Intermediate Freediver course


The PFA Intermediate Freediver course teaches competent and comfortable freedivers essential safety and problem management for breath-hold diving. It places special emphasis on proper technique development. This program also includes details on training and equipment for diving to depths up to 40 m/132 ft. The course covers:

  • Intermediate safety and buddy procedures
  • Proper ventilation for gas saturation and volume
  • Equipment for intermediate freediving
  • Psychological aspects of freediving
  • Detailed physics and physiology of freediving
  • Confined-water static apnea development
  • Open-water constant ballast development
  • Techniques for intermediate freediving

See the medical form.

Is this course for you?

It is if:

  • You have basic experience in scuba, freediving, and/or spearfishing
  • You’re interested in freediving in the 25-40 m/80-132 ft range
  • You’d like to learn to hold your breath for over three minutes
  • You’re not sure of extended freediving physiology or the physics that affect you during your freedives and want to know the details
  • You want to learn how to safely deep dive
Download and review the PFI medical form. If you say yes to any questions, you must get a doctor's approval to participate in the course. Contact us if you have questions about the medical form.


Students will practice several skills during the course and do so repeatedly. Some skills will be simulated, some actual. PFI standards require mastery of all skills, and attending all classroom, confined-water and open-water sessions.

If students cannot do this, they may receive a certificate reflecting what they can accomplish. Some students take the course for the experience and not the certification. These students often participate in just the confined-water sessions. We are happy to accommodate students who wish to do so; however, we need to know this ahead of time.

To earn PFI Intermediate Freediver certification, students must be able to:

  • Prepare gear without the instructor's help
  • Perform a 3:00 static breath hold in the pool with opportunity to increase to maximum capacity
  • Dive with proper technique to at least 25 m/82 ft constant weight and free immersion using the PFI method of entrance and exit with proper recovery breathing


  • Attend all classroom teaching sessions
  • Stretching and equalizing workshops
  • CO2 and 02 workshops
  • Complete all quizzes and exams
  • Complete pre learning quiz before class
  • Pass final with 80 percent or more

Watermanship and stamina

  • Prepare freediving equipment without instructor assistance
  • Proper entry procedure (select best local option)
  • 200-meter continuous swim without fins, snorkel, wetsuit, or flotation
  • Minimum of ten-minute tread/float

Confined Water

  • Minimum of four consecutive static breath-holds with no hypoxic symptoms achieving at least 3 minutes
  • Recovery breathing and coaching
  • Manage LMCs and blackouts both on the surface and underwater
  • Finding a blacked-out diver on surface
  • Six negative-pressure dives

Open water

  • Recovery breathing and coaching for buddy
  • Eight constant ballast dives reaching a minimum 25 m/82 ft using proper entrance and exit
  • Emergency rescue and problem management (rescue scenarios), surface and underwater including LMC, blackout at surface and underwater
  • Full mask flood and ascent from 10 m/33 ft
  • Eight free immersion dives to at least 25 m/82 ft
  • Weight belt removal and ascent from 10 m/33 ft


This course is taught by highly trained PFA Instructors at locations all over the world. It includes:

  • Classroom sessions
  • Two confined-water sessions
  • Three open-water sessions
The schedule and layout/order of these sessions vary slightly by location. The program typically runs over four days. Click the link on any course to find the exact schedule for that program.


  • Freediver course or equivalent experience with freediving, spearfishing, or scuba diving (general comfort in the water)
  • Basic freediving experience and can achieve depths anywhere from 6-30 m/20-99 ft with relative comfort
  • You have a breath-hold time of around one minute or longer
  • You can make a constant ballast (unassisted freedive) of 6 m/20 ft
  • Good health and fitness (see Medical Form)
  • 12 years of age with parent/guardian permission

Required equipment

You can use basic snorkeling and scuba equipment; however, we highly recommended you use freediving-specific equipment this course. Students bring:

  • Mask, snorkel, fins
  • Full wetsuit (3 mm for warm water locations; 5-7 mm for cold water locations)
  • Rubber weight belt and a small number of weights
  • Timing device or freediving computer


PFA Freediver course prices vary by location, but start at $745. The tuition covers:

  • Personalized instruction from highly trained freediving specialists, including national and world record holders, or their trainers
  • A student-to-instructor ratio of no more than six:one
  • Student manual or eLearning
  • Classroom sessions with detailed knowledge development taught by freediving experts
  • Confined water sessions
  • Open water sessions
  • Hands-on experience with specialty freediving equipment
  • PFA t-shirt
  • Certification card
If the course location requires use of a dive boat, an additional boat fee may apply. This fee, if applicable, will be listed on specific course location pages.


See our upcoming courses page for more information on when and where courses are happening. You can also contact PFA directly if you don’t see a course which fits your schedule.

Registration and payment details

To secure your spot in a course, we need to receive your registration and either a 50 percent deposit or full payment. Any outstanding course balance is due by the start of the course. See our course schedule to register.

By registering for a course, you also receive:

  • Student Starter Kit
  • Access to online portal including training tips, email access, and private PFI diving community
  • Communication with staff/instructor to answer questions ahead of time
  • Access to e-learning/pre-learning course materials
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