DM 3. Organisation and planning

3.1 - Trip and project planning

The University uses FieldFriendly to manage and plan all fieldwork. Dive Coordinators have primary responsibility for making sure that all relevant information has been entered / uploaded into FieldFriendly. All new projects and/or sites must be submitted 5 working days before the commencement of dive operations. Dive trips must be submitted 3 working days before the first day of the trip. It is strongly recommended that researchers involve the UDO at the earliest possible planning phase to avoid unanticipated requirements. It is not appropriate to assume that the UDO is contactable after hours, on weekends or when on leave for amendments.

3.1.1 Personnel

All personnel engaging in fieldwork with Macquarie University must have a FieldFriendly account which records: basic personal and next of kin information, a medical fitness self-declaration, as well as evidence of relevant experience and qualifications. It is the individual's responsibility to keep their information up-to-date and to upload evidence of all qualifications necessary to fulfil all of their anticipated roles in the dive team.

3.1.2 Sites

Each dive site must be registered and approved by the UDO on FieldFriendly prior to diving at the site. Dive sites also have specific risks associated with them, which must be updated if new risks are identified while on site. This process is designed to identify the safety and logistical issues that must be considered during operations at the site, and it should record relevant information about the field site, including any hazards, emergency contact numbers, nearest recompression chambers and nearest hospital. DCs are responsible for checking that their field sites have been registered, or asking the UDO for assistance creating one if this is required. This must be done at least 5 working days before the commencement of fieldwork. Site information in FieldFriendly should be reviewed each time work is conducted at the site and/or as local circumstances change. It is the DC's responsibility to ensure that a copy of the site information is present on site at all times, that all members of the dive team have been briefed on the site, and that all members of the dive team are aware of its location in case of an emergency.

3.1.3 Risk assessment

A general diving risk assessment forms the basis of the guidance provided in this manual and it is to mitigate the general risks associated with compressed air diving. Specific risk assessments are associated with each research project, with each dive site and finally with each individual trip. Each dive project has an associated Risk Assessment in FieldFriendly, reviewed and approved by both the UDO and the academic in charge of the project prior to commencement of any fieldwork. This process is designed to identify the safety issues associated with the project. 

3.1.4 Trip planning and dive plan

Using FieldFriendly the Dive Coordinator shall submit a trip plan for each diving trip to the UDO for approval with sufficient time given to adopt any changes required by the UDO (a minimum of 3 working days before the first dive listed). Trips can be a single day of diving, or as many days as is comprised within a single field trip. Assistance can be obtained from the UDO if needed.

The DC must ensure the trip and the roster (personnel list) has been approved by the UDO before commencing diving operations. Dive Coordinators must ensure that copies of the Field Trip Package (downloadable from FieldFriendly with all required information including dive logs) are present at the dive site, and that all project personnel are familiar with it. It is noted that any subsequent changes to the trip plan must be approved by the UDO before any diving commences (this can be done over the phone). Unplanned and unapproved changes from the dive plan shall only be justified by exceptional circumstances. The UDO reserves the right to suspend any fieldwork activity if the diving is conducted outside of the dive plan without prior approval or proper justification.

3.1.5 Dive Safety Log & On-site Risk Assessment

For every dive, the Dive Coordinator must ensure that the 'On-site risk assessment' is completed prior to diving and that the 'Dive Safety Log' is completed for each diver. The 'Dive Safety Log' must be completed at the dive site, as soon as practical after each dive, and prior to commencing the next dive. Each divers must sign the Dive Safety Log before entering the water, and as soon as is practicable after each dive. The pre-dive initial confirms that the diver is fit to dive, understands the task they are to perform, understands the dive plan and emergency procedures, certifies that their equipment is in working order, that they have performed the adequate safety checks, and that they are confident in their ability to safely and efficiently rescue their buddy in the event of an emergency.

The DC must sign and verify the dive records as soon as practicable after daily dive operations have been completed. On completion of the diving operation, the originals of these forms must be submitted to the UDO within 3 working days, and uploaded to FieldFriendly as part of the trip debrief. In the case of a dive trip lasting longer than three days, the forms must be submitted electronically every three days (photos emailed to the UDO account are acceptable) or as often as agreed with the UDO prior to the trip. Should the DC fail to submit the Dive Safety Logs within that time frame, the UDO may suspend his/her appointments as well as suspend any personnel from diving until all paperwork has been lodged correctly. These forms will be archived by the UDO as the Employer's Record of all diving conducted through Macquarie University and kept for at least 1 year after the last dive logged on the form.

The On-site risk assessment form is designed to complement the Risk Assessment and must be completed and the dive team briefed before any diving commences.

3.1.6 Diver's Logbook

All divers must keep a record of all occupational dives as per the requirements of AS/NZS2299.2. This is usually done in a diver's logbook, which should have bound pages consecutively numbered and contain the following information:

  • Diver's photograph;
  • Next of kin information;
  • Diver's name, address, date of birth and signature;
  • Record of medical examinations conducted for the purpose of occupational diving;
  • Record of diving operation undertaken;
  • A record of all accidents and incidents including any recompression treatments.

Only dives logged in the diver's occupational logbook, and signed / endorsed by the UDO or delegate may be counted as an official Macquarie University dive. The UDO or members of DBSC can ask to view a Macquarie University diver's Logbook if required.

