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 and/or snorkelers must have, or be affiliated with, a planned or approved project before being accepted into the program and beginning underwater research. You are recommended to submit your project plan to the scientific diving officer for review and approval at least 60 days prior to your proposed start date.

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. A field safety plan may also be required.

To enquire about your eligibility to register in this program, please contact the Diving Safety Officer (DSO) via 


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

  • possess a current, nationally recognized First Aid and CPR certification, OFA level 1 or equivalent (e.g. St. John Ambulance).
  • be declared medically fit and possess an occupational diver's certificate of medical fitness issued by a licensed physician trained in diving medicine, as per WorkSafeBC.  
  • be an openwater diver with a minimum of five open water dives.  
  • possess a nationally recognized SCUBA certification (e.g. PADI).
  • be affiliated with a project.

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 via 

Training & certification

CAUS level 1 training

Once the DSO has approved your registration, the next steps to be qualified as a CAUS level 1 (20m/60ft) diver are as follows:

  • completion of the online scientific dive theory course
  • swimming/diving skills evaluation at McKinnon pool on campus
  • dive accident management training
  • oxygen administration course for divers
  • 25 ocean dives with the DSO

Please visit the Research safety training page for more information on the training schedule and expectations when joining the scientific diving training program. 

Maintaining certification

To remain a current CAUS level 1 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 level 1 qualification).
  • Be current in required qualifications (e.g. dive medical, first aid).
  • Conduct an annual check out dive with the DSO. 

Active projects

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).
  • A digital dive log (excel sheet) of the dive project must be completed and sent to the DSO before November 30.


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.

Forms & resources