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Category Health and Safety
Type Policy
Approved by Vice Chancellor, November 2003
Date Policy Took Effect 1 November 2003
Last approved revision 4 June 2024
Sponsor Chief Operating Officer
Responsible officer Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing


To provide a safe operating environment to protect the safety of workers, students and volunteers involved with SCUBA and snorkel diving.

Organisational scope

All situations where SCUBA and snorkel diving is undertaken as a part of University of Otago work or course-related activities.


Code of Practice for Diving
Dive Coordinator
Diving Safety Board
For the purposes of this policy, “HOD” refers to Heads of Scientific Departments and Directors of Service Divisions
Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
Science Diving New Zealand
University Diving Officer
University Divers
Workers, students and volunteers who are authorised to dive by the UDO


University dive structure

University dive structure diagram top to bottom - Vice-Chancellor, Diving Safety Board, University Dive Officer, Dive Coordinator, Scientific Diver

To ensure compliance with the University of Otago Code of Practice for Diving (COP), the following responsibilities and accountabilities are outlined:

1. Responsibilities of the Vice-Chancellor

  1. Recognise that various areas of the University undertake diving activities in relation to research and teaching.
  2. Have knowledge of and understand the H&S controls in place to manage the risks and hazards associated with diving activities.
  3. Monitor the University’s compliance with the H&S controls by way of reports to Council.

2. Responsibilities of the Diving Safety Board (DSB)

  1. Establish protocols and procedures to address University specific needs and concerns.
  2. Review and revise the diving COP.
  3. Act as a board of appeal to consider diver-related incidents.
  4. Establish and/or approve training protocols through which the applicants for authorisation as divers can satisfy the requirements of the diving COP.
  5. Suspend any diving operations considered to be unsafe or unwise.
  6. Identify and require improvements and further information in relation to the operation of the dive programme.

3. Responsibilities of the University Diving Officer (UDO)

  1. Maintain diving COP and approval to dive documentation.
  2. Advise the DSB on policy for safe diving practices.
  3. Ensure that all divers are adequately trained and certified.
  4. Ensure compliance with the diving COP.
  5. Approve the depth to which a diver has been authorised to dive.
  6. Recommend disciplinary action for unsafe practices.
  7. Recommend the issue, reissue, or the revocation of diving authorisations.
  8. Recommend changes in policy and amendments to SDNZ guidelines and the diving COP as appropriate.
  9. Recommend new equipment or techniques.
  10. Act as the point of contact in matters concerning the scientific diving programme.
  11. Maintain records of diving activities, divers’ qualifications and maintenance and servicing of equipment.
  12. Review reports on diving incidents and ensure that all divers are informed of procedures to be taken to avoid a re-occurrence.
  13. Carry out ongoing assessment of diving procedures and activities.
  14. Represent the University of Otago at a national and international level regarding diving policy.
  15. Assess divers’ competencies and record the evidence used in the assessment.
  16. Review and approve all dive plans.
  17. Conduct responsibilities delegated from the DSB.
  18. Ensure that University Divers meet the compliance requirements of the COP.

4. Responsibilities of Heads of Departments

  1. Support the UDO by making available the time and resources required for compliance with the COP.
  2. Implement the Code of Practice for activities within their department, in conjunction with the UDO.

5. Responsibilities of Dive Coordinators (DCs)

  1. Assist with the development of the Dive Plan and associated risk assessments before each diving operation they are involved in.
  2. Schedule and direct diving operations.
  3. Ensure that all divers have proper and required equipment.
  4. Ensure that safety and emergency equipment is in proper working condition and is present at the dive site.
  5. Brief divers, or the Master of Vessel, as appropriate, concerning diving operations and emergency procedures.
  6. Ensure that diving operations are conducted in compliance with this diving COP and the approved dive plan.
  7. Ensure that appropriate action is taken during a diving emergency or accident.
  8. Suspend diving operations, if in their opinion, conditions are unsafe.
  9. May temporarily revoke or restrict diving certification of any diver during a diving operation under their supervision.
  10. Ensure a dive log is kept of all dive activity they are responsible for. Following the diving deployment, ensure dive logs are submitted to the UDO.
  11. Report any accident/incident or violation of the COP to the UDO.

6. Responsibilities of University Divers

  1. Comply with the COP, DSB and UDO requirements at all times.
  2. Attend all training as required.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact

Niall Pearson
Boating and Diving Compliance Officer
Tel +64 21 279 1036

Andrea McMillan
Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing
Tel +64 3 479 7380

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