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Diver

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Drawing of NOAA wetsuit configuration with Reserve Air Supply System
July 14, 2011
Media: Image
Frequently Asked Question

When do I have to wear a RASS? 

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

            

Frequently Asked Question

What needs to be in an Oxygen Kit?

  • 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)
Frequently Asked Question

What is considered a "dive" at NOAA?

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

Frequently Asked Question

What is the purpose of the Annual Medical History form?

The Annual Medical History form, or NF 57-03-54 Report of Medical History - Annual Update, is used to report changes in your medical condition within the past year. If you have reported a medical condition in the past that has not changed, you do not need to describe it in detail again.

Frequently Asked Question

I just submitted my Annual Medical History 3 months ago and now I am getting messages that it is past due.  Why?

The Dive Management System (DMS) is programmed to prevent long gaps between Annual Medical History (or NF 57-03-54 Report of Medical History - Annual Update) submissions, so if you submit a report too early it will want another one in the month it was actually due. It is best to wait until the month it is due to submit the report, otherwise you will have to complete another form. 

Frequently Asked Question

When is my Annual Medical History due?

The Annual Medical History (otherwise known as NF 57-03-54 Report of Medical History - Annual Update) is due once a year on the same month that your last physical was conducted, regardless of when it was submitted to the Diving Program.  Please note that your birth month is also not relevant to the due date. The key here is that your annual history should be completed and submitted annually on the same month that your physician performed your last physical.

Frequently Asked Question

What is an OSHA-subject Dive? What is an OSHA-exempt Dive?

Any dive that you are doing as part of your job must follow OSHA regulations. However, if the dive is conducted for the advancement of science it may fall under the Scientific Exemption. To find out if a dive qualifies for a scientific exemption, you must review the criteria set forth by OSHA and answer a set of basic questions. You can find this information and more in the Diving Program regulations page.

Two divers inside the NOAA diving training tank
October 9, 2015
Media: Image
Physicians operate a hyperbaric chamber while instructors observe them.
October 14, 2015
Media: Image

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