Recreational Diver 3 is a no-decompression/minimum deco Helitrox course structured to prepare divers for deeper recreational diving using proper equipment, diving techniques and a standard helium breathing mix. 

Rec 3 focuses on expanding the Essentials Essentials of Tech and the Rec 2 skills and is designed to cultivate, integrate and expand those skills required for safe deeper recreational diving. This includes problem identification, management and resolution and building the capacity for progressively more challenging diving.  

Day 3 The third day will commence with 2 experience dives to a max depth of 130', using 25/25, where students will plan and conduct the dives under the supervision of an instructor.  These dives they will again be video'd for subsequent review

The class will then conclude with video review, final lecture session, test and student performance review. 

All UTD classes are video'd for educational and review purposes as we believe this is invaluable for students to visually focus on their individual in-water skills and situational awareness. You will be evaluated during the class to obtain the UTD Recreational 3 certification. This certification will allow you to dive within the certification limits, use helium as a recreational diver and is the completion of the recreational curricula. If you wish to continue, Rec 3 will allow you to continue into the UTD Technical Training curriculum.

Our focus is the complete dedication to your diving skills, knowledge & in water practice.

To help prepare for the rigors ahead, contact us


Minimum 18 years of age

UTD Rec 2, or Intro to Tech and Nitrox, or equivalent

Minimum of 50 dives beyond open water certification, 25 of which must be non-training dives

Overview/Course limits

Maximum depth is 130’.  Average depth on skills dives 60-100'

All dives are to maintain a working PO2 of no greater than 1.4

Standard gas is Nitrox 32% and Helitrox 25/25

Single or Double tank configuration (Doubles preferred)

No overhead environments

Instructor to student ratio maximum 6:1 in open water, during land drill, surface exercises and experience dives but 3:1 during any direct in-water critical skills training.


Complete the UTD academic materials (online or book)

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

All participants must tow a diver in full equipment, in the environment they will be diving in at least 400 yards in 16 minutes

All participants must demonstrate a rescue of a diver simulating oxygen toxicity

Required Equipment UTD Technical Equipment Configuration

See our Equipment Requirements Page

Rentals are available for most equipment. If you have any questions on equipment requirements or rentals, please contact us prior to registering.

This is a critical skills class.  Failures will be introduced by the instructor to facilitate problem identification and resolution and building capacity and bandwidth for more progressively challenging diving.

In this class, students will be trained in the use of single or double back gas tanks/cylinders and the potential failures associated with them,  the use of Nitrox and Helitrox for extended bottom times, and the use of helium to minimize narcosis, CO2, gas density and post dive “nitrogen stress.”

This is an NDL/minimum deco class preparing a diver for depths to 130’/39m without accelerated decompression procedures.

Who is this class designed for?

The Rec 3 class is a learning environment where the students will build upon their foundation of Essentials, Essentials of Tech and/or Recreational level 2 or equivalent.  The class is designed for the recreational diver who wants to learn the final step in recreational diving without moving into deco bottles or staged decompression, technical, or overhead environments. 

In other words those who want to stay within recreational diving limits of 130'/39m, but want to use both doubles (single tanks are allowed, though doubles are encouraged) and enriched mixtures of helium (Helitrox 25/25) and are not afraid of doing a minimum amount of deco.

It's geared towards those who have taken Essentials or Essentials of Tech and/or the Rec 2 and now want the next step in applying the UTD foundation and principles into their deeper recreational diving practices to increase both safety and fun.

Why this class?

As the previous recreational classes have focused on the foundational building blocks, some experience skills, using single tanks and nitrox to a limit of 100'/30m, many recreational divers now want to start extending their range beyond 100'/30m and want to ensure they learn the next set of skills to safely explore this territory.

This class is an excellent step for someone wanting to learn how to properly and safely dive using doubles and helium between 100' - 130'/ without carrying deco or stage bottles and without going into staged decompression diving.

Class Information

The Rec 3 class is designed to be taught over a 3 day period with 6 dives.

Day 1 - Typically, the class begins with a 3 - 4 hour initial session consisting of introductions and a power point presentation including video of the skills to be performed throughout the class, the “dry runs” of the skills and some practice before entering the water. Dry runs allow the student to practice the skills on land, before entering the water, under the watchful eye of the instructor(s). Skills reviewed are diver trim, proficiency and precision buoyancy control, perfecting propulsion techniques (including back kick), underwater communication, utilizing a team diving approach, valve drills, S-drills, ascent drills, SMB deployment, rescue diver techniques as well as effective dive planning. Students will then conduct 2 dives with a max depth of 60'/18m putting the skills and concepts learned in the morning session into actual practice while the videographer captures the in-water session for review. We conclude the day with a 1-2 hour video review. 


Day 2 - Begins with more dry runs. Skills include simulated SMB failures, OOA emergencies, simulated valve failures, team separation, mid-water ascents, ascent line use and separation and minimum deco procedures. Students will then conduct 2 dives with a max depth of 100'/24m while putting the skills and concepts learned in the dry-run session into actual practice while the videographer captures the in-water session for review. We conclude the day with a 1-2 hour video review followed by a 3 hour lecture covering Nitrox and Helitrox, gas planning, dive planning, min deco procedures, emergency planning and contingencies.

This class is designed for those individuals who want to learn by doing, not just thinking. With an emphasis on practical, in-water training through development and simulation dives as well as experience dives, where the divers will plan, perform and execute their own technical dives under the supervision of the instructor, this class builds safe, competent and skilled divers.

For those intimidated by or wanting a better understanding of the monster of decompression, we start at the very beginning and work slowly and carefully to our present understanding.

The end result?  Competent and knowledgeable tech divers who understand how to properly plan and perform technical dives in their range of training using helitrox 25/25 and 100% oxygen for accelerated decompression using ratio deco.