Summer Scientific Diving Course

MLML / CSU Marine Science Diving

AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Sciences) Summer Intensive Scientific Diving Course

Summer 2024 Course

The summer 2024 AAUS course is being offered at MLML this summer!


  • Trains research divers to AAUS standards to attain status as a scientific diver. Authorization allows for research diving reciprocity among AAUS institutions ***need home institution for affiliation
  • Training students in advanced safe diving techniques
  • Demonstrate advanced understanding of diving physics, physiology, equipment troubleshooting, navigation, dive planning, emergency and rescue skills
  • Become familiar with research diving skills, survey techniques and common marine organisms.  Research techniques include REEF CHECK surveys
  • Increase competency as coldwater divers under varied conditions 
  • Become familiar with small boat diving safety and techniques
  • Become certified as NAUI Master Diver and AAUS diver

***The summer course is intensive. Be in swimming and diving shape; come prepared.




Course Dates:

  • Target dates -- August 5-17
    • Aug. 5-10 in Moss Landing/Monterey
    • Aug. 11-17 camping field trip to Landels Hill Big Creek UC Reserve in Big Sur. 
  • Meet times are approx. 7:30-5:00pm daily. Syllabus available in early July
    • Snack day/SEABAG -- each person is lead diver for a day during the course


Course Location:

  • Class work at MLML main lab, water work: local pool, then ocean around Monterey Bay and Big Creek Marine Reserve!
  • FIRST CLASS gear check.
  • FIRST WATER DAY TENTATIVELY- Monday Aug 5, CSUMB pool meet 8am, BRING all swim, skin, scuba gear, + towel. (Regulator and BCD must have proof of annual inspection -- see inspection form in paperwork section


May need to provide own transportation to and from all local ocean/pool/lecture site and transport own gear


During the first week of the course, students will need housing around MLML or Monterey Area. MLML may have some student summer housing available.


  • Fill out the application materials. Gather all of the required prerequisite verification and be prepared to upload them to a shared folder or email them to for the DSO to review by July 1 (sooner to hold your space). If complete and prerequisites are met, DSO will send you registration materials. To hold a class space all paperwork must be reviewed by DSO and course fee must be paid. There is a non-refundable course fee. CSU students have course priority. Note if you are completing some training after July 1, that's ok just designate this. Course sign up link to show interest.


Forms at

  • Basic SCUBA and Rescue certification – verify with a certification card
  • Equivalent of Advanced Certification
  • 12 logged cold-water scuba dives minimum! (with 4 within the last 6 months)
    • Logs must be submitted. All dates, locations, buddies, depths, dive profiles info required (dive log form available at under REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
    • Highly recommended to have 20+ dives logged
  • Current application & dive medical on CSU/AAUS medical form with appropriate lab work
    • Note: if you had COVID, further testing may be required – see 2022 medical.
  • Personal Dive Gear with current annual inspection verification (see list below).
    • MUST be comfortable with personal SCUBA gear set-up you will use in the course with at least 2 cold water dives in that gear.
  • Pass the AAUS Swim Test (must submit verification of meeting swim criteria as part of application materials and MUST PASS FIRST DAY - practice prior to the class).
  • Basic skin and SCUBA skills
  • Current CPR, 1st Aid, Emergency O2 training (provide cards or proof of current training)
  • Current DAN membership and basic diving insurance
  • Complete AAUS e-learning. (approximate 10-12 hrs to complete, plan ahead
    • link to e-learning will be sent out as part of course after payment is received**
  • Complete NAUI Master Diver elearning
    • link to e-learning will be sent out as part of course after payment is received**
  • Commitment to a rugged, challenging and rewarding diving course and arrive with a high level of fitness to dive.
  • MUST be comfortable with personal SCUBA gear set-up you will use in the course with at least 2 dives in that gear.


If you would like to enroll for this course, please complete the following Google form, indicating your interest and potential class enrollment. Please note that this form will ask you for your most recent swim time for a 400yd swim (with no equipment) and any dive training records (where, when, & training agency). Please have this information ready at hand when filling out the application.

