The Ocean Studies Institute (OSI) AAUS Scientific Diving Certification Program

The Ocean Studies Institute (OSI) Scientific Diving Certification Program conforms to the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Standards for Scientific Diving for academic, research, or conservation diving. Anyone who is engaged in diving as part of their work must be an active member of a scientific diving program or be subject to US Federal OSHA standards for diving.

The OSI AAUS Program is an intensive 14-day course focused on teaching research diving techniques. During the course divers will learn about diving theory, physics, physiology, dive planning and emergency accident management. In-water training will include numerous dives to practice essential data-gathering methodologies, and further develop general diving skills such as beach, navigation, deep, night, and rescue. The course also includes the DAN Diving First Aid for Professional Divers certification training, suitable for First Responders working in remote locations.

The course is open to CSU/OSI students/staff/faculty and SCMI consortium members. Unaffiliated candidates, actively engaged in scientific diving (as a student, researcher or volunteer) with an AAUS Organizational Member, are accepted on a space-available basis. Unlike traditional (recreational) certifications, if you’re not actively involved in scientific diving, you will not be able to maintain your AAUS Scientific Diver certification.


Course Dates and Fees

Winter 2018 Scientific Diving Course: January 3rd-20th, 2018

  • Application Deadline for Winter AAUS Course: December 4th, 2017

Summer 2018 Scientific Diving Course Session 1: June 11th-23rd, 2018

  • Application Deadline for Summer AAUS Course Session 1: May 11th, 2018

Summer 2018 Scientific Diving Course Session 2: July 30th-August 11th, 2018

  • Application Deadline for Summer AAUS Course Session 2: June 29th, 2018


OSI Members: $500

SCMI Members: $600

Non-Members: $1,200



All students enrolling in the OSI AAUS Scientific Diving course must have the following:

  1. Certification as an Advanced Open Water scuba diver, issued by a nationally recognized certification agency (NAUI, PADI, YMCA, SSI, etc.)
  2. A minimum of 4 logged dives within the past year, 2 of which are within the last six months.
  3. Proof of regulator, BC, gauge and computer testing/service within the last 12 months this includes new equipment  (form included in application Package). A visual inspection of all dive equipment will be conducted on the first day. Equipment deemed “unsafe” or NOT in good working order, will not be allowed for use in the course.
  4. Current Medical Examination for Scuba Diving; must be within one year (form included in application Package).
  5. Proof of Dive Insurance – you are responsible for your medical coverage and most health insurance policies do not cover scuba diving. We require that you obtain dive insurance such as that provided by Divers Alert Network (DAN) A list of providers can be found at
  6. First Aid, O2 Administration, and Field Neurological training will be offered as part of the course. It is highly recommended that you participate in this section of the course, however if you can provide proof of current CPR, First Aid, and O2 training you may elect to waive this section.

Swim Test Requirements

There will be a swim evaluation at the beginning of this course. This evaluation will include:

  1. 400 meter swim, within 12 minutes
  2. Tread water continuously for 10 minutes, or 2 minutes without the use of hands.
  3.  Underwater swim for a distance of 25 meters, without surfacing
  4. Surface dive to 10’ to recover a swimmer on the bottom, and transport on the surface 25 meters.

Please Note: Anyone who does not successfully complete all components of the swim test will not be permitted to participate in Scientific Diving beyond the Diver in Training level.

OSI Dive Safety Officer

DM Website Photo

Darrell Montague, Dive and Boat Safety Officer for the Ocean Studies Institute, has been working in the dive industry for 17 years as a Divemaster and Instructor. Prior to his current position, he was Dive Safety Officer for the California Science Center Foundation, overseeing exhibit, youth education, and open water diving, as well as boat operations. He has also trained divers for the California Institute of Technology, and acted as Dive Safety Officer and expedition medic on remote dive operations for Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, National Geographic, and several film and television productions.

Jim Cvitanovich, the DSO for the Ocean Studies Institute, has been free and scuba diving along the So. Cal. Coast since 1963. Starting out at 12 with mask, snorkel, fins and sweatshirt along the Palos Verdes coast near home in San Pedro, getting scuba certified in 1971, and becoming a PADI instructor in 1981. Jim has worked as a commercial diver in the area doing light salvage, survey, and repair, and as second captain and crew on a number of commercial dive boats in San Pedro. Acting as the assistant DSO since 1981, Jim took over the position as DSO in 1999.

Questions should be directed to Darrell Montague, OSI Dive and Boat Safety Officer
820 South Seaside Avenue, Terminal Island, CA 90731
Cell: (626) 399-3308; SCMI: (310) 519-3172 x 976