DAOD 8009-1, Canadian Forces Diving - Organization and Operating Principles


Date of Issue: 2006-09-22

Application: This DAOD is a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence ("DND employees") and an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Forces ("CF members").

Supersession: CFAO 43-2, Diving - Organization, Responsibilities and Administrative Instructions

Approval Authority: This DAOD is issued under the authority of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).

Enquiries: Director of Diving Safety (D Dive S)


CF Diver (plongeur militaire)
CF diver means a diver qualified in any sub-category of CF diving, whether a member of a CF diving team or a CF member who is maintaining currency and qualification through casual diving with a CF diving team.
CF Diving (plongée militaire)
CF diving means diving using underwater breathing apparatus, as well as the use by CF divers of hyperbaric chambers and other forms of underwater intervention, including remotely-operated underwater vehicles, submersibles and related special sensors.
CF Diving Team (équipe de plongeurs militaires)
CF diving team means an organizational sub-unit identified in command orders that is authorized to conduct CF diving, meets the standards set out in the Canadian Forces Diving Manual and is recognized by D Dive S.
Sub-Specialist CF diver (plongeur militaire sous-spécialiste)
Sub-specialist CF diver means a CF diver in one or more of the sub-categories of CF diving for whom diving is not a core job component or duty area as described in military occupation structure documentation.

CF Divers

CF Diver Selection and Training

Entry into any category of CF diving is voluntary and subject to a process consisting of screening and qualification stages. Screening for medical, psychological and physical suitability varies according to the qualification sought.

The diving environment is inherently hazardous. In addition to being physically and mentally demanding, a CF diver's tasks are prone to significant risk. These facts are mandatory considerations, both for candidates and those recommending or selecting volunteers for CF diving training and employment.

Safety is maintained by means of thorough training, regular practice and compliance with safety orders, which are promulgated in the Canadian Forces Diving Manual ("the Diving Manual") and Diving General Memoranda (DGM).

As identified in the respective diving course documentation, the CF training agencies authorized to conduct CF diving training are the:

Selection and training requirements can be found in:

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Medical and Physical Fitness Requirements - Selection

Prior to final selection for initial assignment to a CF diving sub-specialty or military occupation, all candidates shall:

All diving candidates shall also undergo a pressure tolerance test in accordance with the relevant CFMO, Canadian Forces Diver Medical Examination Standards, or MSI CF, before commencing training and shall not be considered for further diving training if they are unable to pass this test.

Note - Because a superior level of fitness is required, commanding officers (COs) of both CF divers and diving candidates shall ensure that adequate time is allocated for physical fitness training. The CF EXPRES standards should be used as the guide to meeting this requirement.

Medical Examination

A qualified diving medical officer (DMO), appointed by a command surgeon, shall conduct diving medical examinations and ensure CF divers are immunized in accordance with the relevant CFMO, Canadian Forces Diver Medical Examination Standards, or MSI CF. Command surgeons may issue directives and procedural requirements to authorize other physicians to perform this examination where DMOs are not available.

An initial diving medical examination is valid for one year. However, a DMO shall review diving medical examinations that are over six months old and update them if clinically indicated.

A DMO shall conduct a complete diving medical examination on a qualified CF diver every two years. However, a diver actively involved in saturation or experimental diving requires a complete diving medical examination every year. Type 2 Diver Health Examination Screening shall also be conducted every two years, on alternate years to the complete diving medical examination.

All candidates selected for clearance diving training shall undergo a full clearance diving medical and be medically approved by the Consultant in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine at the Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Toronto, Experimental Diving and Undersea Group (EDU Grp) before commencing the clearance diving course.

Dental Examinations

Dental examinations are required annually for all CF divers.

CF Course Reports

Form CF 377, CF Course Report, shall be submitted in accordance with DAOD 5031-9, Course Reporting and Certificates, for all candidates who attend any CF diving course.

The course report shall include a notation concerning entitlement to casual diving allowance under Compensation and Benefits Instructions (CBI) 205.345, Casual Diving Allowance, if applicable, during the period the candidate is in training.

Upon receipt of the course report from the authorized training agency, the candidate's parent unit shall carry out the necessary Unit Personnel Data Transaction (UPDT) action.

Diving Allowances

In general, CF divers are entitled to receive an allowance based upon their status as:

CFAO 205-25, Environmental Allowances amplifies instructions pertaining to the following allowances which CF divers may be entitled to receive:

Re-qualification and Recertification

Sub-specialist CF divers are required to update their qualifications every three years by attending a CF diving re-qualification course. In extenuating circumstances, the environmental command authority may extend the requirement by a further year. CF divers for whom diving is a core job component or duty area, in accordance with their occupation specifications, do not require a re-qualification course, but shall maintain skills as stated in the Reconfirmation of Diving Skills block.

