The rescue diver course is one of the most enjoyable courses you will undertake during your diving adventures. You obviously do not need to do this course although you will gain many benefits from its completion. Personally I found that the greatest benefit of this course was to learn the limitations of what is possible with regards to diver safety.
In this course, you will learn the following:
Theoretical rescue knowledge
Practical rescue skills
Actively participate in rescue scenarios
Learn how to develop an emergency assistance plan
The skills that you will focus on include:
How to rescue yourself
Assisting other divers
Responding to panicked divers
How to respond depending on environment, for example from a boat
Assist distressed divers underwater
Search and locate missing divers
How to bring an unresponsive diver from depth to the surface
Providing in water rescue breathing
How to exit an unresponsive diver from the water
Proving CPR on the surface
How to handle pressure related injuries, including the administration of oxygen
As you can see there is a lot to cover on this course. I completed my rescue diver on Koh Tao, Thailand, which was an absolute blast. It helped that the water is clear and warm. Most instructors will challenge you on this course and expect you to have good response times when assisting a panicked diver. One of the pretend victims filled his mouth with chewed biscuits, and when we extracted him from the water and checked his airway, well it was gross. A key lesson that you will learn is to never trust a panicked diver, if someone is in fear of their life they will take you down with them. To illustrate this, when you go to render assistance they will often attack and try to climb on you. So just remember to be ready and take evasive action, approach the diver from behind and have you reg ready. Some panicked divers were so convincing that the only way to assist them was to, dump your BCD, submerge under them, grab the tank valve and spin them on their back.
I can highly recommend the rescue diver course and what I have described is just a taste, although I don’t want to give too much away, as you will get to experience it all.