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Topside Newsletter: September 2017

In this issue: TBNMS Hosts AAUS Symposium, Keeping Track of Regulations, NOAA Diver and Divemaster Classes, Website Tips, Next NDCSB Meeting, Stories from the Field.

Thunder Bay Hosts the 2017 American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Symposium

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (TBNMS) hosted the annual AAUS symposium from September 12 to 16 at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, Michigan. Read more about the event here.

Keeping Track of Regulations

As was noted in last month’s Topside, some changes have already been approved to the April 5, 2017 version of the NOAA Diving Standards and Safety Manual (NDSSM). To make it easier for everyone to keep track of the most current regulations, changes such as these will be listed in the Regulations page under the NOAA Diving Regulations heading until they are integrated into the NDSSM during the next revision. Whenever a new decision memo with changes is approved, it will also be announced on the Topside of that month. Please contact your Unit Diving Supervisor or Line Office Diving Officer if you have any questions.

a screenshot of the NOAA Diving regulations webpage

How changes are listed in the Regulations webpage.

NOAA Diver and Divemaster Classes

The NOAA Diving Center (NDC) has been busy this month training 16 new NOAA Divers and 5 NOAA Divemasters in Seattle. Although NOAA employees have preference when enrolling in classes at NDC, the training service is in demand from other government agencies. This month, in addition to 9 NOAA divers, the classes also accommodated 6 students from local fire and police departments and one U.S. Air Force physician. NOAA Divemasters represented 4 NOAA diving units and Lawrence Livermore Laboratories.

divers at the surface of tank overseeing a Lake basin

​NOAA Diver students conducted check out dives in the training tower at the NOAA Diving Center (NDC). The flamingo was recently adopted by NDC after it was found adrift in the NDC basin.

Website Tips

Did you know there are “quick links” menus to help you navigate the NOAA Diving Program (NDP) website?

  • On the homepage of the NDP website, you can click on the “locate” button at the top of the page to get a pop up menu with common links.
  • On every page, there is a static menu on the right under the heading “Diving Program Popular Content” with links to the Forms, Regulations, Training and DUSAS webpages.

screen shot of the locate submenu

A screen shot of the locate submenu.

Screen shot of the About page

Where to find commonly needed links on the NOAA Diving Program website.

Next NOAA Diving Control and Safety Board (NDCSB) Meeting

NDCSB members will be meeting on October 5, 2017 at 11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. Divers may contact to request conference call information to listen during the call.

Stories from the Field

This month, find out why NDC instructors always want to make sure your dust cap is in place. Also, be aware that DAN has reported potential problems with flexible braided hoses that are attached to regulators.

In May, some of your fellow divers participated on a mission to explore the “Sunken Heritage of Midway Atoll” to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. Read more about this historic battle, and what divers found at Midway Atoll on the Ocean Explorer blog.

We also miss hearing from you! You can always share your diving photos from your NOAA projects by sending them to We’ll post them on the NDP Facebook and/or NDP website! 

A diver examines a massive anchor underwater

NOAA Unit Diving Supervisor Jason Leonard examines a massive anchor that was discovered during a survey at Midway Atoll in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. The anchor might have belonged to a mid-19th century whaling ship.





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