Scientific diving

The scientific diving program is based on the Canadian Association of Underwater Science (CAUS) standards.  This program assists researchers in safely performing underwater studies using the various forms of diving as a scientific tool.   

The scientific diving program is outlined in the UVic Scientific Diving Safety Manual for Open Water Diving.

All scientific divers must have, or be affiliated with, an approved project before being accepted into the program and beginning underwater research.  The boating safety program should also be reviewed for training and regulatory requirements if your diving project will involve a UVic or non-UVic owned boat.

To register in this program, please contact the Diving Safety Officer (DSO), .

In order to participate in scientific diving you must have the following pre-requisites:  

  • Be an openwater diver with a minimum of five open water dives.  
  • Possess a nationally recognized SCUBA certification (e.g. PADI).
  • Possess a current, nationally recognized First Aid and CPR certification, OFA level 1 or equivalent (e.g. St. John Ambulance).
  • Be declared medically fit to dive by a licensed physician trained in diving medicine, as per WorkSafeBC.  

The following documents must also be completed and reviewed by the Diving Safety Officer (DSO):

  1. Diver registration form 
  2. Diver waiver form

Please submit your completed forms to the DSO,


Once the DSO has approved your registration, the next steps to be qualified as a Level 1 (20m/60ft) or Level 2 (40m/130ft) diver are as follows:

NOTE:  face-to-face training is currently postponed due to CoViD-19.  Online training for the scientific diving program is still available. 

CAUS level 1

  • Completion of the scientific dive theory course
  • Dive accident management training
  • Oxygen administration for divers
  • Swimming/diving skills evaluation (pool)
  • Ocean dives  

CAUS level 2

  • You must be current in all certifications requirements.
  • Be a current CAUS Level I
  • Complete a CAUS Level II exam with a minimum grade of 80%
  • Plan and execute a minimum of four scientific dives deeper than 20m, with at least one being to 40m.  Dives will be under the direct supervision of the DSO.

Please visit the Research safety training page for enrollment in courses.

Maintaining certification

To remain a current CAUS diver, you must:

  • Log a minimum of 12 dives during any 12 month period (at least one dive must be to the depth of prescribed qualification (Level 1, Level 2)).
  • Be current in required qualifications (e.g. dive medical, first aid).
  • Conduct an annual check out dive with the DSO. 

Projects that have been approved must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The diver-in-charge is responsible for confirming that all divers have completed their personal logs books daily.  Log books must be in compliance with WSBC requirements.
  • Daily dive plans, with pre & post-brief details and diver sign offs, must be completed for each day of diving conducted during the project. These must be scanned and provided to the DSO within one month of the project completion.  A template is provided which can be modified as required for the specific project (see Daily dive plan).  
  • A daily log must be kept of the day's activities. These logs must be scanned and sent to the DSO within one month of the annual dive project completion (see Daily dive log).
  • An excel sheet of the dive project must be completed within one month of the dive project completion (to be provided to you by DSO).

Visiting divers from other CAUS member organizations, or those of the American Association of Underwater Sciences (AAUS), may be eligible to dive at UVic by providing a letter of reciprocity (LOR) from their home institute's DSO.  

  1. Provide a letter of reciprocity (LOR) from your home institution to .  UVic's DSO will assess your credentials.
    • Please provide a minimum of 30 days notice to the DSO if you are looking to dive under an LOR. 
  2. Divers must provide UVic's DSO with a copy of a dive medical.
    • The expiry dates of dive medicals is considered to be that as mandated by WorkSafeBC (2 years expiry if your age is <40 yrs, 1 year expiry if your age is >40 yrs), regardless of the expiry dates stipulated by the governing body of the diver (e.g. AAUS). 
  3. Visiting divers will need to complete the Standards and DCIEM components of the CAUS Scientific Diving Theory course.
  4. Visiting divers may need to complete the Dive Accident Management training course.
  • Join the Facebook group CAUS British Columbia - a forum to provide the opportunity to share experiences and provide dive assistance to dive programs in the province of B.C.