AWARE - Fish Identification

Have you ever been scuba diving and asked yourself, “What was that?”

The PADI Project AWARE Fish Identification Specialty course provides you with the fish identification basics so that next time, you’ll know the answer.

Musky vs Pike
Crappie vs Rock Bass

You’ll find you enjoy your dives even more when you recognize the creatures that you see. The fun part about this course is you can use the skills you learn on every scuba diving vacation because once you learn the main fish families and characteristics it will help you decipher the species you see all over the world.

For example, a butterfly fish in the Caribbean has a similar shape to a butterfly fish in Southeast Asia, but their colors and markings maybe wildly different. If you know what fish family it belongs to, it becomes much easier to look up the local name or at least be able to intelligently ask the local scuba instructor what you saw. That works better than asking about a “yellow thingy with a funny tail fin.”

AWARE - Fish Identification Prerequisites

In order to qualify for the AWARE - Fish Identification course you must:

  1. Be at least 10 years old
  2. Be a PADI Open Water Diver, Junior Open Water Diver, or equivalent

AWARE - Fish Identification Course Details

The AWARE - Fish Identification Course consists of 2 phases:

  1. Knowledge Development
  2. Open Water Dives (2)

These phases are detailed in the sections below.

Monkey Practicing Fish Identification

1. Knowledge Development

The knowledge development phase for the AWARE - Fish Identification course starts with a classroom session where you will be shown a brief presentation and you will also receive a set of freshwater fish identification cards to be used for your training. These cards will provide colorful illustrations of common freshwater fish you are likely to observe on your open water dives.

In addition, AWARE’s Our World Our Water includes a section on identifying reef fish based on body shape and habitat. You’ll also learn about marine life indigenous to tidal zones, polar regions, kelp forests, and wetlands. Our World Our Water also includes a five page glossary of terminology used by marine biologists.

Visit Project AWARE Foundation to download your copy today.

Largemouth vs Smallmouth Bass

2. Open Water Dives

With your knowledge reviews completed, it’s time to get hands-on learning in a real diving environment like Lake Mendota, Devil’s Lake, or Lake Wazee.

During two dives you gain hands-on (okay, eyes-on) experience in looking for and identifying the fascinating fish you see underwater. You’ll learn :

  1. How to practice fish identification dive planning, organization and procedures
  2. How to identify characteristics of local fish families and species
  3. Fish survey techniques and strategies
Fish Identification Cards

Special Equipment

Although no special gear is required for this course, the following items are recommended if you would like to apply the skills from this course on future dives:

  1. Ident-I-Card Fish Identification Cards
  2. Dive slate

The Paperwork

Once you have completed your PADI Aware Fish Identification dives you will fill out your certification paperwork, take your photo, and get your temporary certification cards.

Within 2 weeks (typically closer to 1 week) you will have your lifetime certification for PADI Aware Fish Identification.

Course Price Includes Everything You Need (No Hidden Costs)

  1. Training and certification
  2. Rental equipment - standard and specialty gear
  3. Air fills for all dives

Required Forms for Training

  1. PADI Continuing Education Form - combines Safe Diving Practices, Liability Release and Medical Statement forms into one convenient form for continuing education.

AquaMunkee Scuba is a PADI training facility, focused on the PADI approach to diver education and also offering training through the related organizations DSAT/Tec Rec and Emergency First Response.