Safety Freediver Course


The PFA Safety Freediver course is for competent and comfortable freedivers who have either:

  • Successfully achieved the PFI Intermediate Freediver course
  • Successfully passed the PFI Intermediate Freediver Crossover Exam
  • Currently certified as a First Aid, CPR with AED, Emergency O2 provider with neurological evaluation and marine life injuries
The course teaches advanced safety and problem management for dives past recreational limits of 40 m/ 132 ft. Topics covered during the course include:

  • Safety and buddy procedures for advanced freediving
  • Equipment for performing safety beyond 40 m/132 ft such as lanyards, and counterbalance systems
  • Psychological aspects of advanced freediving and competitive freediving
  • Mastering the roles of primary and secondary safety freedivers
  • Learning to manage active and passive freediver retrieval system set-up and use

Is this course for you?

It is if:

  • You’re an experienced comfortable freediver and have completed the PFI Intermediate Freediver course, or…
  • You’ve completed an Intermediate Freediver level course with another recognized agency plus have completed the PFI Intermediate Freediver Crossover Exam
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.

For this course, you must have DAN (Divers Alert Network) Dive Accident Insurance. If you do not have this already, you can sign up on the DAN website.


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 Safety Freediver certification, students must be able to:

  • Work as a part of an advanced safety team
  • Demonstrate adequate safe buddy skills, performing a rescue to PFI standards
  • Prepare gear without help of instructor
  • Safety freedivers in confined and open water situations


  • Attend all classroom teaching sessions
  • Stretching and Equalizing workshops
  • CO2 and 02 training workshops
  • All equipment workshops
  • Complete all quizzes in manual
  • 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 m/660 ft continuous swim without fins, snorkel, wetsuit or flotation
  • Minimum of ten-minute tread

Confined Water

  • Manage LMC, blackout on surface and underwater: Identifying telltale signs that a problem is about to occur, then demonstrate how to handle the situation safely, effectively, and efficiently
  • Demonstrate how to identify and respond to an active and passive panicked drowning persons
  • Finding blackout diver on surface
  • Demonstrate how to remove an injured person from the water

Open water

  • Recovery breathing and coaching for buddy
  • Emergency rescue and problem management (rescue scenarios), surface and underwater as a Safety Team, including LMC, blackout at surface and underwater
  • Act as primary, secondary, on-deck, clutch, and timekeeper in deep recreational, training, and competition situations.
  • Perform hands on rescue scenarios for dives up to 60 m/197 ft as a team


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

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


  • PFI Intermediate Freediver certification or equivalent with PFI Intermediate Freediver Crossover Exam
  • Comfortable with intermediate level freediving depths, anywhere from 25-40 m/82-132 ft
  • Static breath-hold time of three minutes or longer
  • Good health and fitness (see Medical Form)
  • 16 years of age with parent/guardian permission

Required equipment

Students must supply:

  • Low-volume mask (fluid goggles and/or nose clip optional)
  • Snorkel
  • Full hooded wetsuit (3 mm for warm water locations; 5-7 mm for cold water locations)
  • Rubber weight belt and weights in .5-1 kg/1-2 lb increments
  • Freediving bi-fins
  • Freediving computer plus an additional waterproof timing device
  • Lanyard (highly recommended, but not required)


PFA Safety Freediver course prices vary by location, but start at $450. 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
  • 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.

Course certifications

After successfully completing this course you’ll receive these certifications:

  • PFI Safety Freediver
Certification cards will be mailed to you address within a week. The level of certification you receive depends on the skills you successfully complete during your course. This ensures that future freediving buddies, pools, boat operators, etc. can accommodate your freediving level and know what level of safety you can provide.

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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