving course, and it is easy to see why. Scuba diving with enriched air nitrox gives you more no decompression dive time. This means more time underwater, especially on repetitive scuba dives. You can typically stay down longer and get back in the water sooner. No wonder many divers choose this as their very first specialty.

    What You Learn

    • Techniques for getting more dive time by using enriched air nitrox
    • Enriched air scuba diving equipment considerations
    • Enriched air considerations, including managing oxygen exposure, how to tell what is in your scuba tank and how to set your dive computer

    Sign up for the PADI Enriched Air Diver eLearningThere are no dives required for this course. Instead we will go through a couple of Nitrox dive simulations using your dive computer.

    You may be able to earn college credit for the PADI Enriched Air Diver course.

      • Minimum age: 12
      • Open Water Diver, Junior Open Water diver, or enrolled in Open Water Diver course

      • Nitrox-compatible dive computer

      • PADI Enriched Air Diver Manual and tables or PADI Enriched Air Diver eLearning
      • View the PADI Enriched Air Diver DVD

      • Book/Video or eLearning: $180.00
      • Both options include a classroom session


      Underwater Navigator

      Underwater Navigator

      Be the diver everyone wants to follow and make your sense of direction legendary with the PADI Underwater Navigator Specialty course. Finding your way is not a matter of luck! When everyone is buzzing about a reef or checking out a shipwreck, they are having a great time – until it is time to go. Then they turn to you, because as a PADI Underwater Navigator, you know the way back to the boat.

      Underwater navigation can be challenging, but in the PADI Underwater Navigator Specialty course, you master the challenge. You learn the tools of the trade, including navigation via natural clues and by compass.

      What You Learn

      • Navigation patterns
      • Natural navigation (without a compass)
      • Compass navigation
      • How to “mark” or relocate a submerged object or position from the surface
      • Underwater map making
      • How to follow irregular courses with the Nav-Finder
      • Dive site relocation
      • How to estimate distance underwater

      You will need to complete three open water dives for this specialty.

        • Minimum age: 10
        • Open Water Diver or Junior Open Water Diver

        • PADI Underwater Navigator Manual
        • View the PADI Underwater Navigator DVD

        • $255 includes materials and three open water dives with instructor. Travel/entry fees to wherever the course is held are not included. Rental gear is available.


        Equipment Specialist


        Do not miss a dive due to a scuba gear issue! Whether it is a blown o-ring, regulator problem, wetsuit tear or a broken fin strap, you can learn how to manage basic scuba equipment adjustments. As a PADI Equipment Specialist, you are prepared for the basic scuba equipment maintenance, care and adjustments you will encounter every day. In addition, you will learn interesting background information about how your gear works, how it’s repaired and other information that can help you get the most out of your equipment investment.

        What You Learn

        • Review the theory, principles and operation of scuba diving equipment
        • Learn about routine, recommended care and maintenance procedures, and equipment storage
        • How to overcome common problems with equipment and recommended professional maintenance procedures (may include a demonstration of repair procedures)
        • Gain simple suggestions for comfortable equipment configurations and an introduction to new gear (may include optional confined water dive to try new or unfamiliar equipment)

        This specialty does not require any dives, just classroom time.

          • Minimum age: 10
          • Scuba Diver or Junior Scuba Diver

          • Scuba tool

          • PADI Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving

          • $175 includes materials and a classroom session.

          • None


          Latest News

          NEW! Online Classes Coming Soon

          We're working with PADI to start offering courses

          Save on PADI and DAN eLearning

          Stuck at home? Dreaming about when this will all b

          Stay immersed in the dive life without getting wet

          Stuck at home due to COVID-19? Worried about gett

          Contact Us

          Blue Planet Scuba
          1755 S Street NW
          Washington, DC 20009

          (202) 527-9419

          STORE HOURS:
          By appointment only for now

          Get our newsletter

          * = required field

          COVID-19 UPDATE

          See the latest information on Blue Planet's response to the COVID-19 orders in Washington, DC.