Reef Check is ecstatic to announce that we are now an organizational member of AAUS (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. We are joining colleges and universities, government agencies, museums and aquaria, environmental and archaeological consulting firms and other community scientific groups in abiding by the same safe diving practices while using scientific diving as a research tool.
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. Becoming an AAUS member makes it easier for scientific divers from other institutions to dive on Reef Check projects and for Reef Check divers to potentially help with research outside of Reef Check. We are excited for the collaboration that this will foster between Reef Check and the larger scientific diving community.
All divers who go through Reef Check kelp forest monitoring training are now acknowledged as Citizen Science Divers by an AAUS Organizational Member! Reef Check staff and volunteers who have completed 50+ Reef Check dives and elect to go through additional training can be certified as full AAUS Scientific Divers through Reef Check. Contact Dan Abbott, the Reef Check Diving Safety Officer, for more information. Courses are tentatively scheduled for next spring.
Lastly, we encourage all of our divers to join the AAUS community by becoming Individual Members of AAUS! Go to aaus.org for more information.