6.01u Commercial Diving Operations

Document Type: Regulation
Number: 6.01u
Effective: 4-26-21
Legal References: 29 C.F.R



Parks and Recreation employees may have to conduct underwater diving operations to perform assigned work. This regulation will establish the minimum requirements to safely perform such assigned work.

This regulation applies to all employees who are assigned to complete SCUBA diving Mode I and Mode II SCUBA operations.


This regulation will identify general methods for eliminating or controlling hazards, safeguarding divers, and for regulating diving and related support operations.
Surface Supplied Air diving operations are prohibited by city employees. City SCUBA diving operations shall not exceed depths of 35 feet. For other SCUBA Operation limitations see section X. Scuba Diving Procedures. Fire Department personnel shall refer to their internal procedures for dive operations.


A. Bottom Time: The total elapsed time measured in minutes from the time when the diver leaves the surface in descent to the time that the diver begins ascent.
B. Decompression Chamber: A pressure vessel for human occupancy such as a surface decompression chamber, closed bell, or deep diving system used to decompress divers and to treat decompression sickness.
C. Decompression Sickness: A condition with a variety of symptoms which may result from gas or bubbles in the tissues of divers after pressure reduction.
D. Decompression Table: A profile or set of profiles of depth-time relationships or ascent rates and breathing mixtures to be followed after a specific depth time exposure or exposures.
E. Dive Team: Divers and support employees involved in a diving operation, including the designated person-in-charge.
F. Diver: An employee working in water using underwater apparatus which supplies compressed breathing gas at the ambient pressure.
G. Diving Mode: A type of diving requiring specific equipment, procedures and techniques (SCUBA, surface-supplied air, or mixed gas). Mode I – untethered buddy diving; Mode II- tethered, buddy diving; Mode II- tethered, single diver.
H. Hyperbaric Conditions: Pressure conditions in excess of surface pressure.
I. Liveboating: The practice of supporting a surfaced-supplied air or mixed gas diver from a vessel which is underway.
J. No-decompression Limits: The depth-time of the “no-decompression limits and repetitive dive group designation table for no-decompression air dives”,
U.S. Navy Diving Manual or equivalent limits which the employer can demonstrate to be equally effective.
K. Treatment Table: A depth-time and breathing gas profile designed to treat de-compression sickness.
L. Umbilical: The composite hose bundle between a dive location and a diver, which supplies the diver with breathing gas, communications, power, or heat as appropriate to the diving mode or conditions and includes safety line between the diver and the dive location.


A. Each diver must:

1. Be at least 18 years of age.
As part of the initial diver certification, complete a divers medical questionnaire to determine individual's fitness to dive.

2. Complete an annual test of diver physical fitness as defined by city requirements (see section IX. Training).

3. Complete and maintain diving training and certifications as defined by city requirements (see section IX. Training).

B. Safe Practices Manual

Any department involved in diving operations shall develop and maintain a Safe Practices Manual. The Safe Practices Manual shall be made available at the dive location to each dive team member. The Safe Practices Manual shall contain a copy of this regulation and a copy of the OSHA Commercial Diving Operations Standard, Subpart T. For SCUBA Diving Mode, the safe practices manual shall include the following:

• Safety procedures and checklists for diving operations.
• Assignments and responsibilities of the dive team members.
• Equipment procedures and checklists; and
• Emergency procedures for fire, equipment failure, adverse environmental conditions, and medical illness and injury.


Diving activities can place a physiological strain on the human body that varies with the type and duration of underwater work being completed. Prior to engaging in diving operations, the employee shall complete the necessary portions of the Divers Medical Evaluation Questionnaire (Exhibit A). The questionnaire is used to determine if the employee is physically able to perform work and use the equipment selected. After completing the questionnaire, the employee shall drop off or mail the questionnaire to the city’s preferred provider or personal physician for review. The chosen provider will evaluate the questionnaire and provide Risk and Safety with a medical opinion on the employee’s ability to participate in dive operations. If an employee initially is not cleared to participate in dive operations, a follow-up medical examination will be conducted by a health care professional with the City’s preferred provider or employee’s personal physician that includes any tests, consultation, or diagnostic procedures that are deemed necessary to make a final determination whether or not the employee can safely participate in dive operations. It will be the employee’s responsibility to schedule the follow-up medical examination. The department will cover the cost of the initial examination and follow-up medical examination (if required) only if the employee uses the city’s preferred medical provider. Risk and Safety will forward results of the medical questionnaire to the employee and the dive team leader in accordance with on-site record keeping requirements.

