Getting Ready

Diving in Catalina

You want to participate in DEEP 2019, fantastic! This guide will help you sort through the preparation, paperwork and pre-requisites that you need before you start this course. First off, let’s all know that this will be an intensive semester long course - it’s designed that way. Sandwiched between heavy subjects of intertidal, subtidal, invertebrate and vertebrate biology, there are hands-on topics on scuba diving for science, operation of powerboats for research, rescue procedures above and below the water and a strong emphasis on “in the moment problem solving, communication and team building”. This is a new course for SF State. Your engagement, viewpoint and communication throughout is very important to this course and its future, so please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions, concerns or comments that you may have. Your faculty and staff:

Kathy Boyer, Professor of Biology
Karen Crow, Professor of Biology
David Bell, Marine Superintendent and Diving Safety Officer
Tyler Phelps, Assistant Diving Safety Officer, DEEP Instructor

Step 1: Course Registration and Costs

Please register for this course ASAP. Please note that this is a “field heavy” course rooted in activity at remote locations, including 4-5 weeks the the Hawaii Field Station. We will be working together as a team to reduce costs, including sharing transportation to dive sites, sharing in meal planning and using the most efficient schedule to perform your research. For divers, there will be some additional costs for dive gear, again communicate with us so that we can offset some of those costs, see more in the section on “Gearing Up (coming soon)”. 
Anticipated Course Costs
Tuition: Apx $2400 (COAST Grants availalable)
Travel Fees Paid By Student: apx $1000
DAN Insurance Paid By Student (Required): $50

Step 2: Dive Paperwork and SCUBA Diving Physical Exam

University and AAUS policy requires that all scuba divers compete a diving physical exam prior to any underwater activity, this includes the pool session which will be held in the first week of class. Between the paperwork and physical, this step takes some time so please start early.
SCUBA Diving Physical Exam
Download the new diver application packet and complete all forms. Answer the questions on the Diving Medical Exam and take this for to your physician. State that this exam is for “student instruction in scientific diving”. Please note that this exam is not for California workers compensation and not is required by your employer.
If you do not have health insurance or your health insurance is provided by SF State, please contact the Marine Superintendent. We are working to provide a limited number of low cost diving medical exams.

Non-Divers and Snorkelers

Many aspects of this course can be accomplished in the intertidal area on snorkel, so for students whom do not plan on diving or will be using snorkel, please download and complete the waiver. You will not need a medical exam. 

Step 3: Complete Basic Open Water Scuba

This step is essential for all students who intend to use scuba for research. You must have a basic open water scuba certificate form any nationally recognized agency (PADI, NAUI, TDI, ets). This includes five open water dives, required prior to the first day of class. In the first week of class, we will review some basic scuba and skin skills in a pool, however the class is not geared towards students than need to learn or refresh basic scuba skills. That said, is you feel you need some basic scuba training in a pool or open water prior to the start of the class in January, 2019, please contact the Marine Superintendent. We love to dive, and could arrange a pool or shore dive for you and go over some basic skills you may need assistance on. 

Step 4: Get Your SCUBA and Protective Gear

Also an essential step for scuba research, you will need your own set of scuba gear that fits you appropriately and is in “serviceable condition”, which means it will pass a basic inspection prior to use and should not need any major repairs. Consider your scuba gear as tools of the trade, much like a mechanics. Buy the right tool and keep it well maintained, it will last you a career’s worth of diving. 
Basic SCUBA Gear You Must Need
  1. Wetsuit - cold water wetsuit, 5-7mm thick, one or two piece suit, functional zipper.
  2. Hood - 5-7mm neoprene that fits well, covers the head.
  3. Gloves - any exposure protection for your hands is recommended.
  4. Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD) - Any style BCD that fits you and can be used for cold water diving. Spare air regulator (built into the BCD) is not required. Please note, our scuba training will be done in the colder waters of NorCal but the research you do will be done in Hawaii, so we will require your BCD to be of sufficient size (buoyancy lift) and construction (durability) to handle both of these environments.
  5. Weights and/or weight belt - Many BCD have integrated weights while other divers prefer having weights on a belt, or both. The choice is yours. For this course, you will need to provide your own weights on your BCD or belt. Soft weights are preferred but any weight will work. Note that for the trip to Hawaii, we will be using weights by HIMB, so do not plan on taking your weights on the trip. 
  6. Mask and snorkel - any mask that fits you well and does not leak. A standard snorkel should be clipped to the left side of the mask.
  7. Fins - any style of fin that fits you well.
  8. Regulator - your gear should have a first stage and two second stage regulators, one as a primary regulator and the other as a secondary “octo” that you can use or pass to a recipient. Your gear should have a submersible pressure gauge that can be clipped to your BCD. Please note, regulator “consoles” with SPG, compass, computer, etc are fine, but your gear must have at a minimum the SPG.

Please label your gear - will provide a paint pen on the first week of class - many gear sets look the same and it’s easy to loose items - mark them. 

Basic SCUBA Gear You May Want
  1. “Tropical Wetsuit” - 3-4mm neoprene wetsuit for use in Hawaii.
  2. Gear bag - something to hold all your gear.
  3. Dive slate - writing slate to use underwater.
  4. Compass - any underwater compass mounted on write, console or slate.
  5. Knife - a dive knife or cutting device that can be mounted on BCD, hose, pocket or wetsuit.
  6. Surface marker buoy - any surface signaling device that can be clipped to your BCD or stuffed in a pocket.
Clothing You May Need
Participating in DEEP means you will be studying and training in the field, with weather that will range from NorCal winter and rain to Hawaii Springtime. Our overall suggestion is to wear non-cotton layers and pack a day bag that can handle every climate you can expect. Please consider having:
  1. Waterproof jacket - any waterproof jacket is recommended.
  2. Waterproof pants or bibs - a cover layer over your regular pants, should be waterproof.
  3. Waterproof shoes - ankle high shoes, preferably waterproof (note: open toe shoes or "flip flops" are not permitted on SFSU watercraft).
  4. Head protection - hat, glasses, neck gator, whatever sun and wind protection you may need.
  5. Waterproof bag - can be a small nylon bag to hold personal items or backpack that is waterproof.
  6. Waterbottle - refillable bottle.
Divers on skiff at Catalina