Are There Freediving Courses?

Are There Freediving Courses?

Yes! There are many Freediving courses, located all over the world! Not only are Freediving courses the greatest way to learn, but there are many different organisations to choose from!

It is possible to teach yourself how to Freedive, but taking a specialist Freediving course is highly recommended to ensure you get the best training possible. 

Freediving courses can teach you the required techniques to maximise your performance, in addition to ensuring you are practising the sport safely and responsibly!

Specialist courses, therefore, minimise possible chances of risks!

So what Freediving courses are there? What do Freediving courses teach students? In this article, we will get stuck into the following:

  • What Freediving Courses Are There? 
  • What Do Freediving Courses Teach?
  • What Freediving Course Is Right For Me?

Lets Dive In!

What Freediving Courses Are There?

There are many different types of Freediving courses, within different associations. For Example, there are:

  • Introductory Courses
  • Level 1-4 Courses
  • Specialities such as Monofin, Competition and Safety
  • Instructor Courses
  • Instructor Trainer Courses

Some example organisations Include AIDA, PADI and SSI… (Just to name a few!)

First, we shall have a look at AIDA! 

Freediver swimming above a whale shark


AIDA- International Association for the Development of Apnea, is the globally recognised Association for Freediving. AIDA has numerous educational courses, including AIDA 1, AIDA 2, AIDA 3 and AIDA 4.

This organisation ensures the safe and competitive practice of Apnea (which is the action of suspension of breath). For all of AIDA’s Freediving courses, the minimum age requirement is 18, or 16/17 with guardian consent.

AIDA 1 is an introduction to Freediving, where the student will learn the basics of Freediving, such as relaxation skills, duck diving, and equalisation. A prerequisite of this course is to be able to swim at least 100m non-stop. 

Right from the beginning, Freedivers are taught how to relax their mind, body and focus on their breathing. Freediving relies on total relaxation as you sink into the silent depths of the ocean!

“Freediving is about silence…the silence that comes from within.” – Jacques Mayol

After successfully completing AIDA 1, students can move on to AIDA 2. This is known as “Freediver”, which takes things a little further!

Firstly in Confined Water, skills are learnt and improved, which are then put to practice in Open Water sessions!

As Students climb the levels of AIDA, new techniques are introduced, such as Freefalling, Frenzel Equalising and training common disciplines in AIDA 3- Advanced Freediver. 

Disciplines are further developed, dry lessons improve breathing abilities, and knowledge and use of open water equipment are learnt within AIDA 4- Master Freediver.

Freedivers can continue to advance through levels 1-4, then enrol on specialist courses such as AIDA Monofin Freediver, AIDA Competition Freediver, AIDA Competition Safety Freediver and AIDA Judge. 

Not all of these specialist courses require all four levels of AIDA Freediving. For example, AIDA Monofin Freediver needs students to have completed at least AIDA 2, and AIDA Competition Safety Freediver requires AIDA 3.

Flexibility with courses is perfect for those Freedivers who become satisfied with their level, but would like to dip their toe into some specialities!

Many Freedivers swim through all certifications and enjoy it so much that they want the qualifications to teach the Freediving courses themselves! Having completed AIDA 4 and a First Aid Course, students can enrol in the AIDA Instructor Course. 

Instructor Courses are the perfect way to turn your passion into a Part or Full-time job!

Teaching the sport you love to others is an incredible feeling. You are sharing your passion and joy!


PADI is an Internationally Recognised Professional Association of Diving Instructors, both Scuba Diving and Freediving. PADI offers Freediving courses, from Beginner through to Instructor Trainer!

PADI Freediver is the first introductory course for those who want to give Freediving a try! This course has an age requirement of 15 years and over, with no prior experience whatsoever!

With no experience needed, The PADI Freediver Course is available to everyone!

For young budding Freedivers under the age of 15, PADI has the PADI Basic Freediver offered for those 12 years and over, and PADI Skin Diver for 8 years and over. 

Just like with AIDA courses, PADI offers the opportunity for Freedivers to gain higher certifications, access specialist training and push their abilities to the limit!

After the introductory Freediving course, Freedivers who fall in love with the sport and want to take it further can enrol in Advanced Freediver! 

Within this course, Freediving knowledge is developed, Static and Dynamic Apnea goals are pushed, and Free Immersion and Constant Weight Open Water Freediving are practised!

Have you ever gone snorkelling and dived down a couple of meters?

With this course, the goal is to reach a Constant Weight Freedive of 20 meters! Wouldn’t that be an incredible achievement?!

Students who have achieved these goals but still have a burning desire to advance, wait…PADI has more for you!

Enrolling in the Master Freediver, you can expect to continue to push your physical and mental abilities to the limit! 

I know, it sounds difficult! But remember, with all that hard work, comes incredible rewards!

Freediver swimming on her back looking up

Through the development of nutrition, relaxation and breathing techniques, this course aims to achieve Static Apnea for 3 minutes, 70 meters of Dynamic Apnea and an incredible 32 Metres of Constant Weight Freediving!

