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Volume 3, Number 16, Page 3


February 2002


Observer diver regulations were given close scrutiny after a recent diving “incident” involving a NOAA Observer Diver. As a result, specific guidelines governing certification requirements, allowable activities, and requirements for accompanying NOAA divers are to be developed by NDC and distributed to all ships and units. In the mean time, the following applies to all NOAA Observer diver activities:

  • Observer divers may conduct visual observations or photography but must be accompanied by a NOAA diver who’s only task is to monitor the Observer diver(s) (maximum of 2) .
  • NOAA divers accompanying Observer divers must be equipped with an alternate air source ( octopus regulator ). Octopus regulators are available upon request from NDC.
  • NOAA form 64-5 , Observer Diver Log, must be submitted to NDC documenting all dive activity for an individual Observer diver.
  • All other NAO 209-123 regulations governing Observer diver requirements and allowable diving tasks still apply to all Observer diving activities. End of Article


Yes, dive computers continue to be actively evaluated by NOAA divers as the final step in the selection process. Discussion by the NDSB yielded the following:

  • Field testing of the computers was extended to March 2002 to allow for more dives to be logged by testers.
  • Authorization of one model of dive computer for use by NOAA divers is expected by summer 2002.
  • Divers must pass a written exam before being authorized to dive with the selected computer.
  • Use of dive computers will not be required and, because of cost considerations, NDC does not plan to issue dive computers as part of the SEP program. Individual dive units may purchase copies of the selected computer for its divers, as needed . End of Article


Alternate air sources (octopus regulators, Air II’s, etc.) were also a hot topic at the NDSB meeting. Reasons driving this discussion included the Navy adopting a new policy for use of alternate air sources, responses to the recent NOAA diver survey, and a recent diving “incident” involving an out of air situation. It was the unanimous decision of the Board to require use of alternate air sources by all NOAA divers . NDC will be initiating a study of available LP whip inline systems and “Air II” type systems (BC integrated) to identify a reliable, cost-effective system for SEP issue. Divers using a backpack assembly with a dry suit will be required to carry an octopus regulator. More to follow as this study progresses. End of Article


UDSs & ship Divemasters - A reminder that all "NOAA-certified divers shall undergo yearly refresher training in oxygen administration, recognition and treatment of diving accidents and injuries, dive rescue, decompression tables, and in-water diving emergency skills." Much of this training can be conducted by viewing the NOAA Diving Program Refresher CD. If you are no longer (or were never) in possession of this CD, please contact Laurie Barber at the Diving Center. A CD will be prepared for your ship/unit and mailed to you. You may, of course, also prepare your own refresher materials for your divers. End of Article


The NDSB reviewed current implementation plans for closed-circuit rebreathers. Topics discussed were as follows:

  • The moratorium on rebreather training for NOAA divers will continue until rebreather units meeting NOAA testing and quality control standards can be identified.
  • NDC has received funding from NOS for the Navy to conduct functionality testing of Cis-Lunar and AP Valve CCRs (the Navy will be testing the Prism Topaz CCR at the same time).
  • The Navy plans to conduct “unmanned” testing of these units in May 2002, and “manned” testing in June 2002. End of Article

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