2015 PADI Ice Diver Changes

There is a Brand New PADI Ice Diver Specialty Instructor  Guide – effective immediately – you must have one in order to teach the course this year and make sure you are meeting all the changes.     

The following is just a highlight of changes to watch for when reading through your own personal copy of the New Ice Diver Instructor Guide:    


  • Certified Assistant – now needs to be a certified ice diver, with ice diving rescue experience (optional fourth dive recommended)
  • Instructor – now needs to be a certified ice diver  (in the past the instructor could have done a direct entry application based on completion of dives)
  • Student divers must now be PADI Rescue Divers prior to Ice Dive Four.   Ice Dive Four adapts rescue diver skills to the ice diving environment.


  • Dive 1 changed from direct supervision by either the course instructor or certified assistant to direct supervision by the course instructor.
  • Dives 2, 3 and 4 remain direct supervision by either the course instructor or certified assistant.
  • Instructors are prompted to assess diver readiness for later dives and certified assistant readiness for direct supervision.

Knowledge Development and Practical Application:    

  • Mostly an update on equipment and techniques.
  • Simplification of physiology in line with the PADI Rescue Diver course.
  • Addition of gas planning – within similar scope to PADI Deep Diver Manual
  • Land (ice) based skills separated into Practical Applications with more scheduling flexibility to help avoid excessive exposure to cold.
  • Increased warnings about use of chain saws and reference to meeting local regulation requirements


  • Safety diver roles have been changed:
  • Safety divers must now be ice divers, preferably with rescue skills and with the Ice Dive Four recommended.  Previously student divers could play this role, but this meant they may need to perform a rescue before they have learned the skills to do so.
  • Safety divers must also now dive in pairs. Previously this was not a standard.
  •  Safety divers no longer need to have dive equipment on and ready to go in the water, which is a useful change in extremely cold surface conditions. They now need to have their kit ready to go and be able to respond immediately. This allows them to seek shelter and stay warm.
  • New skill – Out of air ascent practiced in 3-6m/10-20ft, directly under the ice hole.   Purpose is for divers to practice this during training due to slight differences in techniques and to experience the dexterity challenges of simple skills when cold. Practicing under the ice hole allows diver to ascend directly,  just in case there is a free flow.
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