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Dive Planning

NDP diving supervisors have several duties but all are required to plan diving and oversee diving operations. These operations can be simple or very complex and require sufficient time to plan for safe and successful operations.

The UDS from the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary developed the following template for planning diving operations at his unit. The template can be used for planning both simple and complex operations and has addressed all NDP regulatory, policy and operational procedures. Use of the complete template may not be necessary, but it is applicable to all NOAA diving units and should be used as a guideline when planning diving operations. Dive plans submitted to DNDP for review shall contain all the information listed on the template.

Diving Operations Plan

Forms Dive Planning Forms, Tables & Formulas

Diving Operations Plan

Introduction to the Generic Dive Plan Document

The purpose of preparing a dive plan is to ensure NOAA diving operations will be conducted safely, efficiently and with the maximum chance of achieving the objectives of the dive project. This document provides a generic dive plan template from which a project-specific dive plan can be prepared. Not all the information listed in this document needs to be provided for each diving project, nor is this template meant to encompass all information that is needed for each diving project. The NOAA Divemaster and the diving project manager needs to use their judgment in completing sections of the dive plan. The purpose of this document is to provide generic guidance on a dive plans that identifies purposes, roles, and tasks involved in a diving project. The NOAA Divemaster in consultation with the diving project manager or researcher will fill out the dive plan.

Overview of the Diving Project Activities

A. For single day or simple diving projects, the NOAA Divemaster and the Dive Project Manager should plan diving operations using the list of information in Appendix A (Dive Safety and Planning: Pre-Dive Checklist and Post-Dive Checklist) and Appendix B (Diving Emergency Management Plan).

For multiple day or complex diving projects the NOAA Divemaster and the Dive Project Manager should work together to complete; Sections I (Overview of Diving Project Activities), II (Schedule of Diving Operations), III (Divers, Duties and Diving Operations), Appendix A (Dive Safety and Planning: Pre-Dive Checklist and Post-Dive Checklist) and Appendix B (Diving Emergency Management Plan).

For Section I, please provide a brief description (1 or 2 page maximum) of the project including the following:

  • Project objective(s) and questions(s) to be answered by the project.
  • Significance of project or benefit.
  • Location of diving operations (see Figure(s) XX), dive vessel(s) to be used and a map of all potential dive sites.
  • Dates of diving project and who will be involved with the diving operations, including NOAA Divers, NOAA Scientific Divers, Reciprocity Divers, NOAA Observational Divers, or divers not under the supervision of a NOAA Divemaster.
  • Description of diving techniques or procedures to be used, including illustrations of techniques or reference to publications explaining procedures in greater detail if necessary.

Schedule of Diving Operations

[DATE (S)]: Mobilization activities to prepare for the diving project.

[DATE (S)]: Testing or training to prepare for diving operations.

[DATE (S)]: Dive times and diving activities planned for the project, including daily briefings, and debriefings.

[DATE (S)]: Planned day(s) off, if applicable.

[DATE (S)]: Demobilization activities to complete the diving project.

[DATE]: Report on the results of the diving project prepared by NOAA Divemaster in consultation with the diving project manager.

Divers, Duties and Diving Operations

A. A list should be prepared showing: (1) the name of each diver, (2) the diver’s agency, (3) the diver’s certification level, (4) duties to be performed, and (5) equipment to be used. Table 1 provides a template that can be filled in to provide this information for each diver.

The following diving operations will be conducted using the Pre-Dive Checklist and Post-Dive Checklist as guidance (see Appendix A):

  1. All diving operations will be conducted during daylight hours to facilitate safe diving operations.
  2. If NOAA Divers, NOAA Scientific Divers, Reciprocity Divers or NOAA Observational Divers participate in the project, the following statement must be included in the dive plan:
    All diving operations will comply with the NOAA Diving Regulations (NOAA Administrative Order 209-123), current policies of the NOAA Diving Center, and applicable reciprocity agreements. All dives will be conducted within the no-compression limits of the U.S. Navy Dive Tables.
  3. A set of the U.S. Navy Dive Tables and the U.S. Navy Diver’s Handbook will be available onboard the [NAME OF DIVE VESSEL] or at the [NAME OF DIVE SITE] for the dive team in case maximum depth and time limits are accidentally exceeded and decompression procedures need to be conducted.
  4. If decompression procedures are not required, each diver will conduct a 3 minute safety stop at 15 feet before surfacing based on the dive profile and previous diving activities.
C. If a diving accident occurs, the Diving Emergency Management Plan, including information on recompression chambers and procedures for conscious and unconscious diving accident victims, is defined in Appendix B.

Forms Table 1. Information About Project Divers and Their Duties (Acrobat PDF file)


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