Orkney Dive Boat Operators' Association
CODE OF PRACTICE
- Dive boat skippers are responsible for safety of all passengers and crew while on board their vessel.
- Dive boat owners are responsible for ensuring both vessel and skipper have appropriate certification for area of operation and that certificates and training records are in date.
- Divers are responsible for the possession of a current diving qualification appropriate to the planned
dive and a valid certificate of medical fitness to dive.
- Diving operations are the responsibility of the diving group, individual or nominated diving
supervisor. Divers are responsible for discussing dive plans with the skipper through a nominated
- The skipper may advise on matters considered relevant to the dive (e.g. changes in sea condition,
surface visibility, tides). If necessary, the skipper has the authority to terminate the dive or suggest an
alternative if considered unsafe or sea/weather conditions are considered unsuitable.
- Vessel owners are responsible for ensuring any equipment used in provision of a diving service (e.g.
compressor) is suitable and that maintenance, test certificates and training records are in date.
- Dive boat owners will ensure that the vessel has valid Passenger and Third Party Liability insurance.
- The dive boat is only insured for divers whilst they are onboard. Divers are responsible for ensuring
they have adequate insurance cover for their diving activities.
- All dive boats will carry adequate and working communications equipment including VHF and will
keep a listening watch on Channel 16 and any other agreed working VHF channel.
- Dive boats will establish and maintain communication with any vessel(s) already on the dive site,
identify current situation and agree diving/vessel manoeuvre procedures to be followed.
- Dive boats to display correct dive signals (A-flag) when divers in water. Signals to be removed when
vessel not involved in diving operation.
- All vessels to proceed at a safe speed in areas where divers are in-water.
- A watch will be kept at all times when in the vicinity of a dive site for surfacing divers and divers on
surface. This should be particularly observed when putting engine into gear.
- A safe distance will be maintained from the shot while the dive boat is on standby, bearing in mind
both keeping clear of surfacing divers and a need to keep watch for divers and any other vessel traffic.
- When diving in tidal locations or in recognised navigation channels away from known wrecks sites
and shot lines, divers will carry surface marker buoys (SMBs) or decompression bags. This is
particularly important when undertaking long periods of in-water decompression.
- The diver is responsible for informing the skipper of any intention to move away from the wreck
and/or shot line and planned dive durations.
- The skipper is responsible for informing the divers of any known hazards (e.g. navigation lanes and
ferry routes). Divers are responsible for planning dives accordingly.
- The skipper will communicate with OIC Harbours Operations Room at Scapa before diving the wreck
of the Strathgarry in Hoxa Sound.
- Dive boat skippers are responsible for co-ordinating emergency procedures onboard the vessel and
complying with agreed emergency communication channels. In the event of an emergency involving
a diving incident, HM Coastguard should be immediately notified on Channel 16.
- Dive boat skippers will maintain a log of contact details and next of kin for all passengers onboard.
- Divers are responsible for keeping adequate logs of their dives to assist in the event of a diving
- Other dive boats in the area will remain on standby in the event of an emergency including a diving
incident and assist where necessary.
- Dive boat owners are responsible for ensuring all vessels carry a means of recovering casualties from
the water and that dive boat skippers are familiar in techniques for retrieval of an injured or
unconscious diver from the water.
- Dive boat owners are responsible for ensuring all vessels carry O2 administration equipment and that
this is maintained as appropriate. Dive boat skippers will be trained in the use of O2 administration
- ODBOA supports the national Respect our Wrecks Code of Practice and recognises the Orkney
Voluntary Underwater Conservation Zone.
- Due to the protected status of the wrecks of the German High Seas Fleet under the Ancient
Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, divers may not carry crowbars or other salvage
equipment when diving the wrecks of the Coln, Brummer, Dresden, Markgraf, Konig, Kronprinz
Wilhelm and Karlsruhe.
- ODBOA supports the location and discovery of new wrecks. Wreck location and recovery of any
artefacts must be undertaken within the law and reported to the Receiver of Wreck. It is the
responsibility of the individual divers to undertake all reporting and measures necessary under the law.
- HMS Royal Oak, HMS Vanguard and HMS Hampshire are recognised wargraves and as such are
proposed as controlled wrecks under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. Diving is not
permitted without a valid licence, and skippers will not allow diving on these wrecks without
possession of such a licence. No crowbars or other salvage equipment may be carried.
Orkney Dive Boat Operators Association Code of Practice – Revision 1.1
COP October 2001 Page 1 of 1
Web page 22 March 2004. ©ODBOA