This is a summary of the steps that need to be taken before scientific diving under the auspices of Stanford University. Full details of the requirements and other regulations of the Stanford scientific diving program can be found in the Stanford Scientific Diving Manual (under revision, 2012) Forms are available from links on this page, or from the Diving Safety Officer (DSO) at Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove CA 93950.

Free Diving:
Students wishing to snorkel or free-dive for research or coursework must meet with the Diving Safety Officer or his/her designee for a briefing, assessment, and site orientation before conducting any in-water activity. See "snorkeling guidelines". Snorkeling/free diving for fun may be done at local sites other than Hopkins; ask the DSO about possible locations.

Eligibility for entry into the Scientific Diving Program:

Current Stanford faculty, students or staff are eligible to enter the scientific diving program. Priority is given to those who need to dive for Stanford research or coursework. Scientific diver candidates including undergraduates may take Scientific Diver Training sessions and workshops offered in Spring and Summer; graduate and post-doctoral students may also contact the DSO to arrange for individual training and certification. Divers entering Stanford with a current scientific diving certification from another American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) organizational member may be granted reciprocity, and should arrange for verification of their status by their previous DSO.

1. To enter program (must be completed prior to open water checkout dive) submit the following:

  • Entry packet including current medical evaluation of diving fitness and diving program application. Use the most current diving physical form, available from this site. Do not use outdated forms.
  • Scuba Waiver
  • Copies of scuba certification cards (at least Advanced Open Water is required). Note: Rescue Diver certification is required prior to full certification as a scientific diver.)
  • Copies of current CPR and First Aid certification.
  • Copies of current (i.e. within the past year) equipment purchase or service receipts (Regulator, octopus or alternate air source, BC, cylinder).
  • All Stanford scientific divers seeking reciprocity to dive with another AAUS diving program are required to hold current Divers Alert Network (DAN) dive accident insurance. Submit proof of insurance to the DSO.

2. Open water checkout dive/site orientation by DSO or designee

An equipment inspection will be performed prior to the check-out (see entry packet for list of required and recommended gear). Adequate thermal protection is important!

Checkout/orientation is usually conducted in the kelp bed in front of Hopkins, and includes a beach entry, surface swimming, and a variety of scuba exercises at the surface and underwater. Fine-tuning of buoyancy and comfort with gear is stressed.

Upon successful completion of 1 and 2 above, the diver's status is "scientific diver in training" and certification depth is 60'. The depth, location, and nature of subsequent training dives must be approved by the DSO until all scientific diver certification requirements are met.

3. To complete scientific diver certification

  • Submit dive logs documenting at least 12 dives with a cumulative bottom time of at least 6 hours as "diver in training"
  • Submit copies of current O2 provider certification
  • Complete Rescue diver training
  • Fulfill 100-hours requirement for training in diving safety (CPR, 1st Aid, O2 and Rescue hours count towards this), research techniques & related fields (e.g. boating, specimen collecting, quantitative techniques, organism identification, etc.). See AAUS 2009 standards for details. Scientific Diver Training session and workshops fulfill this requirement.
  • Read AAUS and SU diving safety standards
  • Take written exam

Maintaining active scientific diver status:

It is the responsibility of the scientific diver to maintain active status by filing paperwork for all requirements in a timely fashion.
Failure to do so may result in withdrawal of scientific diving privileges and denial of reciprocity to dive with other institutions.

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