The American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) is a non-profit, self-regulating body dedicated to the establishment and maintenance of standards of practice for scientific diving with a mission of advancing and facilitating 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 140 organizational members, including international members, and over 2000 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.
The AAUS is concerned with diving safety, state-of-the-art diving techniques, methodologies, and research diving expeditions. For the diving scientist, AAUS provides a forum to share information on diving research, methodologies and funding; For the diving officer, AAUS provides an information base of the latest standards of practice for training, equipment, diving procedures and managerial and regulatory experience, and; For the student, AAUS provides exposure to individuals, agencies and organizations with ongoing programs in undersea research.
The Academy's goals are to :
- provide a national forum for the exchange of information on scientific diving
- advance the science and practice of scientific diving;
- collect, assess, and distribute exposure, incident and accident statistics related to scientific diving;
- promote just and uniform legislation relating to scientific diving;
- facilitate the exchange of information on scientific diving practices among members; and,
- engage in any or all activities which are in the general interest of the scientific diving community.