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 geoduckharvest 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 

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has filed a proposed rule to establish a geoduck diver safety program. Public comment will be accepted through March 13, 2015..   

Second Substitute House Bill 1764, directed DNR to establish: (a) an advisory geoduck harvester safety committee; and (b) a geoduck diver safety program outlining mandatory safety requirements for commercial divers participating in the state wildstock fishery. 

 In April 2014, DNR filed a proposed rule that was substantively based on the advisory committee’s November 2013 report outlining recommendations for establishing a geoduck diver safety program. DNR received extensive industry feedback on both the original and a revised proposal filed in October 2014 during public hearings and comment periods. Predominant industry concerns included:

•             A dive physical requirement is overly stringent and cost prohibitive;
•             There is no precedent for a dive physical in other commercial dive fisheries;
•             Common temporary impairments (e.g., broken leg) could jeopardize a diver’s career;
•             The proposed rule fails to address the real on- and in-water operational safety concerns; and
•             It undermines the legislative intent to avoid adverse impacts to the fishery and /or job security for existing divers.

DNR has revised the proposed rule in an attempt to reach a compromise with industry representatives. The revised rule addresses the majority of diver concerns without undermining the legislative intent to advance diver safety.

Substantive changes include: (1) the removal of previously proposed medical requirements; and (2) the addition of a self-attestation confirming applicant experience/training in the fundamental principles of diver safety.

DNR will continue to utilize the safety committee as a platform to address operational safety concerns that cannot be addressed as a part of the licensing process.

DNR will conduct a public hearing on the proposed rule:

Olympia – March 12, 2015 | 6:00 PM
Natural Resources Bldg. Rm #172
1111 Washington St SE
Olympia, WA  98501

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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