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Reciprocity

Photo Credit: NOAA

 

Photo Credit: NOAA


NDP Reciprocity Agreements - Updated 03/18/2015

Organization Period Sponsor Contact Phone / E-Mail Certification
Alaska Department Of Fish & Game (ADF&G) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Robert Stone                                             
NMFS Auke Bay
Kyle Hebert 907-465-4228
Kyle.Hebert@Alaska.Gov
SCIENTIFIC
Bishop Museum 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Raymond Boland                                     
NMFS PIFSC EOD
Richard Pyle 808-848-4115                                          Deepreef@Bishopmuseum.Org SCIENTIFIC
Bureau Of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Tane Casserley                                        
NOS Thunder Bay Lab Alpena, MI
David Ball 805-389-7593 
David.Ball@Boem.Gov
SCIENTIFIC
Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Tane Casserley                                        
NOS Thunder Bay Lab Alpena, MI
Donna Schroeder 805-384-6382
donna.schroeder@Boem.Gov
SCIENTIFIC
California Department Of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Justin Keesee                                            OMAO / NDC David Osorio 831-649-7195                                          david.osorio@wildlife.ca.gov SCIENTIFIC
Commonwealth Of The Northern Mariana Islands Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality (CNMI BECQ) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Raymond Boland                                     
NMFS PIFSC EOD
Ryan Okano 670-664-8500 
ryanokano@deq.gov.mp
SCIENTIFIC
Florida Department Of Environmental Protection  (FDEP) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Justin Keesee      
OMAO / NDC  
Jeff Loflin 850-245-2312
Jeff.Loflin@Dep.State.Fl.Us
WORKING
Guam Department Of Agriculture Division Of Aquatic And Wildlife Resources (DAWR) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Raymond Boland                                     
NMFS PIFSC EOD
Brent Tibbatts 671-735-3987
Brent.Tibbatts@Gmail.Com
SCIENTIFIC
Hawaii Division Of Aquatic Resources (DAR) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Raymond Boland                                     
NMFS PIFSC EOD
Paul Y. Murakawa 808-253-9826
Paul.Y.Murakawa@Hawaii.Gov
SCIENTIFIC
The American Academy Of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Gregory B. McFall                                       
NDP Seattle
Amy L. Moran 864-656-1488                                             
morana@hawaii.edu
SCIENTIFIC
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Gregory B. McFall                                       
NDP Seattle
Kennard W. Potts 202-566-1267
Potts.Kennard@Epa.Gov
SCIENTIFIC
United States Geological Survey (USGS) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Tane Casserley                                        
NOS Thunder Bay Lab Alpena, MI
Marc Blouin 734-657-0690                 
mblouin@usgs.gov
SCIENTIFIC
United States  Department Of The Interior National Park Service (NPS) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Justin Keesee                                  
OMAO / NDC
Brett Seymour 303-969-2993
Brett_Seymour@Nps.Gov
WORKING
United States Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) 01/01/2015-12/31/2015 Raymond Boland                                     
NMFS PIFSC EOD
Patricia Echo-Hawk 512-353-0011 X 241         
patricia_echo-hawk@fws.gov
SCIENTIFIC

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Procedures for Organizations and Participating Divers

Non-NOAA divers may participate in NOAA diving activities, and NOAA divers may participate in non NOAA diving activities through reciprocity agreements.

NOAA reciprocity agreements:

  1. Allow non-NOAA divers to participate in NOAA diving activities, and vice-versa, with minimal administrative requirements;
  2. Are established with other organizations only after it is determined their diving programs are equivalent to NOAA’s;
  3. Are only applicable to personnel employed and covered for medical treatment and Workers Compensation by reciprocity organizations;
  4. Are not transferable to other agencies or institutions that have separate reciprocity agreements with NOAA’s reciprocity partners; and
  5. Expire on December 31 of the year in which they were established. They must be re-established annually.

Reciprocity divers in good standing with their organizations, who are not employees (e.g., students) and are not covered for medical treatment and Workers Compensation, can only be accepted as volunteers if permitted by statutory authority.

