Section 5.00 – Scientific Diver Certification


5.10.1 Scientific Diver Certification.

This is a permit to dive, usable only while it is current and for the purpose intended.

5.10.2 Diver-In-Training Permit

This permit signifies that a diver has completed and been certified as at least an open water diver through a nationally or internationally recognized certifying agency, scientific diving program, or its equivalent (Section 4.00).  This diver may participate in further scientific diver training and, at the discretion of the Diving Safety Officer, may serve a diving buddy on dives shallower than 30 feet for the purpose of gaining additional experience and logging additional dives leading toward the minimums for Scientific Diver Certification.

5.10.3 Temporary Diver Permit.

This permit constitutes a waiver of the requirements of Sec. 5.00 and is issued only following a demonstration of the required proficiency in diving. It is valid only for a limited time, as determined by the Diving Safety Officer. This permit is not to be construed as a mechanism to circumvent existing standards set forth in this manual.

Requirements of Sec. 5.31 and 5.32 may be waived by the Diving Safety Officer if the person in question has demonstrated proficiency in diving and can contribute measurably to a planned dive. A statement of the temporary diver’s qualifications shall be submitted to the Diving Safety Officer as a part of the dive plan. Temporary permits shall be restricted to the planned diving operation and shall comply with all other policies, regulations, and standards of this manual, including medical requirements.


The MBL requires that no person shall engage in scientific diving unless that person is authorized pursuant to the provisions of this manual. The following are considered minimal standards for a scientific diver certification.

5.21 Prerequisites

Diver-In-Training Permit  (Section 4.00).

5.22 Eligibility

Only a person diving under the auspices of an organization that subscribes to the practices of the AAUS is eligible for a scientific diver certification.

5.23 Application

Application for certification shall be made to the Diving Safety Officer on the prescribed form.

5.24 Medical Examination

Each applicant for diver certification shall submit a statement from a licensed physician, based on an approved medical examination, attesting to the applicant’s fitness for diving (see Sec. 6.00 and Appendices 1-6).


Submission of documents and participation in aptitude examinations does not automatically result in certification. The applicant must convince the Diving Safety Officer and members of the Diving Control Board that he/she is sufficiently skilled and proficient to be certified. This skill will be acknowledged by the signature of the Diving Safety Officer. Any applicant who does not possess the necessary judgement, under diving conditions, for the safety of the diver and his/her partner, may be MBL scientific diving privileges. Minimum documentation and examinations required are as follows:

5.31 Documents

5.31.1 Application for certification.

5.31.2 Medical approval.

5.31.3 Proof of diver-in-training permit level or its equivalent.

5.31.4 Emergency Care Training.

The trainee must provide proof of training in the following:

a. cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (must be current)

b. emergency oxygen administration (must be current)

c. first aid for diving accidents

5.32 Training
The diver must complete additional theoretical aspects and practical training beyond the diver-in-training permit level for a minimum cumulative time of 100 hours.

5.32.1 Theoretical aspects should include principles and activities appropriate to the intended area of scientific study. Suggested topics may include, but are not limited to; cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), diving first aid, oxygen administration, accident management, field neurological exam, dive rescue ,recognition of DCS and AGE, data gathering techniques, collecting, common biota, behavior, installation of scientific apparatus, use of chemicals, site selection, site location and relocation, organism identification, ecology, tagging, photography, archaeology, scientific dive planning, coordination with other agencies, appropriate governmental regulations, AAUS scientific diving regulations, small boat operation, theoretical training in diving technology, specialized equipment to be used, blue water diving, diving in confined spaces, zero visibility diving, research vessel diving, aquarium diving, animal handling, polluted water diving, cold water diving, special gas mixes, decompression theory and its application.

5.32.2 Practical training shall include at least 7 additional supervised ocean or open water dives beyond the Diver-in-Training level, in a variety of dive sites and differing diving conditions, for a cumulative total of 12 dives for a cumulative total bottom time of at least 6 hours. No more than 3 of these dives shall be made in one day.

5.33 Examinations

5.33.1 Written examination for the certificate level.

5.33.2 Examination of equipment.

5.33.3 Open water check-out dives to appropriate depths with evaluation of the skills in Sec 4.23 and Appendix 9


Diving is not permitted beyond a depth of 190 feet.

5.41 Depth Certification Levels

5.41.1 Certification to 30 Foot Depth

This is the initial permit level, approved upon the successful completion of training listed in Sections 5.20 and 5.30.

5.41.2 Certification to 60 Foot Depth

A diver holding a 30 foot certificate may be certified to a depth of 60 feet after successfully completing, under supervision, 12 logged training dives to depths between 31 and 60 feet, for a minimum total time of 4 hours.

5.41.3 Certification to 100 and 130 Foot Depths

A diver holding a 60 foot certificate may be certified to depths of 100 and 130 feet respectively, by logging four dives near the maximum depth category. These qualification dives shall be validated by the signature of two authorized individuals who are divers certified to at least the same depth. The diver shall also demonstrate proficiency in the use of the appropriate Decompression Tables.

5.41.4 Certification to Depths Over 130 Feet

A diver may be certified to depths of 150 and 190 feet after the completion of four dives near each depth. Dives shall be planned and executed under close supervision of a diver certified to this depth. The diver must also demonstrate a knowledge of the special problems of deep diving, and of special safety requirements.

5.42 Exceeding Depth Limits and Progression To Next Depth Level

5.42.1 A certified diver diving under the auspices of the MBL may exceed his/her depth certification by one step only if accompanied by a diver certified to a greater depth. Under these circumstances the diver may exceed his/her depth limit by one step.

5.42.2 A certified diver diving under the auspices of the MBL may exceed his/her depth certification by more than one step only when accompanied by the Diving Safety Officer, or a person designated by the Diving Safety Officer, either of whom must be certified to the greater depth.


5.51 Minimum Activity to Maintain Certification

During any 12 month period, each certified scientific diver must log a minimum of 12 dives. At least one dive must be logged near the maximum depth of the diver’s certification during each 6 month period. Divers certified to 150 feet or deeper may satisfy these requirements with dives to 130 feet or over. Failure to meet these requirements may be cause for revocation or restriction of certification.

5.52 Requalification of Depth Certificate

Once the initial certification requirements of Sec. 5.31 – 5.34 are met, divers whose depth certification has lapsed due to lack of activity may be requalified by procedures adopted by the Diving Safety Officer or the campus Diving Control Board.

5.53 Medical Examination

All certified scientific divers shall pass a medical examination at the intervals specified in Section 6.12. After each major illness or injury, as described in Sec. 6.12, a certified scientific diver shall receive clearance to return to diving from a physician before resuming diving activities.


A diving certificate may be revoked or restricted for cause by the Diving Safety Officer or the Diving Control Board. Violations of regulations set forth in this manual, or other governmental subdivisions not in conflict with this manual, may be considered cause. The Diving Safety Officer shall inform the diver in writing of the reason(s) for revocation. The diver will be given the opportunity to present his/her case in writing for reconsideration and/or recertification. All such written statements and requests, as identified in this section, are formal documents which will become part of the diver’s file.


If a diver’s certificate expires or is revoked, he/she may be recertified after complying with such conditions as the Diving Safety Officer or the Diving Control Board may impose. The diver shall be given an opportunity to present his/her case to the Diving Control Board before conditions for recertification are stipulated.