University of Oregon

Scientific Diving at the University of Oregon

All UO personnel who are using SCUBA diving for their work are maintaining active American Academy of Underwater Scientists (AAUS) certifications through the Oregon State University (OSU) AAUS program. Being an AAUS certified scientific diver offers an exemption from OSHA commercial diving standards, but also improves the safety of our divers. It also greatly facilitates scientific diving by providing reciprocity between member institutions.

The OSU Diving Safety Officer (DSO) Kevin Buch, has been functioning in the role as the UO DSO, doing check-out dives with our personnel, maintaining our training certifications, gear maintenance logs, and monitoring the logging of our dives in the OSU AAUS system. When UO divers plan dives, whether locally or as visitors to external institutions, the OSU DSO reviews our dive plans, helps us establish dive plan documentation.

In addition, if UO divers plan to dive at other institutions with AAUS accredited programs, the OSU DSO provides us with letter of reciprocity (LOR) or verification of training (VOT) documents. OIMB Faculty member Prof. Aaron Galloway is the official UO contact person for anyone at UO who plans on doing any diving. If you are interested in diving work as part of your job while at the UO (whether you are a student, technician, professor, or any staff), please contact Dr. Galloway (, who will work with you to facilitate your communications with the OSU dive program. Dr. Galloway is also a member of the OSU AAUS Diving Control Board (DCB).

Students, staff, or any UO personnel may not do any work-related dives unless they are AAUS certified and the dive plan is approved by the DCB. Moreover, it is also important to note that OSU is not liable for UO personnel. Thus, while the OSU DSO can provide LORs or VOTs for UO personnel, UO divers need to show separate proof of liability insurance (which is provided separately by UO Risk Assessment office with sufficient notice) for any dive trip we make to join another AAUS program.

UO personnel who wish to become certified as AAUS scientific divers can take classes through any other AAUS program, which could then provide the diver with a VOT. OSU also teaches a scientific diving course (mostly in Corvallis) which UO students can take. UO students are encouraged to take as many of the pre-requisite courses (advanced open water, rescue diver) as possible through UO’s excellent recreational dive program on the main campus, in partnership with Eugene Skin Divers. (

Diving-Related Resources at OIMB:

OIMB has a small dive locker in the Charleston Marine Life Center Building (see below), above the OIMB dock. The heated dive locker has storage lockers, bench space, extra locker space for visiting divers and supplies, a hot water shower, a small air-fill station, and 18 SCUBA cylinders. The dive locker is situated just above the ramp down to the dock where the proposed vessel would be moored when it is in the water. As of 2022, there is no dive shop in Coos Bay, and therefore no place locally to get air fills, or buy or rent gear. The nearest shop is Eugene Skin Divers. The OIMB fill station can only be used for fills for work-related dives.

OIMB maintains several boats. Of those relevant to diving operations, there is a 7 m aluminum hulled boat (RV Pugettia; supporting 4 divers plus a tender), a 5 m rigid hulled Avon style rubber boat (2 divers plus a tender), and a 13 m coastal research vessel (RV Pluteus; theoretically supporting >8 divers plus several tenders). All vessels have been recently updated for diving operations. The Pugettia is outfitted for the sling at Port Orford (required for launching at Port Orford).