Scientific Diving Course

The SIO 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 SIO/UCSD.  The course curriculum includes:

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

Minimum course prerequisites include:

  • Entry-level diver certification from an internationally-recognized SCUBA training agency.
  • Submission of a SIO Scientific Diver Application: Only persons diving under SIO/UCSD auspices are eligible for SIO/UCSD Scientific Diver training and certification.  Generally, these people will be affiliated with SIO/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.
  • SIO Diving Medical Clearance: 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 SIO 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:In open 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.
  5. Swim to the end of the Scripps Pier (~1000’) 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 SIO Dive locker has BC's, 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 or Christian McDonald prior to any gear purchase to discuss your best options and pricing.


  • Course fee of $375, includes first years annual diver fee.
  • NAUI Advanced, Rescue, and Nitrox Certification cards (as needed) are $16 each.


Contact Christian McDonald for more information.