Divers will have to complete the Divers Medical Evaluation Questionnaire at the following intervals:

• Initially, prior to participating in dive training and/or dive operations.
• At one-year intervals (annually) thereafter; and
• After any injuries, hyperbaric treatments, or any episode of unconsciousness related to diving activities. Medical removal or suspension from diving should be based on a physician written report whether the diver is medically fit or unfit for diving.


Each dive team member should be assigned tasks in accordance with the employee’s experience or training. Employees undergoing training should be assigned limited duties under the direct supervision of an experienced dive team member. Dive operation specific duties shall be outlined in the diving operation pre-job brief of the scuba diving checklist and dive hazard analysis form.

A. Diver
A qualified diver performing underwater activities relating to the dive operation. Diver responsibilities are as follows:

• Completing dive operations in accordance with the city’s safe practice manual.
• Reporting to the dive team leader any issues or safety concerns related to the diving operation including report of any injuries.
• Conducting pre and post diving inspections of diving equipment.
• Conducting dive operations within his or her scope of experience and training.

B. Dive Team Leader
An appropriately qualified diver designated by the dive team as the dive team leader for each dive or series of dives. Dive team leader responsibilities are as follows:

• The dive team leader shall be at the dive location during the diving operation and shall not be stationed at another dive location.
• Managing the diving operation of the team.
• Ensuring all divers are qualified and all certifications and training are up to date for each member of the dive team.
• Preparing and reviewing the safety practices manual and pre-dive briefing and hazard analysis with the dive team.
• Ensuring the safety of the dive team and reporting any diving related injuries.
• Maintaining dive logs for the dive team.

C. Standby Diver
An appropriately qualified diver, who is part of the dive team and has the level of experience and training with the assigned diving operation. The standby diver shall have their diving gear at the dive location, setup and ready for use.

D. Dive Tender
A surface support person responsible for:

• Handling a single diver’s umbilical and for maintaining voice and/or standard line signal communications.
• Monitoring surface conditions, such as weather, current, river flow, recreational vessel traffic, the public, and any other potential hazards that might disrupt or jeopardize the dive operation.

Note: Commercial SCUBA air diving with one (1) diver in the water requires a minimum of three (3) dive team members:

1. A designated person-in-charge/Dive Team Leader
2. A Standby Diver
3. Line-tended Diver

A dive tender who is a qualified diver can be the standby diver; for a three-person dive-team, the Dive Team Leader would assume tending duties when the standby diver is in the water. A Dive Team Leader also can be the standby diver, provided that: (1) he/she is a qualified diver, and (2) another dive-team member at the dive location is trained and capable of performing necessary Dive Team Leader functions while the Dive Team Leader is in the water as the standby diver.

Commercial SCUBA air diving with two (2) divers in the water requires a minimum of four (4) dive team members:

1. A designated person-in-charge/Dive Team Leader
2. A Standby Diver
3. Two Divers*

*The two (2) divers must be in continuous visual contact with each other or line- tended from the surface. Each diver requires a tending line to the surface if they are required to work against a current exceeding 1 knot.


For Decompression Sickness
In case of Emergency call 911

St. Luke’s Clinic – Wound and Hyperbaric
600 N. Robbins Rd.
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 489-5800
St. Luke’s Clinic – Wound and Hyperbaric
3277 E. Louise Dr.
Meridian, ID 83642
(208) 489-5800
St. Al’s Clinic – Wound and Hyperbaric Medicine
1055 N. Curtis Road
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 302-0800
St. Al’s Clinic – Wound and Hyperbaric Medicine
4400 E. Flamingo Ave. #120
Nampa, Idaho 83687
(208) 302-0860
United States Coast Guard, District 13, Seattle, WA
National Response Center (800) 424-8802


Dive team members are required to use city provided dive equipment, use of personal dive equipment is not permitted. In addition to pre-dive and post-dive inspections, all diving equipment used by a diver must be professionally inspected by a qualified technician on an annual basis according to OSHA and dive industry standards and/or manufacturers' requirements. The dive team leader or designee should use the city’s current computerized maintenance management/work order system (i.e. VueWorks) to track and store preventative maintenance documentation, equipment inspection documentation, oxygen cylinder refill air sample results etc. Each item of diving life support equipment must have a unique identity (number or designation) so the results of servicing or inspection can be documented.

All dive equipment shall be stored in a manner that will prevent damage. Oxygen cylinders shall be stored in a ventilated area which is protected from excessive heat. Cylinders shall be stored in an upright position and secured to prevent accidental tip- over.

