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Standardized Equipment Program

 Divers Lifting a CorerBackground
Program Basics
Ordering
Unit Diving Supervisor (UDS) Responsibilities
Training Class Equipment Issue
Training Requirements
Maintenance & Repair Procedures
Mailing Procedures
Existing/Personal Equipment
Accountability
CD-52 Instructions
Funding/Assessment
Equipment Program Variables

Standardized Diving Equipment List

Forms Equipment Forms

Background

The primary mission of the NOAA Diving Program is to ensure safety of all NOAA diving operations. To directly influence this mission objective, the NOAA Diving Program created the Standardized Equipment Program (SEP).

Prior to the Standardized Equipment Program, the procurement of diving equipment had been left up to the individual or their unit. Students attending NOAA diver training programs with faulty dive equipment was observed at an increasing rate. Personal preference, misinformation, and inadequate funding often resulted in the purchase of inadequate diving equipment and improper maintenance within units. NOAA Diving Program (NDP) inspection of field unit diving lockers often revealed sub-standard diving equipment, inadequate maintenance, and equipment used beyond its useful life. Non-uniformity also resulted in difficulties stocking spare parts and a lack of maintenance expertise. Under the conventional unit procurement system, the NOAA Diving Program lacked a uniform training program and the safety of the diver was seriously compromised.

In 1986, the NOAA Diving Safety Board (NDSB) discussed the feasibility of standardizing NOAA diving equipment. A survey followed to obtain information on the type and condition of equipment currently in use. The NDP then compiled a list of safe, efficient and commercially available diving equipment from the results of NOAA and US Navy tests. In 1988, survey evaluations concluded that enhanced safety and cost savings could be derived from centralized procurement of diving equipment. The first assessment for centralized procurement and repair of diving equipment was implemented to build a NOAA Diving Standardized Equipment Program in 1989.

In January 1990, the Standardized Equipment Program (SEP) began issuing equipment from the NOAA Diving Center (NDC) in Seattle, WA, to all authorized and certified NOAA divers. NDC's procurement, maintenance and distribution of approved equipment ensures NOAA divers are safely and adequately equipped while in an active diving status.

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Program Basics

When a NOAA employee is certified and/or placed on active dive status to conduct working dives as a NOAA diver, they must be enrolled by their Unit Diving Supervisor (UDS) in the Standardized Diving Equipment Program (NAO 209-123). Following receipt of a SEP Order Form, the diver will be issued gear for which they are accountable. All maintenance and repair will be done or coordinated by the NDC. When a diver is no longer on active status, he/she must return issued equipment through their UDS to the NDC.

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Ordering

To receive equipment the SEP Transaction Form must be completed and submitted through the diver’s UDS to the NOAA Diving Center. The signature of the UDS or the authorizing official responsible for enrolling unit divers in the equipment program is required on the equipment order form. (Note: Omitted information delays order filling.) Equipment will be shipped by the most efficient method. Overnight and express shipping charges will be deducted from the requesting unit’s budget. Equipment is to be thoroughly inspected upon receipt to ensure proper fit. The enclosed checkout receipt is to be signed and returned to NDC.

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Unit Diving Supervisor (UDS) Responsibilities

Equipment issued to shore based diving units is tracked by the onsite Unit Diving Supervisor (UDS). Equipment on board sea-going diving units is to be tracked by the shipboard Divemaster. The Divemaster, in conjunction with the UDS, will coordinate inventory records and annual equipment maintenance requirements. It is the responsibility of the UDS to coordinate and maintain records of equipment requests, maintenance, repair, and return through NDC. When a diver is transferred, placed on inactive status, or terminated from a unit, it is required that all the equipment issued to the diver be returned immediately to the NDC through their UDS or vessel Divemaster. Equipment shall be received by the NDC prior to the permanent change of station move, completion of assignment and termination of diving status or employment. Charges will continue to accrue for equipment not returned. Use of standardized diving equipment for proficiency dives is authorized. The use of SEP equipment by inactive divers is prohibited.

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Training Class Equipment Issue

When a NOAA employee participates in NOAA Diver Training Programs, they will be outfitted with SEP dive equipment. Each diver candidate is required to submit a Diver Measurement Request Form with initial enrollment information. Once the diver is certified and placed on active dive status to conduct working dives, they will be issued gear for which they are accountable.

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Maintenance & Repair Procedures

All equipment is tested and inspected before issue to ensure that it is within safety specifications. Equipment is either repaired at the NDC, or contracted out to qualified vendors. NOTE: All equipment returned from the field for maintenance or repair is to be tagged with the diver’s name and a description of the condition of the equipment. The NDC controls the final decision on repair or discard of worn equipment. The return of equipment should be coordinated with the NDC Equipment Program Coordinator prior to shipping.

