The purpose of the Old Dominion University Academic Diving Program (ODU ADP) is to ensure that all scientific diving conducted by ODU faculty, staff, and students is conducted in a manner that will maximize their protection from accidental injury and/or illness, and to set forth standards for training and certification that will allow a working reciprocity between Old Dominion University and other American Academy of Underwater Scientists (AAUS) member organizations.

The Occupational Health and Safety Organization (OSHA) classifies scientific diving as “a necessary part of a scientific, research, or educational activity by employees whose sole purpose for diving is to perform scientific research tasks. Scientific diving does not include tasks associated with commercial diving such as: rigging heavy objects underwater, inspection of pipelines, construction, demolition, cutting or welding, or the use of explosives.  According to OSHA’s Code of Federal Regulations (29CFR 1910.401 (2) (iv), OSHA has determined that an organization participating in scientific diving may be exempt from the regulations that govern commercial diving activities provided certain criteria are met. In 1982, OSHA exempted scientific diving from commercial diving regulations (29CFR1910, Subpart T).  The final guidelines for the exemption became effective in 1985 (Federal Register, Vol. 50, No.6, p.1046).  The criteria set by OSHA and are enforced through the AAUS, a professional organization of diving scientists recognized by OSHA as the national organization charged with regulating and certifying local chapters for scientific diving.  The Old Dominion University Academic Dive Program operates under the auspices and in compliance with AAUS standards.  Additional regulations that extend the minimum standards established by AAUS may be adopted by Old Dominion University.