Tuesday, March 23, 2010

AAUS Training

In order to dive under the auspices of the University of Florida, divers must undergo training to become AAUS certified Scientific Divers. Art, François, and Nat all needed this training for their future field endeavors. In order to keep your status current you must complete 12 dives a year. Jenna and I had fallen short (way short) so we needed to re-checkout with Cheryl, the Dive Safety Officer (DSO) of UF, so we tagged along on some of their dives one day.

Here are the three trainees (Nartçois) preparing to descend to 100 feet. We were diving in a spring that day and the water was quite cold, so they're all rocking a hood.

Although AAUS certification is not a NAUI-card-having designation of diver, there are several aspects of the training, one of which is to become a Rescue Diver. Below, Jenna plays the role of a tired diver and François gives her a hand with a fin push.

Although it it seems pretty clear from this next picture that François is attempting to drown Nat, he is actually practicing getting them both out of dive gear while towing him to the exit and administering rescue breathing.

Below is a short video of Nat performing the same exercise on Art, either saving his life or drowning him. You be the judge.

Also key to scientific diver training are navigational skills. Here Art and Nat prepare to navigate an underwater square at a depth of 30-40 feet using a compass for direction and a pre-determined number of fin-kicks as the distance.

You know what dive training means...more fieldwork! And hopefully some more blog posts from the field, replete with showy animal photos and calendar-worthy scenery.

:) Mandy

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