Fitness to Dive
Diving is a physically demanding activity that requires adequate physical preparation.
In order to become NOAA divers, candidates must first submit a physical to be considered medically fit to dive. After that, divers must complete medical documentation annually to maintain authorization to dive. For a complete list of medical documents and when to submit them, please check the medical requirements for NOAA Divers in the diving page.
To maintain fitness to dive, it is imperative that divers recognize the need for a continual and aggressive exercise program that exceeds basic health maintenance standards.
At NOAA, immediate supervisors may grant currently authorized NOAA divers up to 3 hours per week of official time to perform aerobic and/or strength training exercises to help maintain a conditioning level sufficient to pass the annual watermanship assessment.
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Developments in medical research may impact the health, fitness, and nutritional advice that appears here. No assurance can be given that the advice contained in this site will always include the most recent findings or developments with respect to the particular material. Although we try to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, neither NOAA, the OMAO, nor any agency, officer, or employee thereof warrants the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, products, or processes disclosed herein, and shall not be held responsible for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. Portions of such information may be incorrect or out of date. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from the information or instructional videos herein does so at his or her own risk.
You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. This is particularly true if you (or your family) have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you have ever experienced chest pain when exercising or have experienced chest pain in the past month when not engaged in physical activity, smoke, have high cholesterol, are obese, or have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity. Do not start a fitness program if your physician or health care provider advises against it. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain or shortness of breath at any time while exercising you should stop immediately.
If you are in the United States and an emergency arises, call 911 immediately.
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