Training and Authorization

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Training and Authorization

All persons diving under the auspices of UM/RSMAS must be authorized to do so by the UM Diving Safety Officer (DSO) and Diving Control Board (DCB), in accordance with the University of Miami/RSMAS diving policies contained in the UM/RSMAS Diving Safety Manual (DSM).

Eligibility for Research Diver Authorization

To be eligible for scientific diver training and authorization at the University 

of Miami a person must be a current student, staff, or faculty AND have a need to dive as part of their schooling, research, or work for the University.

University of Miami / RSMAS Scientific Diver Training

RSM 500: Divers who want training as a scientific diver can enroll in the MSC and RSM courses. These are the best courses offered by the University of Miami/RSMAS Diving Safety Office because of the contact hours between instructors and students. These courses are offered during the fall and spring semesters and students receive credit for completion.  Check course listings for details.

Intermediate Level Course:  Divers with previous training and between 4 – 50 open water dives must pass this course to be authorized to dive as a UM scientific diver. They will be admitted to the course upon demonstration of a need to dive and presentation of:

  1. Proof of previous training
  2. Proof of at least 4 open water dives (log book)
  3. Passing dive physical
  4. Proof of insurance for hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Upon completion of the course, the diver will be authorized as a 30ft UM Scientific Diver. Course duration and meeting times will be determined by the course participants. Contact the UM DSO for costs and other details.

Specialized Training:  Divers needing specialized training and authorization in techniques or equipment should contact the University of Miami/RSMAS Diving Safety Office for details or procedures and requirements.

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University of Miami / RSMAS Scientific Diver Evaluation

Basic Diver Checkout Procedure:  In the event a student, staff, faculty member's need for diving authorization cannot wait for the next course, and at the discretion of the DSO, he/she may be permitted to complete the Basic Diver Checkout Procedure on a one-to-one basis with the Diving Safety Officer or his/her designee. Upon completing the Basic Diver Checkout Procedure as outlined below, he/she will be authorized to dive as a UM Diver-In-Training (DIT) with special provisions to be set by the Diving Safety Officer. This individual may be required to enroll and pass the next available Intermediate Level Course.  They will be authorized to dive upon successful completion of the following:

  1. Proof of previous diver certification (certification cards)
  2. Proof of at least 4 open water dives (in a formal logbook)
  3. Proof of insurance for hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  4. Passing the dive physical
  5. Passing the swimming test (for details see section 4.10 in the DSM)
  6. Passing CPR/Oxygen Administration course
  7. Passing a pool checkout dive demonstrating basic diving skills (the pool checkout is at the Diving Safety Officers discretion for details of skills see section 4.20 in the DSM)
  8. Passing an open water checkout dive demonstrating the following:
    • hovering in mid-water (buoyancy control)
    • mask & regulator clearing
    • ditch/donn equipment u/w
    • proper entries and exits
    • BC inflation — orally and auto
    • proper descent and ascent
    • use of snorkel on the surface
    • out of air procedures buddy breathing, octopus, Emergency Swimming Ascent.

Experienced Diver Checkout Procedure: Experienced recreationally certified divers with a minimum of 50 logged dives in varying conditions must, at minimum, pass the Experienced Diver Checkout procedure to be authorized to dive. This can be done one-on-one with the Diving Safety Officer, his/her designee, or as part of a Scientific Diver course in progress. Upon completion the diver will be authorized to the Scientific Diver 30 ft level, based on the DSO’s evaluation and the diver’s past experience.

  1. Submit the following forms:
    • Dive physical signed by physician using UM/RSMAS form
    • Medical history
    • Resume form with copy of all certification cards
    • Log book with proof of at least 50 logged dives
    • Application signed by advisor (if applicable)
    • Insurance form (workman's compensation and DAN)
    • Statement of understanding
  2. Pass a written exam that includes sections on equipment, physiology, physics, dive accident management, dive tables, navigation, first aid, environment, and UM/RSMAS policies. Passing score is >80% on each section of the exam.
  3. Pass a swimming test:
    • 400 yd. swim in less than 12 minutes (first 200 yds freestyle recommended)
    • 25 yd. swim underwater on 1 breath (no push off)
    • 15 minute float and/or tread water
    • 400 yd. in mask, fins, snorkel in 8 minutes (bring your own mask, snorkel and fins) without use of hands
    • Free dive to 15 ft. & retrieve 5 lb. weight
  4. Complete an open water check out dive demonstrating:
    • Hovering in mid-water (buoyancy control)
    • Mask & regulator clearing
    • Ditch/donn equipment u/w
    • Proper entries and exits
    • BC inflation — orally and auto
    • Proper descent and ascent
    • Use of snorkel on the surface
    • Out of air procedures (buddy breathing, octopus, Emergency Swimming Ascent)
    • Compass navigation
    • Divers will also be evaluated on safe diving practices and exercising good judgment

    NOTE: The DSO may require a pool checkout dive prior to any open water diving.

  5. Current CPR/DAM certification
  6. Complete a diver rescue training class
  7. Proof of insurance for hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  8. Personal equipment inspection
  9. Complete 12 working dives with a current UM/RSMAS diver

girl diver

Visiting Scientist Authorizations to Dive under the auspices of the University of Miami / RSMAS

Visiting Scientists from AAUS Organizational Members will be allowed to dive under the auspices of the University of Miami/RSMAS scientific diving program and from UM ships upon submitting a letter of reciprocity from their institution’s Dive Officer stating:

  1. That they are currently authorized with that program
  2. Their dive physical is current
  3. They hold a current CPR & First Aid certification and have training in dive accident management
  4. They have insurance for hyperbaric oxygen therapy and are covered by their institutions/organizations workman's compensation program
  5. The UM/RSMAS Diving Safety Officer approves this diver participating in the dive operation question
  6. Pass an open water evaluation by the UM/RSMAS DSO or his/her designee

NOTE:  the UM/RSMAS Diving Safety Officer reserves the right to request additional requirements be met or information submitted.

Visiting Scientists from non-AAUS institutions must complete at a minimum the UM/RSMAS Basic Diver Checkout procedure.