Standardized Equipment Program
NOAA Diving Center instructor Bill Gordon (left) with NOAA Diver students in Panama City, Florida, where winter classess are conducted. The students are wearing equipment issued by the Standardized Equipment Program. Behind them is a NOAA Divemaster candidate.
The Standardized Equipment Program (SEP) is the centralized maintenance and distribution program for open circuit diving equipment at NOAA.
The Standardized Equipment Program ensures NOAA divers are adequately equipped to accomplish their missions safely, efficiently, and effectively. Standardization maximizes diver safety by ensuring that the life support equipment used by NOAA divers nationwide is alike in functionality and configuration and consistent with their NOAA Diver training.
To be eligible to receive gear from the SEP, a diver must be a NOAA employee or a long term NOAA-contract employee (i.e., a year or more) and have NOAA Diver certification. The Unit Diving Supervisor (UDS) for each site enrolls qualified divers into the program.
Please contact your UDS or the NOAA Diving Center for more information on becoming a NOAA diver.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have successfully completed diving training and have been certified as a NOAA Diver, so how do I get my gear?
In order to request equipment from the SEP, divers should submit the following forms:
- SEP Measurement Form (NOAA Form 57-03-65)
- SEP Transaction Form (NOAA Form 57-03-66)
- SEP User Agreement (NOAA Form 57-03-67)
Each form must then be reviewed, signed and submitted by the diver’s Unit Diving Supervisor (UDS) to SEP.NDC@noaa.gov.
I just got an e-mail notification that says I have one or more pieces of SEP equipment that is due for service. What gives?
Each diver is accountable for the care and condition of the SEP equipment issued to them and all regulators (primary, RASS, and alternate air sources), depth gauges, pressure gauges, and BCD inflators must be returned to the SEP for overhaul and/or testing annually. Although equipment service dates are tracked by the NOAA Dive Management System (DMS), it is the diver’s responsibility to be aware of the equipment maintenance schedule and ensure equipment is returned to the SEP for servicing prior to its annual service date (whether sent directly or through the Unit Diving Supervisor).
The following equipment must be sent back to the Standardized Equipment Program (SEP) office for annual service:
- Primary regulator first stage and second stages with pressure gauge, UWATEC, and LP inflator hose
- Reserve Air Supply System (RASS) regulator first and second stages with pressure gauge
- Alternate Air Source with Buoyancy Compensator connector (remove from BCD at shoulder)
The most convenient way to safely pack the items for shipping is to put them in your regulator bag.
All maintenance and repair of this equipment is performed or coordinated by the SEP office and is tracked in the DMS.
Can I use my SEP equipment for dives that are not "official"?
NOAA divers may use SEP-issued equipment on off-duty dives in order to maintain a high level of diving proficiency. Using the same diving configuration increases the diver’s familiarity with the controls and function of their equipment, develops muscle memory needed to react automatically during emergencies, and promotes physical fitness.
Before divers are allowed to use SEP equipment on off-duty dives, they must first complete:
- NOAA Form 57-03-69, 70, NOAA-Owned Diving Equipment Off-Duty User Agreement (which includes the agreement and release of liability)
Copies of these documents shall be maintained at the diving unit by the UDS.
Divers should record all off-duty dives using SEP equipment as "Training/Proficiency" and "Off-Duty" dives in the DMS. Authority for allowing divers to use SEP equipment on off-duty dives rests with the UDS. However, the NOAA Diving Program Manager, Line Office Diving Officer (LODO) / Staff Office Diving Officer (SODO), or UDS may revoke this approval for cause at any time. Maximum depth and tasks authorized may be limited by the Diving Program Manager, LODO/SODO, or UDS based on review of the diver’s resume and dive logs.
What happens if my gear is lost, stolen or damaged?
Lost, Stolen or Damaged Equipment should be reported to the Unit Diving Supervisor and SEP Coordinator as soon as possible. The UDS, along with the diver, should conduct an initial investigation into lost or damaged SEP equipment on site, then review and report findings using NOAA Form 57-03-72, SEP Review of Property. This report should be submitted to the SEP Coordinator along with a copy of the police report (where applicable).
What are the UDS responsibilities regarding their units' SEP equipment?
The UDS ensures all diving equipment is maintained in a safe operating condition and is in compliance with annual service requirements. Unit Supervisors have access to the on-line equipment inventory records of all unit divers to help them track inventory, maintenance and repairs.
The UDS ensures all diving equipment is maintained in a safe operating condition and is in compliance with annual service requirements. Unit Supervisors have access to all Unit Divers on-line equipment inventory records to help them track inventory, maintenance and repairs.
Are there costs to the unit associated with the issue of SEP equipment?
The Standardized Equipment Program is funded solely by the diving units it serves. Divers are assessed an “enrollment” fee when they complete training and are issued their initial set of gear. after that, an annual assessment is charged every year to cover the cost of maintenance and replacement gear.
I am leaving employment with NOAA, my contract with NOAA is ending, or I am transferring to a new position or billet that will not require me to dive. What do I do with my SEP-issued equipment?
When a diver leaves NOAA service, is transferred, or is no longer actively diving, all the equipment issued to that diver needs to be returned immediately to the SEP office. This is generally facilitated by the UDS or vessel Divemaster, but ultimately the diver is responsible for the safe return of their gear. Charges to the unit will continue to accrue for equipment not returned and the diver will remain accountable for their equipment until it is received by the SEP. The use of SEP equipment by inactive divers is prohibited.