President's Slate


October 2021

Shortly after I attended my first AAUS Symposium, I ran for a Director-at-Large position. I had recently taken my scientific diving course with Don Canestro as an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz (we miss you, Don). I was enamored with the community and wanted to help shape the future of scientific diving. It was paper ballots at the time, and like now, the newly-elected were published in the Slate after the election closed and ballots were counted. Walt Jaap was publishing the then analog-only version of the Slate (we miss you, Walt) and I will say as a young scientific diver it was a great to receive, hold in my hands, and read from cover to cover. But not this edition with the election results, as the vote tallies were accidentally published alongside the list of candidates. I had received one vote; naturally I assumed everyone would think I voted for myself (I didn’t, but I’ve always wondered who did…). I vowed to become the President one day, but for the time being, joined Sam Sublett on the Standards Committee and started reviewing manuals and doing a deep dive into our standards history and ethos.

Fast forward a few decades and earlier this week President-Elect Jim Hayward and I participated in the first meetings to create standards for the training of scientific divers that will be approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). We were there representing our community with our international partners in the EU, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and spoke with a unified voice from the recognized standard-setting bodies of scientific diving organizations worldwide. The World Scientific Diving Training Council last year completed work on a draft international minimum scientific diver training standard and this became the template to start the first standard with the wider group of representatives. This effort has far-reaching implications, from easing cross-border roadblocks, to an international training registry, to a tightly-knit international association of professional diving scientists and instructional staff, and beyond. More information on this will be a part of the strategic plan that will be available to members for review prior to the symposium in Galveston.

I hope the start of Fall is bringing everyone some much needed change!

Derek Smith
AAUS President