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Specialty Course

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea, yet are known as gentle giants with little known about their activities or population size. Research and monitoring programs are helping fill these knowledge gaps. Learn about whale shark biology, behavior and distribution. During two scuba dives or snorkeling excursions, practice passively observing these large creatures.


The purpose of the PADI Whale Shark Distinctive Specialty Certification is to familiarize student divers with physical characteristics, habitat, and conservation efforts for whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, as well as learning the skills, procedures, techniques and excitement of diving within the environment. This course promotes whale shark conservation by allowing the student diver to closely observe these gentle giants, thereby establishing a stronger emotional connection with them. This connection and the conservation messages presented in the class will inspire the student diver to more actively support and promote whale shark conservation.

This course is intended as a safe, supervised, diving experience with emphasis on safety, excitement, education and conservation.

If you’re a PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver who is at least 12 years old, you can enroll in the AWARE Whale Shark Distinctive Specialty course. Nondiver- snorkelers may participate in the course but will have different certification and in water requirements. 


Upon completing the PADI Whale Shark Distinctive Specialty course the student diver will be able to:

  •  Demonstrate Whale Shark diving skills and procedures, including recognizing and avoiding potential hazards, while making diving among whale sharks safe and fun,

  •  Demonstrate proper diving techniques with an emphasis on buoyancy control needed for diving within the environment among the Whale Sharks

  •  Describe the conservation efforts and values of the Whale Shark program as embodied in the Whale Shark conservation program.

Getting Started

The Sea Turtle Awareness Distinctive Specialty. Stop by your local Aqua Hands Instructors to enroll in the course and start learning about the value of Sea Turtle to marine ecosystems and economies.

AWARE Shark Conservation: Service
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