Oxygen Cylinders (Tanks)
The following maintenance is required on all cylinders:

• Rinse tanks and valves after each dive
• Hydrostatic test every five (5) years by a certified facility. Cylinder must be stamped with the date of the last hydro.
• Have an internal visual inspection at intervals not to exceed 12 months.
• Aluminum cylinders shall be visually checked for cracks in the threaded neck area annually.
• Tank valves and manifolds must be inspected and functionally tested annually and overhauled every five (5) years or more often as indicated by inspection, failure, or function test. “J” valves should be function tested annually.
• Whenever a valve is installed on a cylinder, ensure the burst disk is rated for that cylinder pressure.
• Never lubricate or allow oil or grease to get on oxygen connections. Lubricants, cleaning solvents, sealants, threading compounds, etc. shall be oxygen compatible. Refer to the city’s compressed gas cylinder safety regulation (Compressed Gas 6.01e) on working with oxygen tanks.

Submersible Pressure Gauges and Consoles
Each depth gauge shall be tested or calibrated against a master reference gauge every 12 months and whenever there is a discrepancy greater than two percent (2%) of full scale between any two equivalent gauges.


A. Each diver must:

1. While employed with the city, complete a dive course and be certified by a nationally recognized dive program and/or agency (i.e. PADI, NAUI). If an employee has a previous dive certification; the employee must complete a dive course or have an official PADI audit completed. The Dive Team Leader will establish additional training requirements (i.e. Lock Out Tag Out) as necessary to ensure that divers are qualified to safely perform their assignment.

2. Complete a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR/AED) course, comparable to American Red Cross or American Heart Association Adult CPR, and a nationally recognized first aid course. Certifications must be current at the time of dive. Additional emergency medical service training in oxygen administration is required.

3. Complete a minimum of four (4) logged dives in a twelve (12) month period with at least one dive in a six-month period. The dive must be in the mode(s) of diving for which he or she is qualified. At least one dive shall be done under the supervision of the dive team leader or designee every twelve (12) months.

4. Complete a minimum of 40 hours of diving-related training over any two year period.

5. Have the experience and/or training necessary to perform assigned tasks in a safe and healthful manner including the use of tools, equipment and systems relevant to assigned tasks.

6. One member of the dive team shall have dive rescue training and certification and it must be kept current with recommended periodic refresher training every two years. The dive team member with the rescue training and certification shall serve as the standby diver during a dive operation.

7. One member of the dive team shall have swift water rescue training and it must be kept current with any required refresher training. The dive team member with the swift water rescue training shall serve as the standby diver during a dive operation. This training is required only for diving operations in flowing water and not required for diving operations in ponds or swimming pools.

8. Have the experience and/or training regarding the assigned diving mode, diving operations and emergency procedures.


Because a SCUBA diver has a limited breathing supply, does not usually have voice communication, and often is not monitored or controlled by surface-support personnel, the limits of this mode of diving are more stringent than for other diving modes. Diving procedures shall be created and covered in the Diving Safety Manual Checklist by the Dive Team Leader.

A. Limitations

1. SCUBA diving shall not be conducted:

• The cleaning (dredging) or repair beneath the wave shapers air bladders, hydraulic panels, and associated underwater machinery is strictly prohibited. This work shall be completed by a contractor.
• One hour before sunset and one hour before sunrise.
• At depths greater than 35 feet
• Against currents exceeding one (1) knot unless line tended
• Ice covered water
• Water temperatures less than 40degrees
• In Confined Spaces

B. Dive Procedures

1. A diver-carrier reserved breathing gas supply for each
diver is not required as dives will not be greater than 35 feet.
2. A standby diver shall be available while a diver is in the water
3. A diver shall be line-tended from the surface, or accompanied by another diver in the water in continuous visual contact during the diving operation.

C. Pre-dive procedures should include and cover the following:

1. Emergency Aid
2. First Aid Kit
3. Planning and Assessment
4. Hazardous Activities
5. Employee Briefing
6. Equipment Inspection
7. Warning Signal

D. Procedures During Dive should include and cover the following:

1. Water Entry and Exit
2. Communications
3. Decompression Tables
4. Dive Profiles
5. Hand-Held Power Tools and Equipment
6. Welding and Burning
7. Explosives
8. Termination of Dive

E. Post Dive Procedures should include and cover the following:

1. Precautions
2. Recompression Capability
3. Record of Dive
4. Decompression Procedure Assessment


It is the city’s policy not to plan or perform decompression diving. In the event of an emergency scenario where the no-decompression limit is exceeded due to entrapment, entanglement, or any other unforeseen events, in-water decompression is permitted in order to avoid injury to the diver(s). The U.S. Navy based Standard Decompression Table shall be used to calculate decompression depths and times.
NOTE: Because of the reduced atmospheric pressure at altitude, the no- decompression limits be adjusted for dives above 1000 feet elevation.


