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Scientific Diver Course

Scientific Diving Program student in dive gear walk down from dive locker.

The Scripps Scientific Diving Course is a 100-hour course required of anyone wishing to use SCUBA for their scientific research or employment under the auspices of Scripps and UC San Diego.  The course curriculum includes:

  • Physics and Physiology of Diving, Decompression Theory and Dive Planning, Equipment and Environmental Considerations, Hazardous Marine Life, and Scripps Scientific Diving Program and Policy;
  • Diving Emergency First Aid (CPR, first aid, oxygen administration, and field neurological examination) training;
  • Dive Rescue;
  • Written Scripps Scientific Diver examination; and
  • 12+ supervised open water dives.

Minimum course prerequisites include:

Only persons diving under Scripps/UCSD auspices are eligible for Scripps/UCSD Scientific Diver training and certification. Generally, these people will be affiliated with Scripps/UCSD; however, non-affiliated trainees may be admitted to the training program with the permission of the DCB. The applicant for training and certification shall normally be at least eighteen years of age.

UCSD’s Diving Medicine Clinic is highly recommended and can be reached 619-471-9210.  You may use your personal physician provided they complete all tests indicated for an Initial Exam. All participants in the Scripps Scientific Diving Course must receive a positive medical evaluation from a physician indicating a health and fitness level adequate for dive training.

  • Swimming and Skin Diving Evaluation;

All participants in the Diving Course must exhibit swimming and watermanship skills appropriate for SCUBA activities.

In confined water, participants must:        

  1. Swim underwater without fins for a distance of 25 yards without surfacing;

  2. Swim 400 yards in less than 12 minutes without swim aids;

  3. Tread water for 10 minutes, or 2 minutes without the use of hands, without swim aids; and

  4. Without the use of swim aids, transport a person of equal size a distance of 25 yards in the water.

In open water participants must:

  1. Swim to the end of the Scripps Pier (~1,000’) and back, including a successful surface dive to the bottom (~18'-20').

  • Equipment Requirements

Students are to provide a mask, snorkel, fins, exposure suit (7mm wetsuit, hood, booties, gloves), dive timing device or diving computer, weightbelt, weights (~16-20 lbs), and a dive bag. This is an approximately $500-$700 investment if purchased new. The Scripps Dive locker has BCs, regulators, gauges, cutting devices, and lights available for the class, though it is strongly recommended that participants purchase their own personal dive equipment.  

Please consult with Rich Walsh, Diving Locker Supervisor, prior to any gear purchase to discuss your best options and pricing.