Diving Safety

Dive Safety Committee
Jim Tuite, Chair;  Bill Utley; David Thompson 

Diving Safety

Volunteer divers conduct projects approved and supported by the Maritime Heritage Chapter (MHC) of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

Applicants for diving projects may wish to contact the MHC Diving Safety Officer (DSO) James Tuite (mhc.dive.safety@jamestuite.com) to discuss the diving safety parameters of their specific project, necessary paperwork, etc.

Be aware that Principal Investigators of all MHC-approved projects involving divers must submit a completed Archaeological Dive Plan Application
(ADPA) for approval by MHC Diving Safety Committee, preferably not less than three months before the start of diving activities.

Please download the ADPA form here (pdf).

For divers diving with the MHC under the diving safety auspices of another host institution, the MHC recommends you first contact your institution’s Diving Safety Officer (DSO) to learn more about requirements of the host institution. MHC staff will do their best to make sure that the relationship between your host institution and MHC is as seamless as possible and can assist you in determining the appropriate points-of-contact for diving safety protocols.

Also, all ADPAs should be accompanied with proof (scans or photocopies are acceptable) that each diving participant has met the following criteria:

1. Be certified at the minimum level of Open Water SCUBA Diver (or higher) by a recognized certification agency (e.g., PADI, NAUI, SSI, or BSAC). If certification was gained through another agency, the diver must petition the MHC Diving Safety Officer at least 60 days before the start of the project, for an exception.

2. A Completed Diver Experience/History Record and Contact Information form must be submitted for each diver.  These forms provide a record of the diver’s experience and training as well as emergency contact information.

3. Each diver must successfully pass a physical examination, specific to SCUBA diving, using the Medical Examination form (pdf).  The examination should be repeated as follows:

Below Age 40: Five (5) years

Age 40 to 59: Three (3) years

Age 60 and older: Two (2) years.

4. Each diver must maintain current (renewed every two years) CPR, Basic First Aid, and Oxygen Administration certifications through a recognized agency. Divers Alert Network (DAN) is the preferred agency since their training is specific to diving accidents. Online training that lacks a physical skills component is generally not acceptable to meet this requirement.

5. Each diver must maintain an insurance policy that covers diving related accidents relevant to the area in which they will be working. For divers working within the United States, Divers Alert Network (DAN) – Preferred or Master Level insurance (dependent upon the diver’s state of residence) or equivalent is sufficient.*

6. Diving equipment (e.g., BCDs,  regulators, dive computers) must be serviced annually by a dive professional, and proof of service must be made available for examination.

*DAN insurance can be reviewed and purchased online at diversalertnetwork.org or by calling DAN at 1-800-446-2671.

Individuals who fail to comply with these requirements jeopardize the MHC and its members.

If you experience difficulty meeting any of these requirements, please contact MHC DSO Jim Tuite (mhc.dive.safety@g

mhc.dive.safety@gmail.com) as soon as possible.

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