Essentials of Side Mount Diving


  • Become a thinking diver
  • Learn to stay in full control
  • Standardize your future as a diver
  • The course that will change you forever
  • Include the side mount materials


Essentials of Side Mount Diving

Become a “Thinking Side Mount Diver”

The UTD Essentials of Side Mount Diving course is a point of entry for many certified divers and is the prerequisite for many recreational UTD classes. The UTD Essentials classes give every diver an opportunity to learn the personal diving skills needed to participate in a unified team, and be safe and in control while in the water finning around as a DIR “thinking diver.”

First up is breathing which leads to buoyancy. Precise buoyancy, combined with a horizontal trim position, is the hallmark for a good Scuba Diver, 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 (frog-kick, modified frog-kick, modified flutter-kick, helicopter turn, and back-kick) that eliminate silting and increase your control, allowing you to move both forward and backward. Other skills include proper air sharing procedures called S-drills, team protocols, SMB usage, Rock Bottom gas planning, Ratio Deco 3.0 ascent strategies, and much more.

UTD Essentials of Side Mount is designed to introduce divers in the world of DIR Diving (Doing It Right) while using a side mount system that is compatible with divers in back mount singles and doubles, and cultivates the core techniques required by all sound diving practices, regardless of level or environment. Essentials of Side Mount Diving acts as a bridge between conventional training and UTD’s more demanding curriculum. If you would like to also learn about the use of a twinset and the manipulation of a deco/stage cylinder, then the Essentials of Tech program is for you.

Essentials of Side Mount Diving is normally conducted over a 3-day period combining theory lectures, practical (in-water) sessions, and video debriefings.

The course material also includes a parts list for the UTD side mount system and video on how to set up the system.


  • Minimum 16 years of age.
  • Must be a certified open water diver from a recognized training agency
  • Completed UTD online registration process
  • Completed The UTD Essentials Online course
  • All UTD classes are Non Smoking
  • 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.

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 Side Mount Diving is where students receive the foundation of UTD/DIR philosophy, configuration, and in-water skills. The class is designed for any diver that wants to learn about the benefits of UTD and apply them to their diving. The class is not only 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 and 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.

Class Information

All UTD classes are filmed 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 Side Mount Diving” Certification. Our focus is the complete dedication to your diving skills, knowledge and in-water comfort, and control.