Freediving to 32 Meters is a brilliant accomplishment! This depth is even deeper than most Recreational Advanced Scuba Divers! All in one single breath!

For many Freedivers, achieving their Master Freediver is enough to allow them to continue to practice, push themselves and enjoy the mental, physical and social benefits of this sport! 

For others, the enjoyment and passion for Freediving act as fuel for their ambition to become Freediving Instructors! 

PADI offers many opportunities for Professional Divers, such as Freediver Instructor, Advanced Freedive Instructor and even Master Freediver Instructor

Freediver Instructor Trainer is also a fantastic course, developing the next generation of Freediving Instructors!

As you can see above, PADI has an extensive list of courses, allowing everyone to reach their highest potential!


SSI is another globally recognised Professional Diver Organisation. SSI provides a fantastic set of Freediving courses, carefully designed to improve your skills and confidence, from beginner through to Instructor level!

The Try Freediving Course and SSI Basic Freediving Course are perfect for those of you who are interested in Freediving and would like to give it a try! These courses are optional introductory courses, ideal for students who would like to take things a little slower. 

Do you have that burning desire to try something new and you want to jump straight in? 

For those adventure seekers out there who are ready to start their Freediving journey, the Freediving Level 1 is a great place to start! This course teaches all the necessary skills, such as breathing techniques, mind control and recovery breathing. 

Once certified, Level 1 Freedivers can Freedive with a buddy up to 20m in Open Water! 

The SSI Freediving programme advances from Level 1 to Freediver Level 2 and Freediver Level 3

Just like PADI and AIDA, SSI offers specialist Freediving Courses such as Free Immersion, MonoFin, Variable Weight and even No Fins Freediving!

What Do Freediving Courses Teach?

Freediving Courses contain a mixture of Theory, Dry sessions, Confined water and Open water sessions. These sessions will teach how to relax on the surface, the physiology behind breath-holding, how to Freedive safely and techniques to improve your depth!

I know what you’re thinking! Theory sessions do not sound very intriguing! But actually, learning the physiology behind how Freedivers can maximise their breath-hold is quite interesting!

Theory sessions are the bread and butter of Freediving.

Getting down with the basics provides students with the knowledge and skills required to progress and push themselves safely!

Dry Sessions contain a lot of breathing practice, and this is where courses teach about the dangers of hyperventilation and why you should never do this before Freediving! (It can increase the likeliness of blackouts!)

a woman and man practicing breathing techniques

Pool sessions are where the learning really starts to kick in, putting all the theoretical knowledge into practice! After some swim tests, breathing is practised, and then static and dynamic breath holds are put to the test! 

Freediving Instructors teach how to enter and exit breath holds, streamline swimming, how to be a perfect buddy and rescue techniques!

Although it is an unwritten rule, Freedivers should never dive alone! While Freediving, a buddy should be watching over you at all times, ready to assist in the unlikely case of a blackout or First Aid incident. 

Having completed all the training above, Courses are then taken into the Open Water! As you practice breathing and duck diving, another important aspect will come into play. Equalising!

When Freediving in the Open water, you can dive down much deeper than in most training pools. This is where the pressure starts to build up with depth and equalising is essential!

Equalising your ears is crucial within all types of diving, to equalise the pressure of the water against your eardrums!

The lessons taught within a Freediving course depend on the level of the course itself. As Freedivers progress through the stages and improve their abilities, the training gets harder and more challenging!

But who does not love a good challenge? Because I sure do!

What Freediving Course Is Right For Me?

Beginners can jump right into any entry-level Freediving course, with little to no required experience required! Most Freediving certifications are globally recognised and accepted.

Although Freediving courses do not require experience, most courses request a demonstration of your swimming ability. For example, swimming 100m without stopping. 

In addition to being able to swim 100m, Freediving courses have minimum age requirements. However, there are generally introduction courses available for children, with the approval from a guardian. 

Organisations such as AIDA, SSI and PADI are globally recognised and certifications from all will be accepted in most Dive Centers around the world!

However, if you change organisations halfway through your Freediving journey, you might be asked to do a Crossover Evaluation before completing the next course.

This is nothing to worry about, it is just a little test, to ensure everything has been taught and the instructor is satisfied with your level. 

For example, if you have completed SSI Level 1 and 2, but you wanted to complete the AIDA 3 Advanced Freediver, there might be some more hoops you have to jump through compared to having completed AIDA 1 and AIDA 2 beforehand!

Freediver swimming through a ring of air underwater

Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!

Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.

Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:


Diver Alert Network (DAN)

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Final Thoughts

Freediving is a highly inclusive sport, with numerous Organisations providing challenging and highly recommended courses. 

There are courses for everyone, from complete beginners to Instructor trainers! 

Whatever goal you would like to achieve within Freediving, there is an Instructor out there ready to push you mentally and physically, fine-tuning your skills and abilities!

What are you waiting for?

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Bethany Nyquist

Bethany is a writer, an Environmental Scientist and Dive Master, exploring the underwater world. Practising Underwater Photography, Bethany aims to raise awareness for and help protect marine life.

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