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Since its inception in 1971, NOAA's Manned Undersea Science and Technology Program has been concerned both with scientific accomplishment-through the use of submersibles, undersea habitats, and diving techniques—and with the physical and biological technology required to improve the Nation's civilian underwater capability. To obtain a true understanding of our marine environment, and gain adequate knowledge of the marine resources, we must continually seek better and safer ways to explore, perform research, and undertake analysis of the underwater realm. In many situations this work must be done by men and women divers who can provide the degree of direct observation and control of experimentation, the “ground truth, that cannot be accomplished by instrumentation controlled from a remote surface location.

To help achieve these ends, the NOAA Diving Manual has been developed. Material presented is designed especially for the scientist-diver. The information included ranges from diving physiology to: how to perform biological surveys; how to collect geological samples; and how to dive in kelp beds and fast moving rivers. Search and recovery operations and underwater photography are also discussed, as is new information on saturation diving from shallow-water habitats.

The NOAA Diving Manual is thus designed to provide the diver with the necessary fundamentals both for safe and efficient diving, and for carrying out useful scientific investigations. The dynamic nature of underwater exploration and development dictates that the manual will need periodic revision. While the manual has been prepared primarily for NOAA scientific and working divers, we hope that it will also serve as a source of information, and will stimulate interest for the non-NOAA diver in the underwater scientific and technological community.

In this way, we at NOAA have sought to extend the capabilities of civilian diving operations, fully utilizing the most recent knowledge of diving physiology, hyperbaric medicine, underwater scientific methodology, as well as the development of new gear and operational techniques.

We wish to convey our heartfelt thanks to the many diving organizations, the leading divers and diving doctors of the Nation, and all the others who helped make this manual possible, for the invaluable contributions and review of this work they so generously made.

Howard W. Pollock

Deputy Administrator

National Oceanic and Atmospheric


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