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Table of Contents

2.1 Introduction

All personnel seeking to engage in snorkelling operations under the auspices of Macquarie University must:

  • be approved by the UDO or delegate;
  • have training, qualifications and/or experience in accordance with the requirements of their role as outlined in this document;
  • accept the responsibilities associated with their role as well as have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the snorkelling operation to complete their role in it;
  • raise any safety concerns they may have;
  • ensure that they are confident that they can safely perform the task they have been appointed to do.

2.1.1 Inductions and check out snorkels

All inductions or checkouts should be conducted by UDO or MFM. In circumstances where this is not practical, the UDO may authorise other personnel to conduct inductions or checkouts. This delegation must be done in writing and cannot be established on an ongoing basis. The UDO may accept written evidence of inductions / checkouts performed by other qualified individuals (e.g., reciprocity from other institutions). A record of all inductions, checkouts and/or annual assessments shall be kept by the UDO.

2.1.2 Dates of expiry and renewals

Unless a renewal is completed, authorisation to participate in snorkelling operations shall expire one year from the date of issuance, or upon expiration of a relevant certification, such as a dive medical, first aid, or oxygen administration certification. Personnel must keep the UDO informed of updated certificates, qualifications, experience, or circumstances. The UDO will review each person's activities annually and ensure that they are active or assess the need to complete refresher training.

2.2 Employer

Macquarie University shall:

    1. Appoint the University Dive Officer (UDO);
    2. Implement a management process to ensure the compliance of all snorkelling operations with the Work Health & Safety Act 2011, and WHS Regulations 2017;
    3. Consider recommendations made by the University Diving and Boating Safety Committee (DBSC);
    4. Coordinate investigation reports on any snorkelling incident / accident as needed.

2.3 University Diving and Boating Safety Committee (DBSC)

DBSC operates as a specialist committee under the auspices of Macquarie University Risk and Assurance. A list of its current members is available on the DBSC wiki page. In conjunction with Macquarie University’s Risk and Assurance, it has responsibility for advising, reviewing, and overseeing snorkelling policies, procedures, and operations at Macquarie University. Additional information on the structure and reporting pathways of DBSC can be found in the Macquarie University Diving Operations Manual. DBSC can be contacted using the group email address:

2.4 University Dive Officer (UDO)

The UDO is appointed by Macquarie University in accordance with AS 2299.2 and has University‐ wide responsibility for diving (including snorkelling) operations.

The UDO reports to DBSC and Risks and Assurance regarding the safe conduct of snorkelling operations. The UDO has the authority to restrict, suspend or prohibit any snorkelling operation, program or practice which they have formed the view is unsafe, and to require additional safety practices, procedures or equipment that they consider necessary to ensure the safety of the participants.

The UDO can delegate routine decisions relating to snorkelling to other qualified individuals. In addition, the delegate needs to have a complete understanding of Macquarie University snorkelling procedures and all current relevant legislation. This delegation shall be done in writing and kept on file by the UDO.

The Marine Fieldwork Manager is appointed by The Head of the Department of Biological Sciences and has responsibility for oversight of marine fieldwork within the Department of Biological Sciences, as such they are considered competent to approve and supervise snorkelling personnel and operations (even those occurring in fresh water). They have the authority to approve and supervise snorkelling personnel and operations as a delegate of the UDO.

2.4.1 UDO responsibilities:

    1. Ensuring all snorkel team members are qualified for the roles and tasks they intend to perform;
    2. Appointing Snorkel Coordinators and ensuring that they understand their responsibilities;
    3. Conducting / delegating snorkeller inductions and checkouts;
    4. Conducting / delegating rescue assessments for Snorkel Coordinators;
    5. Approving snorkelling fieldwork prior to the commencement of each snorkel operation;
    6. Providing advice in the planning of snorkel operations, in order to maximise their safety and scientific yield;
    7. Maintaining records of all inductions, checkouts, snorkel plans, risk assessments, snorkel logs, incident records and maintenance/repair of equipment;
    8. Preparing and presenting annual reports on Macquarie University snorkel operations including all accidents/incidents to DBSC.

2.5 Participant responsibilities

Individuals intending to participate in Macquarie University snorkelling operations must fulfil all listed requirements for the role they undertake. Minimum responsibilities, requirements, and restrictions associated with each role are outlined below.
All new Macquarie University snorkellers must complete an induction with the UDO and have an up-to-date FieldFriendly account.

