Essentials of Rec – Back Mount


Become a “Thinking Diver.”

The Essentials of Recreational Diving course is the point of entry for all certified divers and is the certified divers’ prerequisite for all other recreational UTD classes (except Rec 1). Essentials of Rec gives every diver an opportunity to learn the personal skills needed to participate in a unified team and be in the water as a “thinking diver.”  

The Essentials of Recreational Diving course gives every diver an opportunity to learn the personal skills needed to participate in a unified team and be in the water as a “thinking diver.”

First up is buoyancy. Precise buoyancy, combined with a horizontal trim position, is the hallmark of control in the water You’ll learn to effortlessly hold your position in the water, which leads to the next set of skills: propulsion, where you’ll learn five different kicks that eliminate silting and increase your control, allowing you to move both forward and backward. Other skills include proper air sharing procedures, team protocols, gas planning, ascent strategies, and much more.

This class is the point of entry for all previously certified divers and is the prerequisite for all other recreational UTD classes (except UTD Rec 1). Essentials of Rec is designed to cultivate the core techniques required by all sound diving practice, regardless of level or environment. Essentials of Recreational Diving acts as a bridge between conventional training and UTD’s more demanding curriculum.

Essentials of Recreational Diving is normally conducted over a 3-day period combining lecture, practical (in-water) sessions and video debriefings,  



  • Minimum 16 years of age.
  • Must be a certified open water diver from a recognized training agency.

Course limits

  • Maximum depth is 60’/18m
  • Standard gas is Air (21% O2)
  • No stage decompression
  • No overhead environments

Who this class is designed for?

The Essentials of Recreational Diving is where students receive the foundation of UTD philosophy, configuration and in-water skills. The class is designed for any diver that wants to learn about the benefits of UTD and apply it to their diving. The class is geared toward the newly certified open water diver, but even seasoned veteran  divers have found that by incorporating UTD principles into their diving practices, they increase both safety and fun. Photographers and videographers will especially appreciate the detailed training in propulsion & precision buoyancy control that assists you in getting that perfect shot! Instructors will appreciate the “fresh look” at diver training and skill development. This is a great first step towards learning and understanding the Unified Team Diving approach.

Why Should I Take this Class?

Regardless of your experience level, UTD philosophy allows you to grow as a diver. Some divers are eager to begin incorporating the increased skill and academic demands of UTD but do not have the desire to become deep technical divers. This class is tailor made for a new open water diver who wants to know what skills they need to work on, or for the diver new to UTD who wants to learn more without the burden of passing a class. This class serves as an excellent introduction to UTD, and is perfect for someone who wants to start Recreational training in more advanced UTD classes.

Essentials Class Information

The Essentials of Recreational Diving class is designed to be taught over a three day period with a minimum of four dives.

Day 1. Typically the class begins with a 3 – 4 hour initial session consisting of introductions, a power point presentation including video tape of the skills to be introduced in the class.

Day 2. Begins with hands-on equipment fitting, review of gear configuration and a discussion of the pros and cons of various equipment choices. Once the gear in properly fit and configured the class then focuses on the “dry runs” of the skills and some practice before entering the water. Dry runs allow the student to practice the skills on land under the watchful eye of the instructor(s). Skills include improving diver trim, proficiency in precision buoyancy control, perfecting propulsion techniques (including learning how to kick backwards), fine-tuning equipment configurations, refining underwater communication, utilizing a team diving approach, and effective dive planning. Students will then conduct two (2) dives putting the skills and concepts learned in the morning session into actual practice while the videographer captures the in-water session for review after lunch. We conclude the day with a 1-2 hour video review.

Day 3. The third day will commence with practicing additional skills and improving on the prior days performance, during two (2) more dives which will again be videotaped for subsequent review. After lunch the class will conclude with the video review, final lecture session and student performance review.

All UTD classes are videotaped for educational and review purposes only.  We believe it is invaluable for students to visually focus on their individual in-water skills, situational awareness, communication, and team diving. Learning to self evaluate is an important aspect of the class. You will be evaluated during the class to obtain the UTD “Essentials of Recreational Diving” Certification. This Certification will allow you to continue within the UTD Recreational Training curriculum. Our focus is the complete dedication to your diving skills, knowledge & in water practice.


  • Minimum age of 18
  • Completed UTD registration process
  • Complete the Essentials Online Knowledge Base Class
  • Open water certification
  • All UTD classes are Non Smoking
  • The use of prescription drugs must be authorized prior to the onset of diver training by a physician
  • Must be able to swim a distance of at least 50 feet/15 meters on a breath hold.
  • Must be able to swim at least 300 yards/275 meters in less than 14 minutes without stopping.

Getting Started

o    Check the schedule of classes in your area
o    Register Online
o  Complete the online Knowledge Base course for Essentials of Recreational Diving
o    Get a copy and review the “Essentials of Recreational Diving DVD”


  • Average depth during class of 20ft (6m) – 30ft (9m).
  • Single tank configuration
  • Long hose primary, and necklace style backup regulator hose configuration
  • Instructor to student ratio maximum 6:1 in open water, adjusting downward for environmental conditions.

Equipment Specifications

UTD equipment configuration is designed to be simple, efficient, and consistent. To get the most from your class it is advisable that you take the course in a complete UTD style system. You do not have to own any UTD equipment. You can rent you all the equipment (even the back plate and wing if necessary.) To better assist you in preparing for class, we have listed below our required and suggested equipment lists for the class.

Required Equipment:

o    5 or 7 ft. Primary Regulator Hose. Without this you will not be able to learn and conduct air sharing correctly.
o    Fins: non-split variety. Without these you will be unable to learn proficient fin kicks.

Recommended Equipment:

o    Back plate BC System, SS or Aluminum Back plate w/ web harness and hardware
o    Back inflate style wing
o    At least one depth-measuring device
o    At least one time-keeping device
o    At least one cutting device
o    X-notes or Wetnotes
o    One spool with 100 feet of line
o    One surface marker or lift bag
o    Exposure suit appropriate for the environment you will be diving in

Suggested Accessories (not required, just nice if available for you): 

  • BC mounted canister dive light w/ Goodman handle or long hose catch such as a knife pouch.

Cylinders: Single tank configuration with K, H, or Y valve (need 2 per day of diving)

o    Double tank configuration (1 per day of diving)
o    No stage or decompression bottle is necessary for this class.