DM 6. Equipment

6.1 - General notes on equipment

A Divers Alert Network (DAN) study conducted in 2012 noted that 15% of all dive fatalities were linked to equipment problems. This can mean either equipment failure, or that the diver failed to use the equipment properly. Ensuring that all equipment is in working order and that divers know how to properly use it is therefore paramount to dive safety.

All diving equipment must be:

  1. Of approved design (for more information, refer to AS/NZS2299.2), sound construction, adequate strength, free from any defect and maintained in a condition that will ensure its continued operation for the purpose and depths for which it was originally designed and subsequently used;
  2. Examined, tested, overhauled and repaired in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations or as specified in AS/NZS2299.2 (whichever is most often).

6.2 - Faulty / out-of-service equipment procedure

Any member of the dive team who comes into contact with a piece of equipment which is not functioning properly, or out-of-service, shall remove it from service using the following procedure:

  • Isolate and tag it immediately. Out-of-service tags are kept in all oxygen first aid kits. In the event that no out-of-service tag is immediately available, the person should take all practicable measures to ensure the equipment is isolated and marked in some way that makes it obvious that the equipment is currently out-of-service.
  • Inform the Dive Coordinator of the type of fault and location of tagged-out equipment

The Dive Coordinator shall then ensure that

  • The equipment is not used by anyone, under any circumstance.
  • The UDO is notified of the fault.
  • The equipment is not returned to service until it is examined and/or repaired by a person qualified to do so who will deem it fit for service and authorised by the UDO.

6.3 - Macquarie University-owned dive equipment

Macquarie University owns diving equipment that is made available to all active divers for a rental fee to cover equipment maintenance (except for safety equipment, which is available free of charge). For more information on rental fees, please contact the UDO. Macquarie University-owned dive gear must not be used for any dives that are not approved Macquarie University operations, except in cases where the prior permission of the UDO has been obtained. The UDO is responsible for ensuring that:

  1. All Macquarie University-owned equipment is serviced annually, or whenever a fault has been identified;
  2. All Macquarie University-owned equipment which has been found to not be working properly is isolated;
  3. All maintenance records are being kept for at least two years.

The Dive Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that all personal dive equipment used by divers is in working order and meets the outlined in section 6.1 of the present manual. A record of maintenance of all personal dive equipment must be sent to the UDO prior to the start of the operation. Divers are responsible for checking all equipment before use, reporting any equipment failure or servicing needs to the DC or the UDO. It should be noted that while Macquarie University equipment is available to divers, it is not limitless in supply. Divers intending to use this equipment, should organise rental as early as possible. If all equipment it in use it is up to the diver and not the UDO to make alternate and appropriate equipment arrangements. Such arrangements be approved by the UDO.

6.4 - Safety equipment

The following safety equipment must be taken on site at all times, for all diving operations:

  1. First aid kit;
  2. Oxygen first aid kit containing resuscitation equipment with sufficient oxygen supply to provide 100% oxygen for the time it would take to get the patient to medical care;
  3. Dive flag (alpha nautical flag);
  4. A means of communication that will work for the whole duration of the diving operation (this can be a VHF radio, a mobile phone with adequate reception and battery, a satellite phone, etc.);

6.4.1 Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)

Macquarie University owns AEDs and it is recommended that they be taken on site for all dive operations. In particular, they should be taken if operating in remote areas, including from vessels, where access to an AED or medical care would be delayed.

6.4.2 Shark Shields

The fear of sharks can be a significant stress factor in some divers for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the context, should a diver express their wish to wear a shark shield, their wish must be met and all other divers accompanying them underwater must wear a shark shield too. It is unacceptable to pressure any diver into not wearing a shark shield.

Macquarie University owns shark shields, which are freely available to all divers at all times. Their use is recommended when the risk assessment determines that they will reduce the risk of shark attack. Divers and DCs should contact the UDO if they desire more information about shark shields, or the management of sharks in conjunction with diving operations.

6.5 - For all divers and all operations

The following equipment must be used or carried by each diver on every dive:

  1. Exposure protection (wetsuit or drysuit) appropriate to the conditions of work and water temperature (consideration should be given to carrying windproof clothing to wear over a wetsuit after diving);
  2. Face mask;
  3. A buoyancy control device (BCD) with oral and SCUBA-feed inflators. A BCD must be used with both wetsuits and drysuits;
  4. A weight belt with a quick-release closing mechanism, or a BCD incorporating an integrated weight belt with quick-release system;
  5. Diver's knife or line cutter. The knife shall be worn in such a way that it will not foul any discarded equipment (e.g., released weights).

6.6 - SCUBA operations

As well as the equipment listed in section 6.4, the following equipment must be used or carried by each diver on every SCUBA dive unless special dispensation has been granted by the UDO or delegate:

  1. A SCUBA cylinder and valve designed in accordance with AS 2030;
  2. An open-circuit SCUBA with two demand regulators;
  3. Fins;
  4. A snorkel (attachable or attached to mask);
  5. An air cylinder pressure gauge, depth gauge and timing device;
  6. Where divers are operating in free-swimming mode, there must be a means to recall the divers to the surface/shore;
  7. Emergency signalling equipment including:
    1. A high visibility signalling device, for example, a safety sausage;
    2. An audible signalling device, for example, a whistle; and
    3. A lighted signalling device, for example, a glow stick, if diving is to take place close to dusk or after dark.

6.7 - SSBA operations

As well as the equipment listed in section 6.4, the following equipment must be used or carried by each diver on every SSBA dive:

  1. A surface supply air hose for each diver (also called "umbilical"), fitted with a non-return valve located as close as possible to the diver;
  2. An approved mask and breathing regulator (either a half mask and separate demand regulator or a full-face mask);
  3. An emergency gas supply of sufficient air capacity to allow a diver to free him/herself from any immediate danger and ascend at a rate of no greater than nine metres per minute. This system must be set up through a distribution block and valve, and be able to be brought into operation by a diver through the use of only one hand;
  4. An approved harness system, to secure the gas supply hose and the equipment to the diver;
  5. Fins (although the DC can authorise a diver to not use them if the dive does not involve any swimming and there is a practicable way to stay at the recommended depth for the safety stop);
  6. A lifeline, except where the diver's hose is being used for this purpose, in which case the hose must be secured to the harness by a hose grip and clip that is secured shut.

6.8 - EANx operations

As well as the equipment listed in the relevant sections above, the following equipment must be used or carried by each diver on every EANx dive unless special dispensation has been granted by their UDO:

  1. SCUBA cylinders authorised to carry the breathing gas being used;
  2. A device capable of measuring and confirming the oxygen content of the breathing gas prior to the execution of the dive.

6.9 - Other equipment which may be required

Additional equipment which may be deemed necessary for safe conduct of a dive includes:

  1. Emergency air supplies;
  2. Further exposure protection, such as gloves;
  3. A compressed air powered signalling device;
  4. Submersible dive tables;
  5. A lifeline or floatline;
  6. Night diving equipment as specified in section 3.5;
  7. A float with a dive flag attached towed by each dive team in situations where tracking the divers maybe difficult due to environmental factors, number of dive teams or distance from the dive attendant.


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