Volume 2, Number 15, Page 2


May 2000


NOAA diving certifications (working, scientific) issued to Non-NOAA employees are valid for use with other NOAA units only and are not transferable to other organizations (i.e. third party reciprocity). One exception is the NOAA-contracted employee (i.e. State of Florida employee working for the Sanctuaries and Reserves Division) who is treated the same as a NOAA employee. NDC has been notified of problems with Non-NOAA employees using their NOAA Equivalent Diving certifications to gain access to other Non-NOAA diving programs. For example – A NOAA unit requires an individual from outside of NOAA to participate in an official NOAA diving operation. The individual is an employee or is affiliated with an organization that is not a member of AAUS or which doesn’t have direct individual reciprocity with NOAA. Because the person is viewed a vital to the success of the NOAA project, the NOAA UDS has the individual complete the requirements to become a NOAA Equivalent Scientific diver. The individual completes the requirements, participates in the project, then returns home to their institution. A month later, the same diver wants to dive with an AAUS organization and shows that institution’s Diving Safety Officer his/her NOAA Equivalent Scientific Diver certification and claims to be a “NOAA Diver”. Several DSO’s have accepted these divers and this certification at face value, without contacting the NOAA Diving Center to verify the diver‘s status. The problem is one of deception – the AAUS institution thinks they are allowing a NOAA employee to dive under the reciprocity agreement, when in reality the individual is not a NOAA employee and should not be allowed to dive. There are also legal ramifications should the individual be injured. The AAUS institution is assuming that NOAA would be legally responsible, when in fact, NOAA knew nothing of the individual's participation and would not accept responsibility for workman’s compensation, medical expenses, etc. To address this issue, NDC will: 1) add a sentence to all Non-NOAA certifications indicating the limitations valid only for participation in NOAA diving activities and 2) provide AAUS with an explanation of the difference between NOAA Working/Scientific Divers versus Non-NOAA Equivalent Working/Scientific Divers explaining that Equivalents are not entitled to direct reciprocity. End of Article


NDC has distributed four Elder Valve test kits throughout the diving units. After receiving the kit, follow the instructions enclosed to perform a simple test on the Diving Emergency Oxygen kits Elder Valve. After the test is completed forward the results to NDC and the kit to the next unit on the enclosed Federal Express Mailers. After contact with the manufacturer and repair facility for the oxygen delivery equipment, NDC was instructed to perform periodic tests on the equipment. Those field units not meeting the required performance specifications would then be scheduled for service. Once all units have tested and the results are received by NDC, necessary repairs will be coordinated. Contact NDC if there are any questions. End of Article


Improvements to the Diving Supervisor web page have recently been made. The site now includes the current version of the NOAA Diving Regulations and updated forms organized into packets specific to training and certification activity. Under FAQ’s additional online resources have been provided for career paths, other diving and training organizations, as well as links to lodging and transportation in the Seattle area. If units require a hard copy of the UDS manual, the information available on the website may be printed out and organized into a similar presentation. After review of the site at, feel welcome to contact NDC with any comments or requests regarding additional features. End of Article


Water pollution by drugs is a newly emerging issue. Over the past decade chemists have been documenting and confirming traces of drugs excreted by people and livestock that are polluting lakes, streams and groundwater. Supplying culprits being sludge from sewage treatment plants and livestock waste lagoons. To date, scientists have noted that few, if any, toxicological studies have evaluated risks posed by chronic exposure to trace concentrations of drugs. The biggest risk faces aquatic life – which may be bathed from cradle to grave in a solution of drugs of increasing concentration and potency. End of Article

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