SSI Classified Diving

Experience freedom and mobility in a 3D watery world

SSI Classified Diving

The SSI Classified Diving program provides students with limited mobility and/or sensory disorders with the adaptive training necessary to dive with one or more Classified Dive Buddies, and/or a Classified Dive Professionals depending on their abilities, in environments and to depths equivalent with their training.

Through the SSI Classified Diving program, individuals with disabilities or limited mobility, who are medically cleared by a physician, can experience the thrill of scuba diving. First in a pool/confined water environment, then potentially in the open water. 

Aotearoa Dive will adapt the Open Water Diver program and training materials to meet the specific needs of our SSI Classified Diving students. Once certified we will provide ongoing support to keep you diving with our Classified Dive Buddy network.

Course overview

The student-centered SSI Classified Diving program is designed specifically for individuals who may not be able to meet some of the autonomous diver skill requirements for an SSI Open Water Diver certification.
Aotearoa Dive's Classified Diving Instructors are trained how to adapt the SSI Open Water Diver program and training materials to meet their students' specific needs. All Classified Diving students still complete every skill evaluation from the Open Water Diver program. However, based on the students capabilities, particular techniques may change, and assistance is permitted to perform the skills.

The SSI Classified Diving program is divided into 4 segments:

  • Online Study: accessible through the SSI online portal or app after registration, you can learn interactively and at your own pace, whenever and wherever you want. The theory is an especially important part of diving and you get to keep these materials for life for future reference.

  • Pool sessions: this is where you will take your first breaths under water and learn how to use scuba equipment. With the full support or our professional team we will get you comfortable and build confidence in the water. Throughout the pool sessions you will learn how to conduct adaptive SCUBA foundational skills and emergency procedures ,
    During all pool sessions you will be carefully guided and supported by both Classified Dive Buddies and your Classified Dive Instructor.

  • Open Water dives: this is where the fun really begins! You will gain "comfort through repetition", perfecting your skills learnt during the pool sessions, in an open water environment and experience the freedom and joy only SCUBA diving can bring. 
    During all open water dives you will be fully supported by both Classified Dive Buddies and your Classified Dive Instructor.

  • Academic classroom sessions: during your classroom academic session we discuss a variety of topics including physics, physiology, environment and dive equipment. This enables us to consolidate your understanding, therefor produce better SSI Classified Divers with a good understanding scuba diving theory. 

Upon successful completion of the SSI Classified Diving program, students will earn a Classified Diving Level 1, 2, or 3 certification depending on their ability to independently perform skills, and to assist a buddy in need.

There are 3 SSI Classified Diver certification levels based on the diver’s abilities:

  • Level 1 – Must dive with a certified Classified Dive Buddy.

  • Level 2 – Must dive with two (2) certified Classified Dive Buddies.

  • Level 3 – Must dive with two (2) certified Classified Dive Buddies and one (1) Classified Dive Professional.

With Aotearoa Dive, we will  focus and develop what you can do rather than on what you can’t.

Once certified, you will be able to dive with  Classified Dive Buddies and/or Classified Dive Professional (depending on certification level). 
All SSI Classified Diver's will receive and electronic certification card which can be accessed through the SSI app.


  • Minimum age: 12 years

  • Medically signed off by a physician. CLICK HERE  to view the dive medical form.

  • Academic Sessions: Online learning & classroom

  • Confined Water: At least one session

  • Open Water Dives: 4

  • Max Depth: 18 mtrs

  • Time: 3 - 5 days

  • Ratio: Minimum of 1 student : 2 dive professionals  depending on level

Cost : Price on application

Cost includes:

  • All standard/specialist dive equipment is provided

  • Online digital training materials

  • Confined and open water sessions

  • Classroom based academic sessions

  • E-card certification

  • Light refreshments during your course

  • Dive club membership 

  • Student rates on new equipment purchases from us

  • Ongoing support and diving opportunities


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