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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 certain federal, state, and local government employees for a fee into its courses as space permits. Classes are not open to the public.

For information about NOAA diving careers and diving opportunities for both youth and adults, please see this page.

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

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

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

Course Cost and Fees

The course fee for non-NOAA government employees for Fiscal Year 22 is $753.40 per applicant, payable to the NOAA Diving Program. The student and/or their agency are also responsible for covering all costs related to lodging, all meals, equipment, and travel. Only local, state, or federal employees who need to dive as part of their job description are permitted to attend training. Courses are not open to the public.

There is no course fee for NOAA employees.

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


  • Current CPR, AED and First Aid certification (must be from the American Red CrossAmerican Heart Association, or an equivalent course)*
  • Current Oxygen Administration For Diving Injuries certification (must be from DAN, or an equivalent course)*
  • If you are a NOAA employee, you must also have a current NOAA Diver certification

*Certification training courses can be either entirely in person, or a blended online/in person course. Online-only courses will not be accepted.

Application Package

All application materials must be RECEIVED by the NOAA Diving Center at least 60 days prior to the course start date in order to be accepted. Please see the NDP Training Google Calendar for specific deadlines. All application materials (except medical forms) should be submitted to the NDP Support Team. Incomplete application packages or forms will not be accepted. 

      1. NF 57-03-38 Training Request and Authorization Form
      2. Copies of your CPR, AED, First Aid, & Oxygen Administration certificates, valid through the end of class
        • NOAA employees only: If you are an existing NOAA Diver and if your safety certifications are current in the NOAA Dive Log, then you may omit this step.
      3. NF 57-03-09 Liability Release and Assumption of Risk Form (if you are not a NOAA employee)
      4. NF 57-03-50, 51, 52 Report of Physical Examination (Initial exam)
        • Please send medical forms directly to the NOAA Diving Medical Officer (DMO), using a secured method of transfer since as these forms contain sensitive Personally Identifiable Information (PII). 
        • All candidates must have their diving physical examinations cleared by the NOAA DMO before you can be accepted into a course. Therefore, 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.
        • NOAA employees only: If you are an existing NOAA Diver, check your NOAA Dive Log profile to see if you need to submit this form, or if you need to submit the NF 57-03-54 Annual Update instead. Your medical DMO clearance must be valid through the end of your course. If your medical is valid through the end of training, you may omit these medical forms from your application package.

Accepted Divemaster Students

After the application deadline, the NOAA Diving program makes a decision on which candidates will attend the next course. This decision is primarily based on the operational needs of NOAA. Most other government agency candidates who dive as part of their job description are accepted as space allows on a first come, first served basis. NOAA employees can view the status of their applications and materials here

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


Notice of COVID-19 Training Changes

  • For the safety of students and NOAA Diving Program staff, either proof of full vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 PCR test may be required prior to in-person training. Face masks that cover the mouth, nose, and chin will be required. More details will be available for accepted students closer to your course date.
  • We are limiting class sizes for safety. If the number of applications received exceeds class capacity, the NOAA Diving Program leadership will determine who will be enrolled based on the operational needs of NOAA and the needs of certain partners. All other qualified applicants will be placed on a waiting list.
  • All materials must be completed and submitted to get on the waiting list. NOAA employees still have priority for all courses.
  • In the event that you do not get into your desired course, we hold onto the application materials to use at a later date. Only one application package per student is necessary. However, if you are not accepted into a course for a long period of time, please note that you may need to resubmit package items before they expire to remain on the course candidate list.

If you have any quesitons or concerns during this process, please reach out to the NDP Support Team(link sends e-mail).


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Reviewed: November 3, 2022. Contact us with page issues.

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