Information for Prospective Divers

Last updated on April 5, 2023 4 min read Scientific Diving & Marine Operations - Information for Prospective Divers

All individuals planning to engage in any scientific diving activities under the auspices of BU must first be authorized as a BU scientific diver. Prospective divers at BU are required to complete the required AAUS scientific diver training. The training is offered at BU as a credit course, MR533 Scientific Diving. To enroll in the course, prospective divers must submit the required forms listed below and successfully complete pool evaluations. Upon successful completion of the pool evaluations, prospective divers will be enrolled in MR533. 

Required Paperwork

Send all paperwork to the BU Dive Safety Officer at or

(1) Medical Evaluation

If you have decided to earn your scientific diving authorization, your first step should be scheduling an appointment with your physician. Each course has a deadline for turning in the required paperwork and getting your appointment scheduled on time is key to completing the pool evaluation prior to enrollment. You will not be able to complete pool evaluations without physician approval.  

Send the Medical Evaluation to your physician ahead of the appointment.

  • Appendix 1 provides an overview and list of reference material for the examining physician.  
  • Appendix 2 lists the required tests and physician’s statement. The form must be signed by an MD or DO. Signatures by RNs or Pas will not be accepted. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct signature. Otherwise, it will not be accepted, and you are responsible for going back to your physician. 
  • Appendix 3 should be filled out by you and reviewed by your physician along with the required tests. Medicals submitted with contraindications to diving may be subject to additional testing. 
  • Appendix 4 provides a list of physicians in Massachusetts with training in hyperbaric medicine. You are not required to see them and can go to your primary care provider. If you decide to see a physician from the list, it your responsibility to check your health insurance network and coverage.  

Scientific diving researchers listed on an approved IBC or IACUC protocol will require a medical clearance from BU’s Research Occupational Health Program (ROHP). Learn more, or contact ROHP with any questions at 617-358-7647 or

(2) Medical Release

Complete the Medical Release

(4) Scientific Diving Program Application

BU Scientific Diving Program Application  

Complete the form including your information, Emergency Contact, and Overview of Diving Experience. If you are coming from another AAUS institution, please provide the Institution and Program information. Contact your Diving Safety Officer and have them send a Verification of Training and complete training record to the BU Diving Safety Officer. 

(5) Scientific Diving Program Waiver

The Scientific Diving Program Waiver is required for students.  

(6) Copies of C-Cards and Dive Logs

Provide copies or scans of your dive certification cards and dive logs. Dive logs meeting the minimum dive experience and recency requirements listed below must be provided. 

Pictures and image files will not be accepted.  

(7) Diving Experience Pre-requisites

  • A minimum entry level certification that meets ISO standards for autonomous diver such as PADI Open Water and NAUI SCUBA Diver. 
  • Certifications that require supervision according to ISO standards do not meet the minimum pre-requisites for MR533. Certifications requiring supervision include PADI Scuba Diver, NAUI Tandem Scuba Diver, NAUI Try Scuba Diver, and NAUI Passport Diver.  
  • An additional 12 dives beyond the entry level certification dives are required and six dives must be logged within the last year.  

Required Pool Evaluations

You will contacted by the Diving Safety Officer to schedule two pool evaluations after you have successfully submitted all required paperwork. 

(1) Swim Evaluation

Swim evaluations will be scheduled for one hour at a time at FitRec’s diving well. Plan to be on the pool deck with swimsuit and swim goggles. No other swim aids are allowed. The AAUS swim test includes: 

  • 400 yd swim in 12 minutes or less 
  • 25 yd swim underwater. 1 breath and no push off from the wall 
  • 25 yd tired swimmer transport 
  • 10 minute tread water, last 2 minutes without the use of hands. 

    Upon successful completion of the swim evaluation, you will be contacted to schedule a second pool session to complete a SCUBA Skills Checkout Dive. 

    (2) SCUBA Skills Pool Checkout

    The second pool session be scheduled for 2-hour time blocks at FitRec’s diving well. You are required to provide the following gear: 

    • Mask 
    • Booties
    • Heel Strap Fins – no full foot fins 
    • Wetsuit suitable for the pool is strongly encouraged if you have one to stay warm. If you do not have a wetsuit, a minimum of a rash guard or t-shirt you can wear in the pool is required to protect against BC straps. 

      The skills checkout will be conducted with Boston University Scientific Diving Program gear. There will be an introduction and orientation to gear fitting, sizing, configuration, assembly, and a review of skills performance and expectations.  

      MR533 Scientific Diving Course

      Upon successful completion of the SCUBA skills checkout, prospective divers will be enrolled in MR533 Scientific Diving.  

      MR533 Scientific Diving is a fast paced and intensive course that requires divers to have strong basic diving skills to begin to build on those skills and safely start task loading.  

      Scientific Dive Plans

      Prior to conducting any scientific diving operations under the auspices of BU, the lead diver for a proposed operation must formulate a dive plan and submit it to the Diving Safety Officer (via for review and approval at least ten (10) business days in advance of the date of the planned dive for dives planned in New England and at least thirty (30) days in advance of the planned dive for all other locations.

      See Section 2.20 Pre-Dive Procedures for more information or contact the DSO at

      More Information

      Questions about scientific diving safety standards or becoming a BU scientific diver may be directed to the BU Scientific Diving Safety Officer (DSO) at

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