DNR Dive Program
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DNR Dive Program 
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DNR Dive Program

DNR's dive team's primary duty is to conduct compliance monitoring during wild stock geoduck harvest periods. In addition, DNR divers perform other key functions including removing derelict vessels, fishing gear and debris; research and surveys; and outreach and education.

DNR is committed to the safe operations of our dive team and of the commercial divers who contract with the companies that bid for the opportunity to harvest wild stock geoducks from state-owned aquatic lands.


Rulemaking: Geoduck diver safety

Commercial geoduck diving is a strenuous occupation that exposes divers to a wide range of occupational health and safety hazards. Despite recognized hazards associated with commercial diving, there are no safety requirements for commercial divers who harvest wild stock geoducks

To address the lack of safety requirements, legislation passed in 2013 directed DNR to establish:

  • An advisory geoduck harvester safety committee, composed of agency and industry representatives. The committee was directed to provide recommendations for a safety program and hold quarterly meetings to discuss and address ongoing safety concerns.
  • A geoduck diver safety program outlining mandatory safety requirements for all divers.

The safety requirements piece of the legislation requires DNR to conduct rulemaking with input from the public and stakeholders. The proposed rules are substantively based on the committee’s report submitted in November 2013 outlining recommendations for a geoduck diver safety program.

We held two public hearings in late May. The public provided comments on the proposed rule. Extensive comments included those by licensed commercial divers and geoduck purchasers.

In recognition of the feedback received at those meetings and throughout the public comment period, DNR has revised the timeline for the geoduck diver safety program rulemaking.  DNR has postponed any staff recommendations to the Board of Natural Resources.  DNR currently is evaluating potential rule alternatives to address industry concerns.  Following revision of the proposed rule, DNR will file a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and reach out to the industry and the public. DNR will hold a new public hearing and public comment period.

The official rulemaking documents will be posted on DNR’s rule-making activities web page.

For more information about rulemaking for the Geoduck Diver Safety Program, contact: Matt Goehring, 360-902-1090.

Presentations from the 2014 Dive Safety Conference
In early April 2014, DNR hosted a two-day conference focused on professional diver safety. More than 200 divers representing a variety of organizations including state and federal agencies; law enforcement; scientific and research institutions and universities; shellfish industry; tribal fisheries; salvage companies; marine construction; commercial diver training

The 2014 Professional Dive Safety Conference brought together local, state, and national dive experts to present the latest scientific research, technology, and best management practices related to commercial dive programs.

April 7 Presentations

Reinvigorating a Safe Diving Culture at Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Professional Diving Requirements

Requirements for AAUS Divers and Dive Safety Officers

Implementing Dive Safety in Canada and Lummi Nation

Lessons Learned from decades of investigating Dive Accidents

April 8 Presentations

* These presentations include author's notes. To view these notes in the presentation, click on the   icon.

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Blain Reeves
Aquatic Resources Division
Washington State Department of Natural Resources


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