Handicap Scuba Association diving instruction for divers in and around the Minnesota Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. by Midwest School of Diving in White Bear Lake, MN.HSA Instruction


MidWest School of Diving is the leader and the largest in the upper Midwest; Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota in adaptive diving for individuals with disabilities.  We have 15 instructors to inlcude an instructor trainer certified to approve instructors to work with divers with adaptive needs and 16 Dive Buddies specifically trained for working with disabled students.

Can I Try Adaptive Diving?

As long as you meet the basic medical criteria for scuba, you may try adaptive diving. People with spinal cord injuries, those with hearing loss, vision impairment, autism or mild intellectual disabilities are the most common candidates.  Not sure if adaptive diving is right for you; give us a call to discuss your specific needs!

Training With the HSA

The HSA philosophy of diving emphasizes the importance of the collaboration and interaction between divers with disabilities, their instructors, and their dive buddies.

​​Dive Buddy Training With the HSA

The Dive Buddy Course (DBC) is offered to divers who are already certified as open water scuba divers by a recognized training organization and who have logged at least twenty open water dives prior to taking the DBC. The DBC is an abridged version of the ITC taken by HSA dive instructors.

Scuba Diver Training With the HSA

The HSA wants to certify safe, knowledgeable, happy divers. To this end, their training program is demanding. Divers are expected to attempt the same skills Scuba certifying agencies demands of its able-bodied dive students.

Aside from rigor, what sets the HSA program apart is pacing and methodology. Skills are taught at a pace appropriate for individual students. If a student cannot complete a task in the same way their able bodied counterparts might, they are encouraged to take time and work with their dive instructors to find different ways to accomplish each skill. If an independent method can’t be found, divers may be certified to dive with specially trained dive buddies. As long as the diver and their buddies are in no special physical danger, dive training and certification will progress until the diver has obtained their certification goal.

Scuba Diver Certification With the HSA

In order to ensure the safety of the entire dive team, the HSA uses a multilevel certification system.

Level A: Level A divers have met all of the requirements necessary to become open water scuba divers, including a demonstrated ability to help another diver in distress. They require no additional assistance underwater and may dive with a buddy who has no specialized training. Often, divers certified at this level are certified as PADI or SDI open water divers with no restrictions.

Level B: Level B divers have met the requirements to become open water scuba divers with the exception of the ability to assist other divers in times of distress. To compensate, Level B divers must dive with two buddies, both of whom are certified at Level A, or certified open water divers by recognized, outside dive organizations.

Level C: Level C divers require more specialized assistance while diving. Like Level B divers, Level C divers require two buddies whenever they dive. Due to the additional challenges faced by Level C divers, at least one of the dive buddies on their team must be an HSA trained dive buddy, or, at least a certified rescue diver. The other buddy must be, at minimum, certified as a Level A diver.

Click Here for current course offerings from Midwest School of Diving.


Personal instruction, Excellent price

Personal instruction, equipment they used was fairly new and well maintained.  We liked the instructor, explained everything so that we could understand...very patient with the students.  Excellent price for the open water course.

- Dakota, Minneapolis, MN


Boy Scouts of America can earn their Scuba Diving Merrit Badge at the MidWest School of Diving in White Bear Lake, MN, a suburb of the Twin Cities of MInneapolis and St. Paul.