Mission & Goals

The mission of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) is to advance and facilitate safe and productive scientific diving. The AAUS was officially chartered in California in 1983 by individuals and organizations involved in the effort to obtain the scientific diving exemption from OSHA commercial diving standards. In the years since, the AAUS has expanded from the original six organizational members to more than 130 organizational members and over 1100 individual members. Organizational membership includes colleges and universities, government agencies, museums and aquaria, environmental and archaeological consulting firms, and community science groups sharing a common thread of the use of diving as a research tool and a commitment to the health and safety of scientific divers. AAUS produces consensual standards for the training and certification of scientific divers and the operation of scientific diving programs, maintains statistics detailing scientific diving activities and incident rates, conducts annual symposia and topical workshops, and directly supports student research.

In the Spotlight

A new program brings the magic of scuba diving to a more diverse crowd

The Wrigley Institute Scientific Diving Discovery Program helps students from underrepresented minority groups get certified as professional science divers.

Marcela Riddick emerged from the water in a wetsuit and scuba mask, shouting excitedly. She had just completed her first ever scuba dive, in Big Fisherman’s Cove outside the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island. “I absolutely lost it — in the best way — coming out the water. I was screaming at everybody that I was a fish,” says Riddick, who recently graduated from the USC Marshall School of Business with a Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship degree and who is building a career in environmental education.

 ( Photo by Yannick Peterhans )

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Current Organizational Members

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Organizational members comprised of both US and International members in Academia, Aquariums, Government and Consulting firms.


Scientific dives logged by members since 1998

0.324 per 10,000 dives

DCI rate for AAUS divers, 1/10 that of recreational divers


Scholarship money given out since 1996


Amount of science dollars supported by AAUS diving in the last 5 years

Contact Us

American Academy of Underwater Sciences
Heather Albright – Operations Manager
PO Box 9067
Mobile, AL 36691-9067


[email protected]

Support the Foundation

The AAUS Foundation is a 501c3 charity that provides internships and scholarships to students who utilize scientific diving as a research tool or study scientific diving. Partner with us as we help fund up and coming diving scientist!
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