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What Technical Diving is and How to Know if it's For You

Tec divers go far beyond the 130-foot recreational dive limit to explore underwater treasures most divers will never see.
By Travis Marshall | Updated On April 4, 2020
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What Technical Diving is and How to Know if it's For You

If you’re the type of diver who dreams of diving deeper and longer than recreational diving allows, PADI’s Discover Technical Diving experience is a great way to get an introduction to the equipment, skills and underlying philosophy of technical diving.

PADI Intro to Technical Diving

If you're interested in technical diving, sign-up for the PADI Discover Technical Diving course.

Courtesy PADI


Technical divers can seem like superheroes of diving, with the skills and discipline to do things regular divers can’t. They may dive far beyond the 130-foot recreational depth limit. Planned decompression gives them bottom time that dwarfs what’s allotted by no-decompression dive tables. And their dive equipment is purpose-built and finely tuned for spending hours underwater.

I get a lot of divers who are interested in Discover Technical Diving because they see my photos of immaculate wrecks in the Great Lakes or shots of tropical reefs at 150 feet,” says Rich Synowiec, a PADI Course Director and technical diving instructor who owns Divers Incorporated in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“They’re passionate about diving, and they want to go deeper, but they’re not sure if they’re ready to make the commitment to technical diving,” Synowiec says.


The decision to learn technical diving requires a serious commitment to continuing education and a significant investment in specialized dive gear. PADI’s Discover Technical Diving experience gives curious divers an opportunity to experience the basics of technical diving in a controlled environment to help them decide if a course like PADI Tec 40 is right for them.

“Discover Technical Diving is primarily about the equipment and the philosophy of technical diving,” Synowiec says. “I usually do the dive on a platform in a quarry, and I’ll set them up with gear—like a Hollis harness and backplate, double tanks, and a 7-foot regulator hose—so they can take it for a spin.”

Synowiec also conducts a 45-minute presentation covering everything from different gear configurations to decompression diving, mixed gas, and the philosophy of precision, practice and constant improvement that is required for safe technical diving.

In the Discover Technical Diving experience, student divers get comfortable with the equipment and practice skills like switching to stage bottles, all in shallow water no more than 40 feet deep. “I like to end the dive with a gas switch on normal nitrox and simulated decompression with a 10-minute safety stop at 15 feet,” Synowiec says. “That’s the maximum decompression time for the Tec 40 level, so it’s a good test run to see if technical diving is right for you.”