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Diving Program

NOAA Divemaster

Objective: To introduce personnel to NOAA Dive Leadership and to become competent, confident, and qualified NOAA Divemasters.

Note: The NOAA Diving Program (NDP) provides training primarily to NOAA employees that are authorized by their supervisors to dive as part of their job description. However, NDP also welcomes federal, state, and local government employees for a fee into its courses as space permits. Please contact sends e-mail) for updated fees if you are not a NOAA employee. Classes are not open to the public.

Upcoming course dates can be found on the website calendar, or on this Google Calendar.

A Divemaster student performs a neurological exam on a student diver wearing an oxygen mask

A Divesmaster candidate practices performing a neurological exam during a rescue drill. 


The NOAA Divemaster course is an intensive two-week program designed to help students develop the leadership skills necessary to safely and effectively plan and supervise NOAA diving activities. During the course students receive substantial theoretical and practical instruction aimed at exposing them to a variety of equipment, tasks, situations, and environments typically encountered as NOAA Divemasters. Students are evaluated on their management of diving operations and response to emergency situations and must pass a final written examination in order to receive certification.

This class is taught concurrently with the last two weeks of the NOAA Diver course in order for the Divemaster candidates to gain practical experience in directing actual diving operations. 

Lectures/Hands-on Topics Covered:

  • Acccident Causation
  • Operational Risk Management
  • Diver Leadership, Planning & Operations
  • NOAA Dive Accident Management
  • NOAA Field Reference Guide
  • Ships Husbandry
  • NOAA/OSHA Diving Regulations
  • Lead & Supervise Dive Operations
  • Pre-dive Equipment Checks & Troubleshooting
  • Neurological Exams
  • Problem Management and Counseling
  • Line Tending of Standby Divers
  • Oxygen Administration
  • Backboarding & Spinal Immobilization
  • Use of an AED
  • Extraction practical/remove injured divers from water
  • Extract a diver, perform CPR, and Administer 100% Oxygen during diving emergencies.


2 weeks


NOAA Divemaster

Course Dates and Locations

NOAA Diver courses are typically held in January, May, and September, and are either held in Key West, or at the NDC in Seattle. 

  • January: Key West, Florida
  • May: Seattle, Washington
  • September: Seattle, Washington

Dates and locations may change at any time. The most up-to-date upcoming course dates, locations, and application deadlines can be found on the NDP Training Google Calendar.

Equipment Requirements

A full gear list will be available after acceptance, or by request.

  • Laptop or tablet to access student materials and exams online
  • Wrist watch or other timing device
  • Cutting device
  • Closed-toe shoes
  • Outdoor clothing for various weather conditions



  • Curent NOAA Diver certification
  • Current CPR, AED and first aid certificates

Application Materials

All application materials must be RECEIVED by the NOAA Diving Center at least 30 days prior to the course start date. Application forms can be requested from the the Diving Center by emailing, and all application materials (except medical forms) should be submitted to

  1. NF 57-03-38 Training Request and Authorization Form — submit at least 60 days prior to your course start date.
  2. If you are not current with your Safety Certifications in the NDL, then please submit copies of your CPR, AED & first aid certificates (these should be valid through the end of class)
  3. If you are not current with your medical in the NDL, then please also submit NF 57-03-50, 51, 52 Report of Physical Examination (send directly to the NOAA DMO*)

*Please send medical forms directly to sends e-mail) via secured method of transfer such as a password-protected PDF, or an encrypted file transfer method such as Kiteworks, since as these forms contain sensitive PII (Personally Identifiable Information). It is highly recommended that you begin the process to complete the diving medical physical exam as soon as possible to prevent delays in processing your application.

Accepted Divemaster Students

Preparing for your NOAA divemaster Class (downloadable .pdf tip sheet)


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Reviewed: August 17, 2021. Contact us with page issues.

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