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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become an AAUS certified diver? Does AAUS offer classes directly?

How does the AAUS certification work when you are no longer part of a specific institution (e.g., university), and you become an individual (e.g., I got my AAUS certificate as a graduate student and now that I graduated and I am no longer a student)?

What are the qualifications of a certified AAUS DSO?

Does AAUS offer any DSO training?

What are the criteria to become an Organizational Member of AAUS?

How do I begin the Organizational Member application process?

How do I log into my Individual or Organizational Member account?

How do I edit my IM or OM account profile?

How do I change the composition of my Diving Control Board?

Who should I choose as my OM Representatives?


How do I become an AAUS certified diver? Does AAUS offer classes directly?

One of the common misunderstandings about AAUS is that, unlike the traditional recreational diving model, it is not a certifying agency. It provides consensual standards for safe diving to the member organizations which, in turn, train and qualify the divers under their oversight. Generally speaking, this requires some kind of affiliation with the organizational member because of workman's comp and other insurance issues but if you can get past that, then a 100 hr. training course in advanced techniques which includes 12 dives, usually offered by the organizational member, is required to become a scientific diver. Click here to view a list of current organizational members.


How does the AAUS certification work when you are no longer part of a specific institution (e.g., university), and you become an individual (e.g., I got my AAUS certificate as a graduate student and now that I graduated and I am no longer a student)?

The DCB of your employer oversees your diving through the DSO. When you are no longer employed by or the student of the organizational member you become, in effect, an orphan until employed by another organizational member. Full Individual Members of AAUS must demonstrate that they have been trained as scientific divers but do not necessarily enjoy the privileges of organizational members, mostly because there is no guarantee of oversight. This differs from the recreational model where you are credentialed for life by the organization. AAUS was formed in response to OSHA's ability to regulate scientific diving because of the employee/employer relationship in scientific diving and so the responsibility is properly vested in the organization/employer.


What are the qualifications of a certified AAUS DSO?

AAUS is a professional organization that sets minimum standards for safe scientific diving. One of those standards is that organizational members must have a DSO. It is a job description, however, rather than a certification; the actual title is conferred by the employer.

Our current minimum requirements for a dive safety officer are listed in the Standards.

Diving Safety Officer Description
The Diving Safety Officer (DSO) serves as a member of the Diving Control Board (DCB). This person should have broad technical and scientific expertise in research related diving.

Qualifications

  • Shall be appointed by the responsible administrative officer or designee, with the advice and counsel of the Diving Control Board.
  • Shall be trained as a scientific diver.
  • Shall be a full member as defined by AAUS.
  • Shall be an active underwater instructor from an internationally recognized certifying agency.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Shall be responsible, through the DCB, to the responsible administrative officer or designee, for the conduct of the scientific diving program of the membership organization. The routine operational authority for this program, including the conduct of training and certification, approval of dive plans, maintenance of diving records, and ensuring compliance with this standard and all relevant regulations of the membership organization, rests with the Diving Safety Officer.
  • May permit portions of this program to be carried out by a qualified delegate, although the Diving Safety Officer may not delegate responsibility for the safe conduct of the local diving program.
  • Shall be guided in the performance of the required duties by the advice of the DCB, but operational responsibility for the conduct of the local diving program will be retained by the Diving Safety Officer.
  • Shall suspend diving operations considered to be unsafe or unwise.

Does AAUS offer any DSO training?
AAUS has run an orientation to AAUS standards course for newly hired DSOs in conjunction with its annual symposium for several years now but it is geared more toward someone who has been hired as a DSO for an organizational member than training instructors to be DSOs. The intent is to shorten the learning curve for new DSOs to operate effectively within the AAUS standards. Because of the the greatly increased number of organizational members and their need to hire DSOs, AAUS is considering expanding DSO requirements, training and credentialing but these efforts are still in draft form.


What are the criteria to become an Organizational Member of AAUS?

An Organizational Member is any public or private research or educational organization or institution that:

  • has adopted a diving safety program and Manual for Diving Safety that meets or exceeds the Scientific Diving Standards of the AAUS,
  • agrees to submit for prior approval by the Diving Standards Committee of the AAUS, all proposed changes or modifications to that diving safety program or that Manual of Diving Safety,
  • agrees to adopt promptly and adhere to the diving standards and procedures established from time to time by the AAUS,
  • agrees to report promptly diving accidents on forms provided by the AAUS,
  • agrees to accommodate on-site visitations from time to time by authorized representatives of the AAUS, evaluating modes of diving, diving equipment, maintenance and general operating procedures, and other scientific diving policies, standards, programs and practices,
  • agrees to submit a listing of their Diving Safety Officer(s) and diving control board members to the AAUS (AAUS policy requires that all members of an OM DCB must submit Individual Membership applications and a majority of your DCB must qualify for and be listed as Full Members).

How do I begin the Organizational Member application process?

The AAUS Organizational Member (OM) application can be accessed by selecting "Join/Application/Organizational" from the top menu bar. An email address is required to begin the application. This email address must be different than one previously used for an Individual Member application. The first page of the OM application contains instructions specific to the application process and other preliminary information for the applying OM.


How do I log into my Individual or Organizational Member account?

Logging into an IM or OM account requires use of the username and password for that specific account. IM and OM accounts are separate, and require separate usernames and passwords. Contact Membership if you have lost or forgotten your username and password.


How do I edit my IM or OM account profile?

Once logged into your IM or OM account, you can edit the profile by clicking on the "Edit Profile" link from your member menu on the right, or on your member home page. A form with all your member profile information will appear. Once your information is edited correctly, click "Save".


How do I change the composition of my Diving Control Board?

Your Diving Control Board can be edited on your "Edit Profile" page.  Once logged into your Organizational account, you can access this page by clicking on the "Edit Profile" link from your member menu on the right, or on your member home page. A form with all your member profile information will appear. Once your information is edited correctly, click "Next". Now a screen will appear with all members of your Diving Control Board. Here you can add or remove members from your board.  Once this page is accurate, click next, and you will have the oppurtunity to edit the profiles of each member. Once you've edited and review the profiles of each member, you can review your own account and save the settings.


Who should I choose as my OM Representatives?

OM Representatives serve as the voice of your OM in the AAUS community. As a portion of your OM Membership, OM Reps will be awarded Full Voting Membership (FVM) in the Academy if they qualify. If your listed OM Reps do not qualify as Full Members your institution will lose one or more votes in AAUS business. Refer to "Join/Application/Organizational", "Join/Levels" for additional information.



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