Scientific Diving Program

A VIMS diver conducts research.

The Scientific Diving Program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science has supported the VIMS Dive Team with training and equipment since 1983. As a member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, we follow AAUS Standards to safely conduct scientific diving operations. This is accomplished jointly by the VIMS Diving Control Board (DCB) and the Diving Safety Officer (DSO).

Our scientific divers often work in the environmentally challenging waters of the Chesapeake Bay and the coastal lagoons of the Delmarva Peninsula. They employ diving for a variety of projects including seagrass and oyster reef ecology, monitoring, and restoration; fish tagging and behavioral studies; coring; and other sampling programs. VIMS scientific divers also participate in collaborative projects with other AAUS organizational members nationally and internationally, by employing a framework of reciprocity as outlined in the AAUS Standards.

A single column table for formatting purposes.
Minimum Requirements

To become an AAUS Scientific Diver in Training at VIMS, candidates must:

  1. Be a supported faculty, staff, or student at VIMS or William & Mary
  2. Hold a basic open-water SCUBA Certification from an approved agency
  3. Have a current approved diving medical exam (see AAUS Standards for details)
    1. Every 5 years for those under 40 years of age
    2. Every 3 years for those between 40-60
    3. Every 2 years for those over 60
  4. Swimming/Watermanship Evaluation
    1. Swim underwater for 23 meters without surfacing
    2. Swim 366 meters in less than 12 minutes
    3. Tread water for 10 minutes, or 2 minutes without hands
    4. Transport a passive person 23 meters in the water
  5. Training 100 hours with 12 open water dives (see AAUS standards for details)
  6. First Aid, CPR, AED Training
  7. Oxygen Administration Training from DAN

For a complete list of the requirements see the AAUS Standards for Scientific Diving. Please direct any questions to the VIMS DSO.

Services for Scientific Divers at VIMS

Contact Paul Richardson (DSO) unless otherwise noted.

Verification to perform research as a Scientific Diver in Training:

  • Pool and Lake Phoenix training work (swim test, diving skills verification check out)
  • Medical verification and scheduling
  • 1st Aid CPR Training: contact Eric Fidler
  • DAN Emergency Oxygen Provider Training

VIMS Dive Plan

  • First aid and DAN Emergency Oxygen Kits
  • Tanks
  • BCDs
  • Regulators
  • Dive Flags
  • Weights