All regulators, instrumentation console, depth and pressure gauges require annual overhaul and/or testing. Maintenance of SEP SCUBAPRO regulators is handled by factory certified technicians at the NDC. When a regulator and console are due for annual overhaul, divers will be issued replacement equipment for those items so that no lapse in operational capabilities occurs. Upon receipt of annual replacement equipment, the units requiring maintenance are to be returned to the NDC immediately. All items that are not reparable, or fail annual testing are either returned for warranty replacement or destroyed. NDC technicians make the decision to repair or dispose of any and all equipment sent to NDC for maintenance or repair. Divers will be advised of factory equipment recalls by NOAA Diving Safety Bulletins. Spare parts for simple repairs will be supplied through the UDS for field repairs.

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Mailing Procedures

In order to identify equipment shipments, an inventory list should accompany all equipment returned to NDC. Equipment is to be shipped in rigid cushioned boxes in order to prevent damage or loss, and secured with strong tape designed for shipping . All divers are requested to provide their current return mailing address, zip code (9 digit if available) and phone number in all correspondence.

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Existing/Personal Equipment

Existing equipment may stay in a unit for the rest of its useful life. This equipment may include dry suits, fins, knives and other accessory equipment. The NDC will repair existing equipment if it is equivalent to the Standardized Diving Equipment. The existing equipment will remain the property of the unit and not be included in the SEP inventory. Personally owned equipment may be authorized by the UDS for on the job use. However, maintenance, repair, or replacement will not be authorized under the SEP program.

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Accountability

Some deterioration and loss is to be expected. A survey of loss or damage will be conducted by the UDS and reported to the NDC on Standard Form CD-52. The NDC Property Review Board will investigate the circumstances surrounding the loss, theft, damage, or destruction of the equipment and determine any employee liability. The procedures for property review are set forth in NDM 37-16. Divers that lose or damage equipment in the interest of safety will not incur responsibility. Divers found negligent in the loss or damage of gear may be held accountable, at a cost up to the replacement cost. Chapter 5 of the Government Accounting Office Law Manual sets forth satisfactory recovery procedures. Expendable items will not be tracked and divers will not be held accountable (ie. fin straps, fin keepers, knife straps, silicone, etc).

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CD-52 Instructions

In the case of lost or damages SEP diving equipment, form CD-52 must be filled out and returned to the NOAA Diving Center. The following documents the procedure for completing and submitting form CD-52:

Step 1: The diver will fill out the front side of CD-52 and sign on bottom as the property custodian.

Step 2: The UDS or commanding officer must complete and sign the recommendation section.

Step 3: Return form CD-52 to SEP coordinator, with damaged equipment if applicable.

Step 4: Findings and recommendations of Board of Review will be completed by the SEP Coordinator and two others.

Step 5: Upon administrative approval from the DNDP, action will be completed.

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Funding/Assessment

Operating funds are derived from present Line Office (NMAO, OAR, NMFS, NWS, NOS) budgets based on the average annual equipment cost per diver. All funds are combined under the SEP operating fund and maintained separately from the NDC operating funds. The annual assessment (SEP fee, tax, etc.) varies based on the annual operating costs required to ensure continued program support. Annual per diver assessment is based on: (current cost of standard equipment issue + average annual maintenance + repair cost + losses + shipping costs) divided by five years of anticipated useful life.

The system of assessing in "arrears" allows a unit to add or remove divers to meet programs goals, and facilitates one time annual accounting. The unit assessment charge is based upon the total number of active (working) divers that made working dives, or held issued equipment during the prior year (i.e., FY99 assessments are based on FY98 diving activity).

For divers that are: 1) removed from active status, 2) terminate employment, or 3) transfer between line offices or units during the fiscal year, the assessment will be divided by half-year activity in order to breakdown the fiscal year assessment for the respective units.

A unit will also be assessed for an inactive diver that fails to promptly return equipment issued to them. It is the responsibility of the UDS and or the vessel Divemaster to coordinate the return of equipment issued to an inactive or terminated diver. Additional unit assessment may be required within the start-up year if an excessive number of divers are activated.

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Equipment Program Variables

  • Newly certified divers - turnover and expansion are estimated.
  • The average life of all SCUBA equipment was initially set at five years. Active life is reassessed as the average life history data is determined to be otherwise. The assessment is adjusted accordingly.
  • Average annual equipment loss and disposal, shipping, consumable and maintenance cost all increase with the growth of the program.
  • The average cost of a full gear bag will vary with economy and technology.

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