Section 2.00 – Diving Regulations

2.10 Introduction

No person shall engage in scientific diving operations under the auspices of the MBL’s scientific diving program unless they are authorized pursuant to the provisions of this Manual.

2.20 Pre-Dive Procedures

Dive Plans

Before conducting any diving operations under the auspices of the MBL, a dive plan for the proposed project or dive must be formulated and submitted for approval by the DCB or designee.  Dives should be planned around the competency of the least experienced diver.  The dive plan (project or individual) should include the following:

  • Diving Mode(s) and Gas(es)
  • Divers’ authorizations
  • Approximate number of proposed dives
  • Location(s) of proposed dives
  • Estimated depth(s) and bottom time(s) anticipated
  • Decompression status and repetitive dive plans, if required
  • Proposed work, equipment, and boats to be employed
  • Any hazardous conditions anticipated
  • Emergency Action Plan (Appendix 7)
  • In water details of the dive plan should include:
  • Dive Buddy assignments and tasks
  • Goals and objectives
  • Maximum depth(s) and bottom time
  • Gas management plan
  • Entry, exit, descent and ascent procedures
  • Perceived environmental and operational hazards and mitigations
  • Emergency and diver recall procedures

Diver Responsibility and Refusal to Dive

The decision to dive is that of the diver.  The ultimate responsibility for safety rests with the individual diver.  It is the diver’s responsibility and duty to refuse to dive, without fear of penalty, if in his/her judgment, conditions are unsafe or unfavorable, or if he/she would be violating the precepts of regulations in this Manual.

No dive team member will be required to be exposed to hyperbaric conditions against his/her will.

No dive team member may dive for the duration of any known condition, which is likely to adversely affect the safety and health of the diver or other dive team members.

Pre-dive Safety Checks

  • Prior to commencing the dive, the team must assure that every team member is healthy, fit, and trained for the type of dive that is being attempted.
  • Scientific divers must conduct a functional check of their diving equipment in the presence of the dive buddy or tender. They must ensure the equipment is functioning properly and suitable for the type of diving operation being conducted.
  • Each diver must have the capability of achieving and maintaining positive buoyancy at the surface.
  • Environmental conditions at the site will be evaluated prior to entering the water.

Pre-dive Briefings

Before conducting any diving operations under the auspices of the MBL, the dive team members must be briefed on:

  • Dive Buddy assignments and tasks
  • Dive objectives.
  • Maximum depth(s) and bottom time
  • Turn around pressure and required surfacing pressure
  • Entry, exit, descent and ascent procedures
  • Perceived environmental and operational hazards and mitigations
  • Emergency and diver recall procedures

2.30 Diving Procedures

Solo Diving Prohibition

All diving activities must assure adherence to the buddy system.  This buddy system is based upon mutual assistance, especially in the case of an emergency.

Decompression Management

  • On any given dive, both divers in the buddy pair must follow the most conservative dive profile
  • A safety stop performed during the ascent phase of the dive should be conducted on any dive that exceeds 30 feet (9.14m).

Termination of the Dive

Any dive must be terminated while there is still sufficient cylinder pressure to permit the diver to safely reach the surface, including decompression time, or to safely reach an additional air source at the decompression station.

It is the responsibility of the diver to terminate the dive that he/she considers unsafe, without fear of reprisal, in a way that does not compromise the safety of another diver already in the water.

Emergencies and Deviations from Regulations

Any diver may deviate from the requirements of this Manual to the extent necessary to prevent or minimize a situation likely to cause death, serious physical harm, or major environmental damage.  A written report must be submitted to the DCB explaining the circumstances and justifications.

2.40 Post-Dive Procedures

Post-Dive Safety Checks

After the completion of a dive, each diver must report any physical problems, symptoms of decompression sickness, or equipment malfunctions to the Lead Diver, DSO, and/or DCB.

2.50 Emergency Procedures

The MBL will develop emergency procedures which follow the standards of care of the community and must include procedures and implementation criteria for emergency care, recompression, evacuation, and incident reporting.

 2.60 Flying After Diving or Ascending to Altitude (Over 1000 feet/304 meters)

  • Following a Single No-Decompression Dive: Divers should have a minimum preflight surface interval of 12 hours.
  • Following Multiple Dives per Day or Multiple Days of Diving: Divers should have a minimum preflight surface interval of 18 hours.
  • Following Dives Requiring Decompression Stops: Divers should have a minimum preflight surface interval of 24 hours.
  • Before Ascending to Altitude Above 1000 feet (304 meters): Divers should follow the appropriate guideline for preflight surface intervals unless the decompression procedure used has accounted for the increase in elevation.

2.70 Record Keeping Requirements

Personal Diving Log

Each authorized scientific diver must log every dive made under the auspices of the MBL’s program and is encouraged to log all other dives.  The MBLs may allow dives to be logged in any format of MBL’s choosing. Logs must be submitted per local protocol and must remain in the divers’ file. The dive log must include at least the following:

  • Name of diver and buddy
  • Date, time, and location
  • Diving modes used
  • General nature of diving activities
  • Maximum depth and dive time
  • Diving tables or computers used
  • Detailed report of any near or actual incidents

Required Incident Reporting

All diving incidents requiring recompression treatment, or resulting in moderate or serious injury, or death must be reported to the MBL’s DCB and AAUS in a timely manner. The MBL must record and report occupational injuries and illnesses in accordance with requirements of the appropriate Labor Code section. The MBLs must investigate and document any incident of pressure-related injury and prepare a report that is to be forwarded to AAUS during the annual reporting cycle.

  • If pressure-related injuries are suspected, or if symptoms are evident, the following additional information must be recorded and retained by the MBL, with the record of the dive, for a period of 5 years:
  • Written descriptive report shall include:
  • Name, address, phone numbers of the principal parties involved.
  • Summary of experience of divers involved.
  • Location, description of dive site, and description of conditions that led up to incident.
  • The circumstances of the incident and the extent of any injuries or illnesses.
  • Description of symptoms, including depth and time of onset.
  • Description and results of treatment.
  • Disposition of case.
  • Recommendations to avoid repetition of incident.

In addition to requirements specific to the MBL, all diving incidents will be reported to the AAUS. This report must first be reviewed and released by the MBL’s DCB and at a minimum contain:

  • Complete AAUS Incident Report.
  • Summary of experience of divers involved.
  • Description of dive site, and description of conditions that led up to incident.
  • The circumstances of the incident and the extent of any injuries or illnesses.
  • Description of symptoms, including depth and time of onset.
  • Description and results of treatment.
  • Disposition of case.
  • Recommendations to avoid repetition of incident.