MLML Dive Program Application

Admission is based on instructor consent. Please note that priority is given to MLML and CSU graduate students, then undergraduate students, then outside applicants, but we encourage all to apply. This course is offered through SJSU Extension. After your application is assessed, sign-up details will be provided to those who meet the course requirements.

All other course paperwork can be found on the page Becoming an AAUS Diver, under Dive Training. The first 8 items (as ONE PDF document) must be emailed to MLML dive program admin ( not later than July 15th. KEEP A PERSONAL COPY OF ALL YOUR PAPERWORK.

Cost: ~$750  (Course fee varies for non-CSU students)

Costs cover: AAUS certification, REEF CHECK certification, NAUI Master Diver Certification, Training, cylinders + fills, dive vehicle transport, boats, engines, field compressors, sampling & emergency equipment (O2/AED), field equipment, access, camping fees. Food for field trip to Big Creek UC Reserve not included.

Not Included/Costs approximated: 

- CPR, 1st Aid, O2 admin, certification

- NAUI Master Diver Card ($56)/or AAUS elearning

- NAUI Master Diver text (digital copy available free)

- Medical Exam         

- DAN Membership ($40) + Insurance ($42 to  $117.75, depending on coverage)

- Reef Check manual and flash cards (PDF available online)

- 2 sided slates for sale at MLML


You must provide: 

  1. Ditchable weight system (ex. belt, pouches, harness) for skin and SCUBA activities
  2. Buoyancy Compensator, with whistle, appropriate clips for avoiding dangling gear. BCD must have proof of service.
  3. Regulator - must have a primary 2nd stage, and an octopus, LP inflator hose and gauges including an SPG. If BCD has an integrated air source, divers must also carry an octopus for ‘COVID-safer’ air sharing. All divers must have an analog SPG.
  4. Mask & Snorkel
  5. Wetsuit (7mm wetsuit minimum for ocean, surf suit ok for pool) A dry suit is ok if you have verification of training and 4 recent dives within the last month, using the dry suit you intend to use in class. You will be required to have a backup wetsuit on site. This is not a dry suit training course.
  6. Gloves, Booties, Fins, & Hood
  7. Timing device, depth gauge and dive tables OR dive computer + manual
  8. Compass – and knowledge of how to use it
  9. Cutting Tool (Safety Shears or Dive knife with strap)
  10. Equipment Bag (that fits all of your gear)
  11. Smaller mesh goodie bag (that fits mask, fin, snorkel) for boat diving
  12. Personal save-a-dive kit
  13. Dive Light (minimum one, preferable to have 2)
  14. Dive slate for sampling (2 sided slates + UW paper for sale at MLML $25.00 or to borrow)
  15. Gear Storage container – changing tarp
  16. Camping Gear for Big Creek Trip – sleeping bag, pad, tent, flashlight/head lamp, sun hat, warm weather gear, sunscreen, water bottle, plate, knife, fork, mug, underwater harmonica, rain coat

Initial Swim and Snorkel Skills: FIRST DAY

AAUS Swim Test (pass first pool day, no swim aids allowed, PRACTICE ahead of time)

1) 400 yd swim in under 12 min

2) 25 yd underwater swim (**practice this under close supervision)

3) 10 min tread water

4) 25 yd swimmer transport

- Skin Skills (in pool, then ocean) -- with skin gear (mask, fins, snorkel, weight belt)

1) Mask R&R

2) Fin R&R

3) Any 2 items R&R

4) Skin Rescue

5) 50 yds underwater on 3 breaths

- SCUBA Skills (in pool, then ocean) -- in full scuba gear

1) Removal and Recovery (R&R) of gear at surface and at depth -- weight belt/pouches, BCD, mask, regulator

2) BCD orally inflate, remove and replace power inflator (surface and at depth)

3) Buddy breath 25 yds without mask as donor and recipient**

4) Octopus breath 25 yds without mask as donor and recipient**

5) SCUBA rescue**

6) Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent

7) Full UW gear exchange with buddy*

8) Full gear Ditch and Don*

9) 400 yard surface swim in full scuba gear, breathing on snorkel <20 minutes

* non-mandatory advanced skills, conducted in pool only

** These skills will be simulated and modified for COVID safety for non-contact