3.2 - Access to medical facilities

When completing a site registration, it is the responsibility of the Dive Coordinator (with advice from the UDO if required) to set out a procedure for transporting divers to the nearest acceptable and available recompression / medical facilities. They must also realistically estimate the time necessary for the transportation of a diver to the facility in the event of an accident (i.e., the time from when the diver leaves the water to the commencement of his/her treatment). The DC shall communicate these to all personnel on the dive team as part of their pre-dive briefing.

3.2.1 Recompression chamber

Dive planning must take account of the availability of emergency recompression chamber support. DCIEM bottom times are limited based on distance from a recompression chamber. It is noted that only public hospital recompression chambers can be relied on for chamber support. Navy-owned recompression chambers are often being used for training and do guarantee treatment for non-Navy personnel in the case of a diving emergency. The DCIEM limits must be observed at all times. See section 4 for additional information.

3.2.2 Diving operations in remote areas

Where diving more than 30 minutes travelling time from the nearest public hospital with an emergency room (remote area), it is likely that in the event of a diving accident, access to a medical assistance may be delayed. For this reason, where any diving operation is conducted in a remote area, great care must be taken during planning for the diving operation to allow for all risk factors that may increase a diver's risk of requiring medical assistance. The UDO may require that dive teams operating in remote areas have more advanced first aid training and equipment.

3.3 - Traveling to and from the dive site

Drivers and vehicles used in Macquarie University diving operations must comply with current University driving regulations. Due to increased risk of decompression illness incurred through exposure to altitude after diving, restrictions on road and air travel apply to divers who have been breathing compressed air. These rules and limitations apply to all divers and must be followed, except in the event of an extreme emergency where no other option is available. In any such case, these rules should only be breached on the advice of medical personnel trained in hyperbaric medicine, and with the consent of all personnel involved.

It is the responsibility of the Dive Coordinator to determine whether or not travel after the dive will exceed an altitude threshold by asking each diver what their maximum elevation will be during their post-dive travel (including travel by aircraft), to specify such information on the trip plan and to ensure the correct delay before travelling after diving is observed.

It is noted that most commercial aircraft are usually pressurised to an effective cabin pressure of ≤2400m and that it is therefore required to have a DCIEM Repetitive Factor of 1.0 before flying. Table H1 of AS2299.2:2002 Appendix H (reproduced below), lists the appropriate delay periods (in hours) required after diving before travel above certain heights is permitted.


Effective Altitude

Minimum delay before travel to altitude (hours)


Category of Dive (see Legend)


Category 1

Category 2

Category 3

















Category 1: A single dive ≤ 50% of the DCIEM no-decompression limit, or two short dives within 18h with a total, combined bottom time ≤ 50% of the no-decompression limit for the depth of the deeper dive. No decompression dives or repetitive dives to have been performed in the preceding few days.
Category 2: Dives exceeding category 1 but not included in Category 3, e.g. one or more dives to 50% of the no-decompression limits, or a single decompression dive in a day.
Category 3: Repetitive deep diving over multiple days; multiple decompression dives on one day; extreme exposures; omitted decompression, or other adverse events.
It is noted that all diving conducted through Macquarie University is in category 1 or 2. Category 3 diving is not allowed under any circumstances at Macquarie University.

3.3.1 Road travel in the Sydney Area

The area south of the Hawkesbury River including Hornsby and Terrey Hills reaches an elevation of ~ 220m, and the escarpment surrounding Wollongong reaches ~450m. A useful tool for determining the elevation along a particular route can be found at: Paste a route URL into the "Or provide the URL of data on the Web:" field to obtain the elevation profile of your intended route.

3.4 - Diving with other organisations

Where Macquarie University divers operate with divers from another organisations there are two scenarios that may occur.

  1. Where Macquarie University personnel are working with another organisations' vessel, research station and/or research facilities, then the Macquarie University divers will follow the host organisation's guidelines and procedures and be bound by that organisation's diving code provided that the appropriate parts of the host organisations diving code is equivalent to, or of a higher standard than that required by this manual. In this situation they must meet all certification requirements of that organisation, and gain approval to dive from the organisation's Diving Officer (as required by their diving procedures). Macquarie University UDO should be notified of such diving operations, and can provide a Letter of Reciprocity if need be. The divers involved need not Macquarie University paperwork for these dives, but shall submit record of these dives to Macquarie University UDO;

  2. Where Macquarie University personnel are working with divers from another organisation based from a Macquarie University vessel, or on any official Macquarie University diving operation, divers from the other organisation must meet the certification requirements outlined in this Manual, and gain approval to dive from the UDO prior to commencement of the operation (see section 2.12 for more information on visiting personnel and Letters of Reciprocity).

3.5 - Night diving

Night diving requires specific approval from the UDO or delegate. Divers wanting to conduct night diving must have prior experience in night diving (recorded in personal log books). In addition to normal diving procedures, the following rules must be observed:

  1. Entry and exit point being adequately illuminated;
  2. Every diver should carry two separate sources of light;
  3. If diving from shore, the divers should have a surface marker buoy that carries a light source on it, which is to be illuminated at all times.
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