Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to almost all frequently asked questions can be found in the TAMUG Diving Safety Manual. However, several questions are worth highlighting here for rapid access by faculty, staff, parents and students.

1. What are the steps to prepare for, and successfully execute, a scientific dive plan with Texas A&M University?
Steps for diving at TAMUG:

  1. Keep your Scientific Diver file up to date with the following current certifications: (a) DAN membership and insurance, (b) First Aid, CPR, and O2 administration, (c) Scientific Diver medical (every 5 years if under 40, every 3 years if over 40), (d) Maintenance records if using personal/lab gear.
  2. Inform the Dive Safety Officer of your intent to dive as soon as possible; 2 weeks before the project is advisable.
  3. Completed the Dive Plan Submittal Form (click here) to (a) It is advisable to submit the Dive Plan at least 5 business days prior to potential diving activities.Expect a response to your submitted dive plan within 48 hours of receipt. (b) Be prepared to make corrections and re-submit, if necessary, within 24 hours of receiving feedback from the Dive Safety Officer.
  4. Complete the Form Release of Liability, Waiver of Rights, and Indemnification Agreement
  5. Obtain an airtest for compressor that will be providing your breathing gas. Airtest must be completed within 6 months for American providers, within  12 months for international providers.
  6. Last minute dive plans are generally not supported or approved, so please respect the above timelines to ensure the success of your project.

2. How do I become an AAUS Scientific Diving Instructor?
To become qualified and certified as an AAUS Scientific Diving Instructor, applicants must be:

  1. Active AAUS scientific divers;
  2. Affiliated with, and sponsored by, an AAUS Organizational Member (OM);
  3. Be a current scuba instructor with an internationally recognized training agency;
  4. The Organizational Member (OM) Dive Safety Officer (DSO) or other instructional staff member as credentialed by Texas A&M University;
  5. Instructor applicants must have attended an AAUS Dive Safety Officer orientation, or attended two (2) AAUS symposia in the past 5 years;
  6. Passed the DCB Screening process for certification and qualification;
  7. Credentialed by the Dean of Faculties, through an appropriate Department Head, to teach Scientific Diving at Texas A&M University.
  8. Click here for more information.

3. What are the requirements for the Scientific Diving swim test so I can practice on my own time?
The candidate must demonstrate the ability to pass the following in the presence of the Diving Safety Officer, an AAUS instructor, or other university-approved examiner. All tests are to be performed without swim aids, however, where exposure protection is needed, the applicant must be appropriately weighted to provide for neutral buoyancy. (Note: the outdoor pool at Texas A&M University  Galveston Campus is approximately 25 meters by 15 meters.)

  1. Swim underwater for a distance of 25 meters without surfacing.
  2. Swim 400 yards/meters in less than 12 minutes.
  3. Tread water for 10 minutes, or 2 minutes without the use of hands.
  4. Transport a passive person of equal size a distance of 25 yards/meters in the water.

4. Can I use my own SCUBA equipment for Scientific Diving at TAMUG?
Yes, but you must maintain equipment maintenance and servicing records, according to manufacturer’s specification, and be able to produce such records upon request by the Diving Safety Officer or Diving Control Board. This is particularly important for breathing gas management systems.

5. Can I check-out TAMUG-owned SCUBA equipment for Scientific Diving at TAMUG? 
Yes. Contact our Equipment Safety Officer (Sara Williams) for more information.

6. I am a faculty member that is submitting a proposal for extramural funding that will include scientific diving. What is required in the proposal to ensure compliance and successful routing through MAESTRO at the proposal-submission stage?
To be compliant for MAESTRO routing purposes, a proposal submitted for extramural funding that includes scientific diving as part of the methods should include the following statement in the ‘Methods’ section of the proposal:
“Scientific Diving will be conducting under safety standards that meet or exceed those established by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, and Texas A&M University.”
If funded, Dive Plans must still be submitted, and approved, by the Diving Safety Officer prior to the commencement of any potential diving activities.

7. How do I become a member of the Diving Control Board?
Membership to the Diving Control Board is by appointment for an annual term by the Provost of Texas A&M University Galveston Campus. Interested parties are encouraged to e-mail the current chair of the DCB for more information.