Repetitive diving is a routine procedure in SCUBA. Tables shall be followed to determine a diver’s repetitive group. Repetitive dives are those dives made after 10 minutes and less than 12 hours after a diver reaches surface. The diver and the dive team leader must know a diver’s repetitive group at all times. When planning repetitive dives, every effort shall be made to dive deep first, then make subsequently shallower repetitive dives. United State Navy based tables should be used.


When diving from surfaces other than vessels such as docks, dikes, and dams, a required warning signal shall be deployed. The warning signal shall be a ridged replica of the international code Flag A and must be at least three (3) feet in height.


A. Physically Confined Space Diving

Confined space dives shall not be permitted.

B. Water Conditions

Dive Team Leader should verify water conditions are appropriate prior to commencing a dive operation.

C. Drift Diving

Drift diving shall not be permitted.


If a department hires a contractor to perform work that involves a diving operation, the contractor must adhere to all local, state, and federal Commercial Diving Operation requirements. The Parks and Recreation Dive Team shall not participate in joint contractor dive operations.


Record or DocumentRetention Period
Safe Practices ManualCurrent Document in digital Employee Policy Handbook
Depth-time profileUntil completion of the dive record; or if decompression sickness occurs during the dive, until completion of decompression procedure assessment
Depth-time profile1 year; 5 years for records involving decompression sickness
Decompression procedure assessment evaluations5 years
Equipment inspection and testing recordsCurrent entry or tag, unless the equipment is withdrawn from service (then no retention requirement)
Hospitalization records5 years


Appendix A: Pre and Post Dive Checklist
Appendix B: Pre-Dive Equipment Checklist
Appendix C: Pre-Dive Hazard Analysis
Appendix D: Unlimited/No Decompression Dive Tables and Repetitive Table, US Navy Table
Appendix E: Diver Hand Signal Communication
Appendix F: Altitude Correction, US Navy Sea Level Equivalent Depth
Appendix G: First Aid Kit Content Requirements
Appendix H: SCUBA Emergency Procedures

Appendix A-G: Reference PDF Version

Appendix H
SCUBA Emergency Procedures

Lost Diver Emergency Situation
If a pair of divers become separated, divers should perform a 360-degree visual search from current position. Divers should note max depth and bottom time. Both divers should make a controlled ascent while tapping in 4 tap intervals on tanks with a knife or use other underwater signaling device. The first diver to reach the surface shall alert the dive team leader of the separation. The dive team leader will fix the position of the lost diver’s bubbles. If the lost diver has not surfaced within two (2) minutes, the standby diver will buddy up with the primary diver on the surface and attempt to follow the lost divers bubble trail. If there is no bubble trail from the lost diver, the search team will immediately return to the last known location of the lost diver and begin a search. If the initial search is unsuccessful, notify authorities of a possible recovery situation and continue search.

Trapped/Fouled Diver Emergency Situation
The diver shall remain calm, analyze the situation, and carefully try to work free. The diver should obtain help through line pull signals or the buddy diver if the situation cannot be resolved. The buddy diver should attempt to free the entrapped diver as long as it is safe to do so. If a hazard or danger exists or if the buddy diver is unable to free the trapped diver, the buddy diver should signal the trapped diver he is going to surface for help. Once the buddy diver surfaces, the buddy diver shall advise the dive team leader of the situation and take the appropriate actions to free the trapped diver. The dive team leader may launch the standby diver to provide required assistance. For example, standby diver may deliver a new apparatus and assist cutting the trapped diver free.

Loss of Air
If a diver experiences a loss of air, the diver shall immediately check that the bottle valve is fully opened. Abort the dive. Switch to the alternate air supply and signal to the dive buddy to surface. If the alternate supply does not restore breathing air, signal the dive buddy that you are out of air and utilize their alternate air supply. Face one another and make a controlled ascent. If no alternate air supply is available, make an emergency ascent to the surface, remembering to continually blow out to avoid over expansion injury to the lungs.

Unconscious Diver
Approach with caution. The buddy diver will assist the unconscious diver to the surface as quickly as possible, within the ascent rate (30 feet per minute). If the regulator is out of mouth, do not insert. If the regulator is in mouth, leave it in. Surface with the victim in an upright position. Upon reaching the surface, immediately notify the dive team leader and standby diver for assistance, call 911. Once on shore, assess the victim’s condition and take appropriate first aid measures.

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