Students in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientific diving course make their way down chain ladders from Scripps Pier to small boats in late June. Photo by Erik Jepsen, UC San Diego Publications.
Scripps' scientific diving program trains and supports the university's scientists, students, and technicians in the use of techniques and technology necessary to safely conduct their research in underwater environments. The scientific diving course is a rigorous 100-hour advanced course of both classroom instruction and open-water diving. Participants must already have at least an entry-level diving certification and be approved to do diving-related work on behalf of Scripps and UC San Diego.
Scripps's first scientific diver was C.K. Tseng, a biologist from China and graduate student at Scripps during World War II who in 1944 used Japanese surface-supplied equipment to collect algae off San Diego’s coast. Scripps researchers began using scuba equipment in 1950 and the University of California system soon set up a diving safety program at Scripps under Conrad Limbaugh.
Scripps' current scientific diving safety officer, Christian McDonald, can be seen above in a blue-and-black jacket driving the small boat John P. Scripps.
A diver in the water off Scripps Beach. Photo by Erik Jepsen, UC San Diego Publications.
Students get classroom instruction from assistant diving safety officer Rich Walsh (right). Photo by Erik Jepsen, UC San Diego Publications.
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