Request for Reciprocity with a Non-NOAA Organization

A NOAA UDS may request to establish a formal diving reciprocity agreement with non-NOAA organizations when no such agreement exists. Such requests, along with a copy of the candidate organization’s diving standards and safety manual, must be forwarded through the appropriate Line Office Diving Officer (LODO) or Staff Office Diving Officer (SODO) to the NOAA Diving Control and Safety Board (NDCSB) for review. If deemed equivalent to NOAA’s diving standards, reciprocity may be established for the current calendar year.

Reciprocity agreements are reviewed by the NOAA Diving Program Manager (NDPM) at the end of the calendar year and may be renewed at the request of the sponsoring Unit Diving Supervisor (UDS).

A list of current reciprocity agreements can be found above.

Letters of Reciprocity for NOAA Divers

In accordance with the terms of the reciprocity agreements, any NOAA diver wanting to dive with a reciprocity organization must request that his or her UDS send a Letter of Reciprocity – Verification of Diving Certification and Liability Coverage  to the Diving Safety Officer (DSO) of the receiving organization verifying he or she is an authorized NOAA diver. A copy of this letter must be forwarded to ndp.LOR@noaa.gov and the NOAA diver. Another copy is also kept at the unit location and the information is entered into the Unit Logbook.

Prior to filling out the Letter of Reciprocity (LOR) template, the UDS should check if the organization is currently a reciprocity partner by reviewing the list of organizations with reciprocity agreements on the NDP website. For affiliates of a larger host organization, the host organization will need to be contacted to establish the affiliate is still a current member (e.g., for an AAUS affiliate, check membership status at www.aaus.org).

LORs shall only be sent if the NOAA diver is currently in an authorized diving status.

Liability information:

  1. LORs for NOAA, federal, full-time employees will state the diver is covered under the Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA), United States Code (USC) 5 USC § 8101 et seq., for injuries that may be sustained as the result of an accident occurring during the scope of any official dive, as well as by the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 USC §§ 1346, 2671 et seq.
  2. LORs for NOAA contract employees will state the diver is not a federal employee and, therefore, not covered by FECA for injuries that may be sustained as the result of an accident occurring during the scope of any official dive. However, contract employees shall be covered by workers compensation through their own employer.

LORs only address a diver’s credentials and status within the NDP.  It is the diver’s Line Office Program Office’s responsibility to determine if the specific work to be performed with a reciprocity partner is authorized from a programmatic standpoint.

Letters of Reciprocity for Non-NOAA Divers

Reciprocity divers wanting to dive with NOAA must present a signed LOR from their organization’s Diving Safety Officer (DSO) to the appropriate UDS or designee, verifying that the divers are in an authorized status with their organization. The LOR must indicate the divers are covered for medical treatment and covered under their organization’s Workers Compensation policy. The LOR must be received from a DSO at an institution with which NOAA currently has a reciprocity agreement.

Equipment

Reciprocity Divers shall be outfitted with personally-supplied diving equipment equivalent to that of NOAA divers, as determined by the on-site Divemaster or Lead Diver.

A UDS (or designee) will inspect the Reciprocity Diver’s non-NOAA diving equipment for proper operating condition and replace items not considered serviceable with other equipment provided by the diver or NOAA.

When not provided by the Reciprocity Diver and with verification of the appropriate training, NOAA shall provide (when required) a diver-carried Reserve Air Supply System (RASS) to the diver.

Current Reciprocity Agreements

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Minimum Standards

Forms This table is also available for download. (Acrobat PDF file)

NOAA REQUIREMENTS Yes No
Dive Certification: Initial
•Scuba certified by a recognized diving agency
•Additional certification or training required above entry level dive certification
•Pass a written examination
•Pass an open-water skills checkout dive
•Complete a minimum of 25 open-water dives
•Pass initial and regularly scheduled dive physicals
Dive Certification: Maintenance
•Complete a minimum of 12 dives per year
•Complete periodic training in CPR, first aid, and oxygen administration
Dive Equipment
•Regulators tested annually
•Depth gauges tested annually
•Submersible pressure gauges tested annually
•Scuba cylinders visually inspected annually
•Minimum equipment:
-Primary and alternate air source
-Floatation device
-Timing device
-Depth gauge
-Submersible pressure gauge
Support Equipment
•Compressors tested for air quality every 6 months
•Minimum equipment:
-First aid kit
-Oxygen resuscitator

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