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

2023 Dr Lee H Somers Scientific Diving Intern

By Jessica Anayansi García Pantoja

 OWUSS and AAUS work together to promote marine and underwater research, exploration, and education. The primary goal of the Dr. Lee H. Somers OWUSS/AAUS Scientific Diving Internship is to prepare participants for careers in scientific diving and related fields. Throughout the summer, interns receive professional training, take part in scientific diving research and data collection, and learn about AAUS diving standards and procedures. AAUS fosters collaboration among researchers, educators, and diving experts while upholding safety standards for scientific diving. This collaboration contributes significantly to the advancement of marine sciences and conservation. To achieve this, I received training through an AAUS Organizational Member. The internship took place at Shannon Point Marine Center of Western Washington University in Anacortes, Washington. Throughout my stay, I resided in the marine center's dorms alongside SPMC’s summer 2023 REU students, progressing through the scientific diving certification and contributing to research on Sea Star Wasting Disease (SSWD) as well as other diving projects.

(Photo: Our last dive together! Photo by Sean Curtis Patrick)

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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