Some of the coolest parts of scuba diving are the countless sea creatures we’re able to drift with.

Have you ever wondered: what’s the hand signal for that marine animal?  Have you ever asked yourself:  what’s that fish?

Taking the PADI AWARE Fish Identification Specialty can turn an average diving experience into an incredible one.

There’s a sense of satisfaction that accompanies identifying a fish.  Knowing the name of a sea creature is like solving a mystery.  Sharing that information with other divers makes you a teacher.  Having this capability brings us closer to the ocean.  When we can identify something, we can understand it better.

Taking the Fish Identification Specialty is the first step in becoming a marine creature pro.  Be the diver with the answers when someone wants to know what they saw underwater.

Image courtesy Mike Scott.


The fish is long and thin.  Its body has a yellowish-brown hue.  Iridescent blue spots line its back.  The fish hovers motionless for one second, then darts away with lightning speed.  It moves swiftly through the water, weaving between gorgonians and barrel sponges.  What could it be?

Surface-side, you talk with your dive buddy.  Neither one of you has seen that fish before.  You attempt to describe it to the other divers on board, but no one can identify the mystery fish.

Pick up a Reef Smart dive site guide at the shop to learn what underwater animals you are likely to encounter during your dive, or grab a Reefcomber’s Guide to identify your favorite fishes.

Post-dive, you search through a fish ID chart, searching for a picture that resembles the strange creature you saw underwater.  You browse through odd-shaped swimmers until…there!  The mystery fish stares back at you.  It’s called a Bluespotted Cornetfish.  They’re relatively uncommon here in Florida, so you feel lucky to have seen one.

The next time you see a Cornetfish on a dive, you identify it long before you surface.  Instead of wondering what it is, you study its behavior.  This time, you notice the long filaments trailing from its tail.  Your fascination for the creature and its behavior grows.

Gaining knowledge and understanding allows us to appreciate the ocean on a deeper level.  Find out what the Fish Identification Specialty is all about.

Image courtesy Wayne Brown.


Learn how to recognize different fish species over the course of two dives.  Soak up fish identification knowledge and information.  Dive in to learn the following:

  • How to identify traits and characteristics of various fish species and families
  • Different approaches and techniques for conducting fish surveys
  • Conservation practices from Project AWARE that aim to protect aquatic life


Divers need to be:

Could you identify the different fish in the pictures of this article?  Or did you find yourself asking:  wait a second… what’s that fish?

Learn more about the fish species we encounter underwater.  Dive below.  Discover what lives in the depths.  Enroll in the PADI AWARE Fish Identification Specialty.  Become the diver with the answers.


Ready to sign up?  Contact us at or call 561-840-8750 for more information.