Scientific diving is a normal part of oceanographic research vessel operations. Such diving conducted from a University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) vessel must be under the auspices of a diving program that meets the minimum American Academy of Underwater Sciences’ (AAUS) Standards for Scientific Diving Certification and Operation of Scientific Diving Programs. Operators without a program may accommodate scientific diving cruises, which are under the auspices of an institution with such a diving program.
The American Academy of Underwater Sciences Standards for Scientific Diving www.aaus.org/downloads/aausstandards.pdf.
As required by AAUS Standards, a single lead institution’s campus diving administration will be designated for all cruises requiring diving. This is usually accomplished by the agreement of all campus diving administrations involved. Items in the AAUS Standards, which refer to the campus diving administration, may be the concern of the Diving Safety Officer according to the practices of the institutions involved. The procedures, rules and regulations that govern the diving operation are those of the designated lead institution, subject to the approval of the operator’s Marine Office.
See required by RVSS below.
All UNOLS vessels will comply with the AAUS “standard”.
The Principal Investigator will prepare and supply a cruise dive plan to his or her campus diving administration who will forward the cruise plan, once approved, to the lead institution’s campus diving administration and the Chief Scientist. The dive plan, prepared in a standard format, includes: diving credentials for all diving members of the scientific party, detailed operational plans, emergency plans including accident management and emergency evacuation protocols, a list of needed medical supplies, a specified quantity of medical grade oxygen with a positive pressure demand delivery system and required diving support equipment (i.e. small boats and tank racks).
The lead institution’s diving administration will, after approving this plan, forward it to the operator’s Marine Office one month prior to the cruise.
The Master has responsibility for the safety of all activities aboard including diving. The Master should ensure that appropriate safety procedures are in place for conducting research diving from the vessel or it’s small boats including but not limited to ensuring that high powered acoustics sources are turned off, potentially hazardous over-board discharges are secured, propellers and bow-thrusters are not turning with divers in the vicinity and that proper notifications and signals are made.
The Chief Scientist is responsible for the coordination and execution of the entire scientific mission including the research diving plans and certifications.
The Principal Investigator of the diving project (who may or may not be the Chief Scientist) is responsible for the planning and co-ordination of the research diving operations.
The On-Board Diving Supervisor will be proposed by the Principal Investigator and approved by the lead institution’s diving administration. The On-Board Diving Supervisor is responsible for the execution of the research diving operations in accord with the cruise dive plan. He or she has the authority to restrict or suspend diving operations and alter the cruise dive plan in consultation with the Master, Principal Investigator/Chief Scientist and lead Dive Safety Officer when possible. The On-Board Diving Supervisor’s responsibilities include:
It is important to ensure that the placement of the air intake for any compressor used for breathable air on board a vessel is made with regards to the location of the vessel’s exhaust systems and how it may change with the wind.
Other “in-the-water” research activities such as small boat operations, swimming or snorkeling should be treated similarly to diving operations. At the very least a statement of the qualifications and physical ability to undertake the planned operations and a plan of operations detailing safety precautions should be provided and approved by the ship operator.
Research divers must also recognize their individual responsibility for their safety.