2.5.1 All personnel must:

    1. Maintain a level of knowledge and competence appropriate to the roles and operations they undertake;
    2. Maintain a level of physical fitness commensurate with the type of operations in which they are involved;
    3. Complete a snorkelling induction.

2.5.2 Each person's responsibilities include:

    1. Abiding by Macquarie University’s policies and procedures, and any decisions made by the UDO, Snorkel Coordinator and Snorkel Guide concerning particular snorkelling operations;
    2. Operating safely within the limits of their capabilities. If they are uncertain about their ability to safely undertake a task, then they should not attempt that task, and may do so without prejudice by advising the Snorkel Coordinator that they are uncomfortable with the task. If any snorkeller feels they are being regularly asked to undertake tasks beyond their abilities, they should discuss this with the Snorkelling Coordinator and, if needed, notify the UDO and/or DBSC;
    3. Ensuring they have all required personal equipment, maintaining it in good working order, conducting functional checks of their equipment prior to snorkelling, not snorkelling with malfunctioning equipment, and reporting equipment faults to the Snorkel Coordinator;
    4. Ensuring that they are medically and physically fit for each snorkel; notifying the Snorkelling Coordinator as soon as possible of any injury that occurs to them or their buddy, pre, during or post snorkel;
    5. Maintaining close contact with their buddy, and one-up-one down procedures;
    6. Following the instructions of the UDO, Snorkel Coordinator and Ship's Master, giving their full attention during the Snorkel Coordinator’s briefing;
    7. Initialing the Snorkelling Log as required. 

2.6 Snorkeller

This category is for coursework students and persons who want to observe the underwater world, but who has limited snorkelling experience and do not meet the requirements of a Research Snorkeller.

2.6.1 Requirements:

    1. Meet the general requirements (Section 2.5);
    2. Has been advised that some medical conditions and physical exertion can increase his / her risk of injury or death;
    3. Complete a snorkelling induction and swim assessment;
    4. Have a general familiarity with snorkelling procedures.

2.6.2 Restrictions:

    1. Only snorkel with a Snorkel Guide present;
    2. Snorkel in Lower Risk Weather Conditions (Section 3.4.1) or as approved by the UDO as part of the risk assessment;
    3. Only able to perform Lower Risk Activities (Section 3.4.2) or as approved by the UDO as part of the risk assessment.

2.7 Research Snorkeller

This category is specifically for persons who want to be involved in research activities, typically post-graduate students.

2.7.1 Requirements:

    1. Meet the requirements of a Snorkeller (Section 2.6);
    2. Successfully complete a snorkeller swim test & rescue assessment within 12 months of the proposed activity;
    3. Demonstrated snorkelling capabilities relevant to the proposed research activity;
    4. Have a general familiarity with this document.

2.7.2 Restrictions:

    1. Snorkel within limitations imposed by the Snorkel Coordinator and UDO.

2.8 Snorkel Guide (SG)

A single snorkel guide (SG) may be responsible for up to 8 snorkellers in the water. The SG must be close enough to the snorkelling group to maintain easy communication and to be able to provide aid should it be required.

2.8.1 Requirements:

    1. Meet the requirements of a Research Snorkeller (Section 2.7);
    2. Be able to recognise relevant hazards;
    3. Be able to recognise snorkellers in difficulty;

      When used without a Lookout the Snorkel Guide must also be able to:
    4. Be able to rescue a snorkeller in difficulty (See 2.10.3);
    5. Be able to provide First Aid, including CPR and O2 provision (See 2.10.1).

2.8.2 Responsibilities:

    1. Perform regular head counts of their group;
    2. Ensure the snorkelling group stays together;
    3. Ensure buddy pairs stay together;
    4. Ensure buddy pairs are aware of and obey one-up-one-down rule.

2.8.3 Restrictions:

    1. Supervise a maximum of 8 Snorkellers in the water;
    2. Only guide groups within their capabilities, accounting for skill levels of the snorkellers, environmental conditions, and individual fitness levels;
    3. Snorkel within limitations imposed by the Snorkel Coordinator and UDO.

