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Utility Navigation

Frequently Asked Questions

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Question

Can NOAA Corps officers donate unused leave under the leave transfer program?

Answer

In 1988, Congress passed a law providing a way for federal employees to share leave. The intent is that if a federal employee - or a family member - experiences a medical emergency, and as a result misses more work days than are covered by his or her own leave, they can avoid the additional hardship of lost income by using leave hours donated by others. You can learn more about this program at the DOC Human Resources website or the NOAA Workforce Management site.

There are some exceptions to the policy. Although NOAA Corps officers are federal employees, commissioned officer leave is governed by different laws than civilian leave. NOAA Corps officer leave is therefore not included in the leave transfer program.

Question
Who should do my boat's Annual Small Boat Evaluations (ASBE)?

Answer
Annual Small Boat Evaluations (ASBE) are conducted by Vessel Operations Coordinators (VOC), Commanding Officers (CO), or their designee(s) using the approved ASBE outline and checklist.

Question

What kind of diver recall system should I get?

Answer

At this time, the NOAA Diving Program does not have a specific brand requirement. Feel free to buy one that you like. 

Question

When should NOAA Corps Officers log a dive to receive dive pay?

Answer

Dives should be logged by the 10th of the following month.  For example, to get dive pay for November, you must log your November dive by December 10th.

Question

What is Basic Officer Training Class like?

Answer

For more information click on Basic Officer Training

Question

What are Dive Orders?

Answer

In order for a NOAA Corps Officer to become authorized to dive, the officer must first receive Officer Diving Authorization or "Dive Orders." The authorization is official when the NOAA Form 56-30 Officer Diving Authorization Request is completed and signed by the officer, the officer's supervisor, and the Diving Program Manager. An Officer Diving Authorization Request form must be completed at the beginning of each fiscal year (October 1) or whenever the officer is assigned to a new diving unit. 

Question

What should be inside a NOAA Divemaster Kit?

Answer

The NOAA Diving Program requires that Diving Units keep the following items in their Divemaster Kits: (Divers should also complement these with items that are useful to the type of diving they do.)

Tools and gear that should be included in a NOAA Divemaster kit.

These are some of the items that are required to be inside a NOAA Divemaster Kit. 

  • O-rings
  • Extra fin straps and mask straps
  • Mouth pieces
  • Zip ties
  • Port plugs (high pressure and low pressure)
  • Scuba tools (things like allen wrenches for the port plugs, small adjustable wrenches to tighten hoses, screwdriver set, side cutters for zip ties, etc…)
  • Snorkel keepers
  • HP spool (a cylindrical object that creates a seal between the HP gauge and the HP hose that allows the gauge to swivel around without leaking) 

Question

When do I have to wear a RASS? 

Answer

General Guidelines

A Reserve Air Supply System (RASS) must be worn by NOAA Divers on OSHA-subject dives. In general, they are not required on dives that meet OSHA's Scientific Exemption, however, there are exceptions to this (see the "dives exempt from OSHA regulations" section below for more details). Read more about OSHA regulations on the NDP regulations page

Dives Subject to OSHA Regulations

  • Divers must always have a reserve supply of air. Divers can meet this requirement by using:
    • For depths 0-30 feet: a spare air bottle
    • For depths 0-130 feet: a RASS

Dives Exempt from OSHA Regulations (Scientific Exemption)

  • Divers must use a reserve supply of air when diving:
    • Outside of no-decompression limits
    • In overhead environments
    • In low visibility where diver cannot read his/her pressure gauge
    • In enclosed/confined spaces
    • Deeper than 100 feet
    • Line tended solo diving
    • Whenever Divemaster or Lead Diver directs divers to wear one
  • Divers can meet these requirement by using:
    • For depths 0-30 feet: a spare air bottle
    • For depths 0-130 feet: a RASS

            

Question

Where can I get more RASS bottles (13 cu ft)?

Answer

NOAA diving units can:

  • purchase Reserve Air Supply System (RASS) bottles at a local dive store
  • contact the NOAA Diving Program and we will send you as many as you need

Question

How do I wear a RASS?

Answer

The Reserve Air Supply System (RASS) is worn by NOAA Divers on their right side, as shown in the illustration below.

If a NOAA Diver wishes to use the RASS in a different configuration, a waiver request must be submitted through the diver's Unit Diving Supervisor to the Line or Staff Office Diving Officer. 

NOTE:

  • RASS cylinder valves are never to have a cap. The cap and string may interfere with opening the valve and/or removing the second stage from the bag. 
  • Don’t forget to remove RASS cylinders from the pouch to minimize cylinder oxidation. The bottom of the cylinders are especially prone to damage. 

 

Drawing of NOAA wetsuit configuration with Reserve Air Supply System

Appendix 7-1 drawing from the July 14, 2011 NOAA Working Diving Standards and Safety Manual (NWDSSM) illustrating a NOAA diver wetsuit configuration. Mask: eyes. Snorkel: left side of head. Regulator: mouth, hose over right shoulder. Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD) inflator hose: left shoulder. Inline alternate air source: left shoulder. BCD: right side. Reserve Air Supply System (RASS): right side. Whistle: left shoulder. Weight belt: waist, right hand release. Gauge console: under left arm. Fins: carried in hand. Knife: right ankle.

 

You are here: https://www.omao.noaa.gov/connect/frequently-asked-questions
Reviewed: March 30, 2015. Contact us with page issues.

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