AAUS Accreditation Program
The AAUS Accreditation Program is based on 3 metrics:
- The Organizational Member completes all administrative
requirements for membership (paying dues and signing the annual membership
agreement, maintaining a current Diving Safety Manual on the AAUS website,
submitting annual statistics, etc.)
- Maintaining minimum active status requirements for the Diving
Safety Officer (DSO) by attending a DSO Orientation and / or attending annual
- Completing a site visit and meeting the minimum requirements
for Accredited Status.
The Accreditation process begins with the filing of an
application, the submission of all required documentation and
payment of all fees (see manual linked below). The Regional Site
Visit Coordinator will review those materials and develop a list of potential
reviewers who are available. The
Organizational Member will then be able to approve the makeup of the review
team, and inspection dates will be agreed upon.
The inspection team will then be given the application materials to
review. The team may request follow up
documents if the team leader deems they are necessary.
The site visit itself includes meeting with the DSO, meeting
the Chair and other members of the Diving Control Board (DCB) as well as
program divers, a tour of on site diving facilities, and finally meeting with
the responsible Administrator e.g. Director, Vice-Chancellor, President,
etc. While the sequence of the various
aspects of the site inspection may vary in order and duration, all aspects will
be included in each site visit.
The inspection team (anywhere from 1 to 3 persons) will meet
with the DSO to review and verify the previously submitted administrative and
training procedures. This will include a
sampling of dive plans, diver files, and training records. Physical or electronic copies of requested
files must be available at the time of the inspection, or will be considered
The team will meet with the Chair of the Diving Control
Board to review the make up of the DCB, meeting agendas and minutes, and the
chair may be asked to discuss any enforcement actions taken by the
Organizational member in the previous 3 years.
Additional members of the DCB and program divers may also meet with the
inspection team, individually if time allows, or in a group setting. Teams will
interview divers in order to ascertain if and how the program meets the minimum
standard as set by the most current version of the AAUS Standard.
The team will also inspect diving facilities including
diving lockers, program controlled life support equipment, compressor systems,
and vessels if appropriate. The
inspectors will review equipment service records for program gear, air quality
test results, and any emergency equipment used to support training or field
operations (oxygen and first aid kits, AEDs, etc.). Vessels may be inspected for diving-relevant
features such as ease of ingress, diver recall procedures and emergency
procedures. Photos of facilities may be
included with the final report.
A key component of each inspection will be the opportunity
for the AAUS Inspection team to meet with
the Organizational Member’s responsible administrator. This will be an opportunity for the team to
assess the institutional support for the diving safety program and to answer
any questions about AAUS Standards, the Scientific Diving Exemption, the
requirements for Accredited Status, and to convey any comments or concerns that
have been generated to this point in the inspection process. For this reason it is best if this meeting is
scheduled near the end of the site visit (the afternoon of the last day is recommended).
While ensuring that minimum standards are being met, the
team will always be looking to identify areas that could use some “polishing”
as well as attempting to identify best practices that can be shared with the
science diving community. A written
report of all findings will be issued to the responsible Administrator and to
the Chair of the DCB. Any shortcomings
that don’t meet the AAUS standard will need to be corrected within an
designated time frame in order for the OM to be granted “Accredited” status.
After the inspection process is complete, the team will
return a written report to the responsible administrator and to the Chair of
the Diving Control Board. Any areas that
require remediation will be listed, along with a timeframe within which the OM
must address each issue in order to be granted accreditation. The team will also report, via their regional
coordinator, their recommendation as to whether or not to grant accredited
If Accreditation is granted, it is good for five (5) years,
so long as the institution continues to maintain its Organizational Membership
in good standing with AAUS.
AAUS Accreditation Manual (v2022)