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Utility Navigation

Frequently Asked Questions

Result Filters

Question

What is considered a "dive" at NOAA?

Answer

At NOAA, a dive is any time spent breathing compressed air, either underwater or in a recompression chamber, regardless of depth or time. 

Question

What needs to be in an Oxygen Kit?

Answer
  • Bag-valve mask (with line)
  • Non-rebreather mask (with line)
  • Oxygen cylinders
  • Oxygen regulator with hose and demand valve
    • Regulator must be capable of delivering oxygen to two patients
    • Demand valve must be tested annually (32-48mm Hg)

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

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.

 

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

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

What forms must I submit to be medically cleared to dive?

Answer

All NOAA Divers must submit:

You can view a comprehensive list of all required forms, training, and activities for NOAA Divers in the NDP diving page

Question

What is blue water diving?

Answer

Blue water diving occurs when divers cannot see the sea floor or other bottom landmarks during their dive. 

Question

What is over bottom diving?

Answer

Over bottom diving occurs when a diver is able to see the sea floor or bottom but it is too deep to be accessed.

Question

How often are DUSA inspections conducted?

Answer

Diving Unit Safety Assessments (DUSA) are conducted by DUSA inspectors at each diving unit site once every three years. Diving units conduct their own inspections every year and submit the results to their Unit Diving Supervisor. 

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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