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Diver Duties

Dive Roster

The NOAA Dive Center (NDC) publishes and distributes a monthly dive roster to all NOAA dive units and ships. The roster lists the active divers in the unit/ship and includes the following individual data:

  • Unit
  • UDS
  • Name
  • Certification Level
  • Last Dive Date
  • Physical Due Date
  • Authorization

The roster is used to determine individual diver’s status and authorization to dive. The roster reflects all diver information at NDC for the date of issue. Any data received after the issue date will appear on the next roster. When unit/ship records differ from the roster, current information is available daily from NDC.

Diver Categories
Diver Status Policy
Scientific Certification
Diving at NOAA Units


Diver Categories

Divers are cataloged in the NDP Diver Database under two separate groups, active and inactive.

ACTIVE DIVERS - appear on unit /ship rosters and are listed under two categories:

a. Authorized

(1) The diver is active and meets the following criteria:

(a) Certified NOAA diver by NDP
(b) Diving physical examination requirements completed and on file with NDP
(c) Diving activity recent (within six weeks) and logged with NDP.

b. Not Authorized

(1) The diver's certification is temporarily suspended

(2) The diver has been active, but has allowed one of the following criteria to lapse:

(a) Diving physical examination (out of date)
(b) Diving activity (two or more months without a dive).
(3) The diver will regain authorization upon completion of the lapsed item and a checkout dive with the diver’s Unit Diving Supervisor or designee.

Active, authorized divers may conduct dives commensurate with their certification level. They are eligible for and receive SEP equipment. Active, not authorized divers may not complete dives or receive SEP equipment.

INACTIVE DIVER - does not appear on the unit/ship roster.

a. Not Authorized
The diver has been temporarily or permanently removed from the active roster due to:

Temporary:

(a) Lack of program need
(b) Job transfer or illness
(c) Seasonal diving activity
(d) Other temporary conditions

(1) The diver has returned all government issued equipment (SEP)

(2) The diver intends to return to Active status.

Permanent:

(1) The diver plans no further participation in the NDP due to:

(a) Physical disqualification
(b) Termination of employment
(c) Lack of desire to participate on the part of the diver.

(2) The diver has returned all government issued equipment (SEP)


Diver Status Policy

Divers are moved between the active and inactive categories upon request of a Unit Diving Supervisor (UDS) or ship Divemaster to the NOAA Diving Center. It is the responsibility of the dive supervisor to monitor unit divers and move individuals between categories according to unit/ship needs and diver activity. The Director, NOAA Diving Program, will remove a diver from the active list when dive activity and/or diving physical lapses for a period of six (6) months.

Divers will receive the following official letters from the DNDP notifying them of their status:

NOT AUTHORIZED
Sent when a diver has not performed a dive in ten (10) weeks.
Sent when a dive physical is two (2) months past due.

SUSPENSION LETTERS
Sent when diving activity is at a lapse of six (6) months since last dive or when a diving physical is six (6) months past due.


Scientific Certification

The NOAA Diving Program now has a Scientific Diver certification level. This level was created to allow NOAA and non-NOAA individuals to attain NOAA certification without completing a Working Diver training. The policy and procedures for attaining this certification are outlined in the NOAA diving regulations (NAO 209-123).

A scientific diver is restricted to specific tasks in NOAA as outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) title 29 section 1910.402. A scientific diver is defined as NOAA and non-NOAA employees and individuals:

    1. Who are scientists and scientists in-training.
    2. Who are capable of and are in fact using scientific expertise.
    3. Who are engaged in tasks of scientific analysis that are:
      1. Acting as observers of natural phenomena or responses of natural systems.
      2. Acting as data gatherers.
    4. Who are generating non-proprietary information, data, knowledge or other work products available to the public for review.
    5. Who are diving solely as a necessary part of a scientific, research, or educational activity.
    6. Who are using only simple tools (small hammers, measurement devices, cameras, slates/pencils, hand nets, collection jars, etc.) and are completing diving tasks of light duty for short duration.

Scientific divers cannot complete tasks traditionally associated with commercial diving such as; placing or removing heavy objects underwater, inspection of pipelines and similar objects, maintenance, construction and trouble-shooting tasks, demolition, cutting or welding, the use of power tools or explosives.


Diving at NOAA Units

The NOAA Diving Regulations apply to all NOAA employees engaged in underwater activities and to non-NOAA personnel using NOAA diving equipment and/or diving from NOAA owned vessels or facilities. Divers at NOAA units consist of NOAA employees, NOAA contract personnel and volunteers who all must have NOAA or NOAA equivalent certifications. Regardless of the individual’s employment type, all NOAA divers must be NOAA certified, in active/authorized status and assigned to a unit to participate in official diving operations.

There are occasions when individuals from other NOAA units and non-NOAA organizations request to conduct or observe NOAA dive operations. These individuals must attain NOAA certification or be supported through a reciprocity agreement as outlined in the diving regulations.

The following table was developed to assist the diving supervisor in determining who may participate in NOAA activities. The table list NOAA and non-NOAA certifications, diver limitations, dive platforms and requirements that must be completed prior to beginning dive operations.

Certification Boat Diving Shore Diving NOAA Requirements

NOAA WORKING DIVER (or higher)

May dive from NOAA owned or contracted vessels without restrictions.

May dive from NOAA facilities and on NOAA dive projects without restrictions

Proof of NOAA certification and be in active/ authorized status. Status verified by UDS or the NOAA Dive Center.

NOAA SCIENTIFIC DIVER

May dive from NOAA owned or contracted vessels. May only conduct scientific task (data collection & observation).

May dive from NOAA facilities & on NOAA dive projects. May only conduct scientific task (data collection & observation).

Proof of NOAA certification and be in active/authorized status. Status verified by UDS or the NOAA Dive Center.

NOAA TRAINEE DIVER

May dive from NOAA owned or contracted vessels. May only observe operations.

May dive from NOAA facilities & on NOAA dive projects. May only conduct trainee tasks (observation).

Proof of NOAA certification and be in active/authorized status. Status verified by UDS or the NOAA Dive Center.

NOAA OBSERVER DIVER

May dive from NOAA owned or contracted vessels. May only observe or photograph operations.

May dive from NOAA facilities & on NOAA dive projects. May only observe or photograph operations.

Meet Observer diver criteria as outlined in NAO-123. Limited to six (6) dives per year. May only use open circuit SCUBA and must be accompanied by NOAA working or scientific diver.

NOAA RECIPROCITY DIVER

May dive from NOAA owned or contracted vessels. May complete tasks at the level of reciprocity (Scientific or Working).

May dive from NOAA facilities & on NOAA dive projects. May complete tasks at the level of reciprocity (Scientific or Working)

Current certification from sponsoring agency and status verified by sponsoring agency Diving Safety Officer. Copy of reciprocity agreement. Complete a dive within six (6) weeks of NOAA operations. Divers must follow NOAA diving safety rules (NAO-123).

NOAA DIVERS DIVING WITH NON-NOAA GROUPS

May dive from non-NOAA vessels. Must follow NOAA diving regulations

May dive with non-NOAA personnel. Must follow NOAA diving regulations

NOAA certified divers may participate in and accompany Non-NOAA divers on Non-NOAA projects. Non-NOAA divers must complete a dive within six (6) weeks of the operation.

DIVERS WITHOUT NOAA CERTIFICATION

May Not dive from NOAA vessels. May Not accompany NOAA divers on NOAA projects.

May Not dive from NOAA facilities. May Not accompany NOAA divers on NOAA dive projects.

Divers without NOAA certification Cannot participate in NOAA projects.

 

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