DM 5. Diving procedures

5.1 - Normal dive teams

A normal dive team comprises a group of people (the minimum number is 3), who as a unit can perform the duties of a Dive Coordinator, Diver/s, Diver's Attendant/s and Ship's Master (where required). A normal dive team is made up of two or three Divers and a Dive Attendant.

  1. A Dive Coordinator must be at the dive site for all dive operations. The DC may act as a Diver or Dive Attendant. 
    1. If the DC remains on the surface s/he must appoint a Dive Leader.
    2. If the DC dives s/he must appoint an individual to act as a DC should the need arise.
  2. Consideration must be taken when using exempt Scientific Divers as part of a dive team. They are only eligible to dive as part of student projects and are subject to other restrictions due to their experience and training.
  3. SSBA dive teams must comply with personnel requirements in AS2299.1 Section 5.2. The standby diver must be a Scientific Diver and meet all requirements as outlined in section 2.8, but may operate on SCUBA.

5.2 - Two-person dive teams

Two-person dive teams are allowed under special circumstances by AS/NZS2299.2:2002. As such, the UDO may approve two-person dive teams under exceptional circumstances (special personnel constraints, or specific technical requirements). Two-person dive teams must only be allowed under the environmental conditions that are detailed in section 2.9.d in this manual.

In the event of a solo diver being in the water, the DC must remain on surface and maintain constant visual contact with the diver, as well as be able to recover them in the event of an emergency. A surface-standby must be prepared to immediately start an in-water rescue of the diver at all times while the diver is underwater. The diver shall be attached to a lifeline whenever this is reasonably practicable.

Macquarie University allows two buddy divers in the water operating with no surface support only in exceptional circumstances (enclosed waters such as swimming pool) and only in the low-risk conditions specified in 2.9.d of this manual. Anyone wanting to plan a two-person dive operation must seek special approval from the UDO and discuss appropriate extra safety measures.

Solo diving (i.e. diving without a buddy or a standby diver) is not permitted at any time and under any circumstance.

5.3 - Air consumption and planning

All dives must be planned with a 25% safety margin of breathing gas readily accessible to the diver for dives up to 21m, and 30% of breathing gas for dives beyond 21m. All divers are encouraged to calculate their RMV (Respiratory Minute Volume) after each dive to understand their air consumption while performing different tasks. The Dive Coordinator shall ensure that all divers have the appropriate equipment to satisfy the breathing gas safety margin.

5.4 - Lost buddy procedures

Lost buddy procedures will be engaged immediately in the event that a diver who is in a buddy pair cannot locate their buddy. Procedures can vary, but the most common one is:
Immediately on noticing contact has been lost with their buddy, the diver should circle 360° for a maximum of one minute, looking for the buddy, or their exhaust bubble trail (often easier to see if looking up slightly). If visual contact is not made after this quick search, the diver must start returning to surface at the correct ascent rate, while performing 360° visual search on ascent. Divers will deploy a Surface Marker Buoy while ascending to facilitate finding their buddy on surface and to attract the attention of surface personnel. Safety stops can be ignored, but should be performed once the buddy has safely been located on surface.

If a diver is still missing 5 minutes after their buddy surfaces an underwater search shall be instigated as long as it is safe to do so, and continued until either the buddy is located or the searching diver deems that further assistance is required.

Lost buddy procedures must be specified in every pre-dive briefing, and agreed to by all divers.

5.5 - Emergency procedures / termination of dive

A dive shall be terminated in accordance with the pre-dive plan, or when:

  1. Divers are recalled from the surface;
  2. A diver asks for the dive to be terminated (it is not acceptable at any point to challenge or ignore the wish of a diver to terminate a dive);
  3. A diver loses contact with their buddy (see section 5.4), although the dive can be resumed if both divers find each other again and are comfortable doing so;
  4. A diver reaches the air pressure that has been decided to be the minimum acceptable pressure to leave bottom on at (50 Bar unless otherwise specified during the dive briefing or consultation with the UDO in the trip planning phase);
  5. Any member of the dive team becomes aware of any change in conditions (including equipment function) that threatens the safety of the dive team.

A copy of Macquarie University emergency procedure is included in Appendix 11. A copy of this document can also be found in all the Macquarie University oxygen first aid kits. The site registration contains information regarding meeting points with the emergency services and transport time to the nearest recompression chamber and to the nearest hospital with emergency care.

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