2.9 Snorkel Coordinator (SC)

A Snorkelling Coordinator (SC) must be present at all times during every Macquarie University snorkelling operation. The SC is the Health & Safety representative in the field, and is ultimately responsible for the safe conduct of the snorkelling operation as approved by the UDO, in compliance with the information approved in FieldFriendly, this manual, and WHS regulation 2011. The SC shall coordinate and direct the operations of their field team, though they may act as either a Surface Lookout or as a Snorkel Guide during any particular snorkel.  For every snorkelling operation,  only one SC will be appointed  in FieldFriendly.

2.9.1 Requirements:

    1. Meet the requirements of a Snorkel Guide (Section 2.8);
    2. Hold a current Rescue qualifications from a recognised diver training organisation, a recognised life-saving organisation, or equivalent experience and competence;
    3. Be knowledgeable of relevant WHS regulations, Macquarie University policies and procedures (inclusive of this document);
    4. Be able to recognise risks and hazards in the snorkelling environment;
    5. Be able to assist snorkellers entering and exiting the water;
    6. Be able to effectively deliver the pre-snorkel briefing;
    7. Be able to effectively evaluate snorkeller abilities;
    8. Be able to recognise snorkellers in difficulty;
    9. Be able to rescue a snorkeller in difficulty (See 2.10.3);
    10. Be able to provide first aid, including CPR and O2 provision (See 2.10.1).

2.9.2 Restrictions:

    1. Supervise snorkelling operations indicated in the approved FieldFriendly trip.

2.10 Support personnel requirements

Most snorkelling operations require the use of ancillary personnel in a range of roles. Individuals intending to assist snorkelling operations in these roles must fulfil all listed requirements of this Manual as outlined in this section and in Section 2. All support personnel must be at least 18 years old. When necessary and with the prior approval of the UDO the surface support, first aid and rescuer roles may be shared across multiple people.

2.10.1 Minimum first aid requirements

Snorkelling teams must have a sufficient number of members who hold current qualifications in First Aid, CPR, and emergency O2 provision (a minimum of two people in any snorkel team). A person on the surface at the snorkelling site should hold current training first aid including CPR and emergency oxygen administration. If snorkelling without surface support then each Snorkel Guide should have First Aid, CPR, and O2 provision qualifications.

Coursework snorkelling operations should have one staff first aider with current CPR for every 8 students and one staff member with an emergency O2 provision qualification for every 16 students.

First aid requirements for Lookouts (2.10.2.e), Snorkel Coordinators (2.9.1.k), or Snorkel Guides (2.8.1.e) may be met by multiple people with prior approval of the UDO.

2.10.2 Surface support / lookout

Surface support personnel should have First Aid, CPR, and O2 provision qualifications. They must have knowledge of the relevant snorkelling operating procedures as well as all relevant emergency procedures and plans. Typically this role is filled by the Snorkel Coordinator, but may be filled by other suitably qualified individuals.
They are:

    1. Present for the entire time, including snorkeller entry and exit from the water;
    2. Positioned out of the water where they can see the entire snorkelling area (but see 2.8.1);
    3. Solely engaged in being the lookout;
    4. Able to recognise relevant hazards and snorkellers in difficulty;
    5. Able to provide first aid including CPR and O2 (or be able to direct someone who is immediately available to do so, See 2.10.1);
    6. Able to rescue a snorkeller and fit such his or her own health and safety are not compromised if required to carry out or assist in a rescue (or be able to direct someone who is immediately available to do so, See 2.10.3).

2.10.3 Rescuer swimmer

When approved by the UDO the capability to rescue a snorkeller can be taken on by a rescue swimmer (instead of the Lookout [2.10.2.e/f], Snorkel Coordinator [2.9.1.b], or Snorkel Guide [2.8.1.b]). Rescuer swimmers should have knowledge and skills in diving/snorkelling and in the management of diving/snorkelling related incidents, injuries and illness. They should also have a level of fitness so their own health and safety are not compromised, and be dressed and equipped to maximise the likelihood of a successful rescue.

2.11 FieldFriendly

All individuals participating in fieldwork through Macquarie University (including snorkelling) must submit relevant information using the university's online fieldwork management system, called FieldFriendly. It is the participant's responsibility to ensure that relevant qualifications and documents are recorded and kept up-to-date using FieldFriendly (