Our Standards


For explanations on all of these standards and much more, please refer to Public Safety Diving by Walt Hendrick and Andrea Zaferes.

Lifeguard Systems Sample recommended minimum equipment and safety guidelines for standard operating procedures: limited visibility ops.

  • A minimum operation consists of a trained team of:
    • one primary diver,
    • one primary tender (who can serve as the Incident Commander),
    • one fully-dressed back up diver
    • one back up tender (who also serves as profiler),
    • and one 90%-ready diver.
  • Minimum equipment:
    • full exposure drysuit with attached dry hood, booties, and gloves for contaminated or cold water,
    • BCD with power inflator and a minimum of 30 lbs of lift,
    • three cutting tools (with at least two shears or wire cutters) in the golden triangle area, nothing on the legs,
    • regulator with analog gauges (depth, pressure, time), or if high visibility than digital gauges are acceptable,
    • pony bottle with quick release harness/holder
    • downstream pony regulator with exhaust-tee removed, secured in the golden triangle chest area with a quick-release connection and a protective mud mouthpiece cover,
    • downstream, balanced primary regulator, with environmental protection recommended for cold water
    • fins,
    • a minimum of a 3000 psi rated 80 cuft tank with a minimum of 2800 psi,
    • if a weight belt is worn with a standard buckle the release should be right-handed and the free webbing beyond the buckle should be 10-12 inches in length, the belt should not be obstructed from quick-release by the buoyancy compensator or any other piece of equipment; IW (integrated weights) are strongly not recommended. If IW are used, then place half the weight on a weight belt.
    • a positive-pressure full face mask or full head dress as needed for contaminated water, with a standard mask in the BCD pocket,
    • a full face mask block with a quick-release connection to the pony bottle is recommended for contaminated or cold water,
    • a chest diving harness for tethered diving,
    • distance-marked tether line (3/8” floating line) for tethered diving
    • locking carabiners
    • tenders wear appropriate personal flotation devices, protection equipment, and gloves.
  • Maximum diving depth of 50 feet with a possible additional ten-foot extension as dictated by the Officer in Charge
  • Maximum diving time of 20 minutes with a possible five-minute extension as dictated by the Officer in Charge.
  • Minimum air to be back on shore/boat is 1000 psi in an 80-cuft cylinder.
  • The maximum distance out on a tether line is 125 feet.
  • The maximum current for a shore based operation is .5 knots, the maximum current for divers not trained and certified as moving water divers, is 1. 5 knots.
  • The following minimum information should be logged for every subsurface operation in each diver’s logbook:
    • total psi used,
    • total time diving and total in-water time
    • blood pressure before and after dive
    • depth, current, other conditions
    • surface air consumption rate
    • respirations per minute (recorded every 5 minutes)
    • weight, suit, cylinder used
    • tender name, signature
  • Any diver has the right to say “no” to any operation for any reason at any time
  • Rescue time is anything up to 70 minutes from the time of the call.
  • Risk/Benefit analysis must be done prior to making plan of action.
  • The profiler documents on the profile map, every movement of the diver and log book information.
  • Divers must maintain a log showing a minimum of ten openwater dives annually, preferably in local conditions during drills or training. Tenders and divers must serve as both primary and back up tenders a minimum of six times each annually.
  • Divers and tenders must have certification from training for the job at hand (i.e. underwater vehicle extrication, ice diving rescue/recovery, drysuit and full face mask, moving water, evidence handling, etc.) and must attend a training program at least once every two years, in addition to drills.
  • A minimum of 6 drills or training sessions annually, with 12 sessions preferred
  • Post-operation, divers and tenders are responsible for making sure the scene is safe to leave, and all equipment is cleaned, checked, and properly stored.