Diving Safety Program

The Diving Safety Program provides training and oversight to faculty, staff and students who use self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) as a tool to conduct underwater research.

Scientific diving is regulated at both the state and federal levels. The Diving Safety Program uses training, operational support and oversight to ensure compliance with these regulations. The program also meets the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Standards for Scientific Diving; it is a current AAUS organizational member.

The Scientific Diving Safety Program is overseen by both EH&S and the Diving Control Board. The Diving Control Board is an institutional committee assigned to oversee diving safety for the University. Most of its members are active scientific divers. The board has the authority to approve and monitor diving projects, review and revise the diving safety manual, assure compliance with the manual, certify the depths to which a diver has been trained, take disciplinary action for unsafe practices and assure adherence to the buddy system (a diver is accompanied by and is in continuous contact with another diver in the water) for scuba diving. The Diving Control Board's functions are carried out pursuant to the AAUS Scientific Diving Standards.


Diver certification and requirements

What you can do to stay safe

The UW is committed to safe research diving. If you observe potentially unsafe practices, conditions or have questions, please feel free to report confidentially to divesafe@uw.edu.

In order to stay safe, do not conduct any diving without the proper training. You must be a certified UW scientific diver in order to conduct scuba diving in affiliation with the UW.

When conducting UW scientific dives, observe the following:

  • Follow the standards in the UW Scientific Diving Safety Manual.
  • Do not dive without an approved dive plan.
  • Never dive alone and always maintain a good buddy distance.
  • Plan your dive and dive your plan.
  • Ensure your gas supply is sufficient and appropriate for the planned dives.
  • Ensure required emergency equipment is on site.

Services available

EH&S provides the following services:

  • Scientific diver training and authorization
  • Emergency response training (CPR, First Aid, AED, Emergency Oxygen Administration)
  • Scuba rescue training
  • Other scuba-based trainings and support for authorized UW divers
  • Dive plan consultation, assessment and approval
  • Regulatory interpretations

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes. All diving under the auspices of the University of Washington is required to be conducted according to state, federal and UW requirements.

Yes, all dive plans must be submitted and approved by the diving safety officer prior to conducting the dive.

Yes, but only upon receiving approval from the UW diving safety officer. Typically, this process involves submitting a Letter of Reciprocity that you can obtain from your organization’s diving safety officer.

EH&S has been authorized by the University to recover costs associated with operating the Diving Safety Program. All UW divers must pay an annual fee. Visiting and temporary divers must also pay a fee.

No. Friday Harbor Labs is a part of the UW College of the Environment, and the UW Diving Safety Program oversees all diving that takes place at Friday Harbor Labs.

More Information


Will Love

(206) 616-3776