Procedures for recertification of members whose qualifications have been rescinded or have otherwise lapsed are found in Volume 2, Organization, Regulations, Rules and Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus Diving (CABA) of the Diving Manual B-GG-380-000/FP-002, Canadian Forces Diving Manual.

Rescinding of Qualification

Unless waived by the operational level headquarters (OLHQ) or formation command HQ, the unit CO shall rescind the qualifications of any of the following who fail to meet requirements in accordance with the Diving Manual, Volume 2:

Reconfirmation of Diving Skills

The CO of a CF diving team shall ensure that all necessary facilities are provided for the proper training and exercise of all divers under command. Because of the diverse array of life support systems and procedures utilized by CF divers, proficiency and skill in any specific diving system degrades rapidly without regular practice. CF divers who may have been assigned to duties away from any particular diving system shall not resume their duties in that system until they have refreshed and reconfirmed their skills.

In cases where no order exists in the Diving Manual for a specific work-up in a particular diving system, the CO shall promulgate local standard operating procedures (SOPs) and policies to ensure divers' skills are refreshed, and that their re-confirmations are properly recorded upon completion.

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Operating Principles

Conduct of Diving Operations

The orders governing the conduct of CF diving during operations, exercises and training are detailed in the seven volumes of the Diving Manual.

All personnel concerned with CF diving shall make themselves thoroughly conversant with the Diving Manual, Volumes 1 and 2.

All personnel involved in diving operations using diving systems other than those covered in the Diving Manual, Volume 2, shall also be thoroughly conversant with Volumes 3, 4 and 5 as applicable.

Experimental Diving

The scope of the program at the EDU Grp includes research, development, testing, evaluation, investigation and quality assurance functions. The research and experimentation carried out at the EDU Grp supports all aspects of CF diving. The officer in command (OIC) of the EDU Grp, as Chair of the Diving Thrust Advisory Group, determines EDU Grp program priorities. Requests or taskings originated by CF diving authorities, such as D Dive S, Director Maritime Requirement Sea (DMRS) or Director Maritime Ship Support (DMSS), that fall outside of the agreed Thrust program, will normally be accompanied by supplementary funding from the requesting authority. Examples of requests include accident and incident investigation, project definition, development of requirements, technical support and test or evaluation of off-the-shelf equipment.

The EDU Grp is authorized to employ all categories of CF, civilian or allied forces divers, as subjects in diving experiments approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). Allied forces involvement is enabled under the auspices of standing agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOU). Except when deviations are necessitated by the conduct of HREC-approved experimental dives, the EDU Grp shall adhere to all orders, procedures and restrictions in accordance with the Diving Manual, and the 8009 series DAODs.

Diving Safety, Incident and Accident Reports

An important factor in the safety of CF divers is the analysis of accurate data recorded shortly after an actual or simulated dive in which injury has occurred or could have occurred owing to failure of equipment or procedure.

Orders governing the investigation and reporting of CF diving incidents and accidents are detailed in the Diving Manual, Volume 2. Diving hazards shall not be reported via other general safety reporting procedures.

D Dive S shall:

D Dive S shall conduct an on-site safety investigation into all serious diving accidents, distinct from any ongoing Board of Inquiry or other local investigation, as detailed in the Diving Manual, Volume 2.

Diving Publications and Diving General Memoranda

The Diving Manual is distributed as a controlled publication via the CF Publication Depot. CF diving team holdings of the Diving Manual are strictly limited to ensure completeness and accuracy. Accordingly, personal copies are not authorized. While some volumes of this publication are also accessible on the D Dive S Intranet website, they are not authorized as a substitute for the printed copies.

D Dive S acts as the regulatory authority for CF diving and promulgates the Diving Manuals and DGM under the authority of the CDS. DGM primarily distribute diving safety information quickly to all CF diving authorities and CF diving teams who shall:

DGM are distributed to the appropriate address indicating groups (AIG) for CF diving authorities and CF diving teams, by message or letter as applicable, and are also accessible on the D Dive S Intranet website. D Dive S is the authority for the DGM AIGs.

Annual Inspections

To ensure the maintenance of promulgated standards, D Dive S conducts a two-part annual inspection program consisting of:

This inspection program is applicable to all CF diving teams.

D Dive S is assisted by the FDUs for the technical and maintenance part of the annual inspections, within their area of responsibility (AOR). For the purpose of inspections, CF diving teams are assigned to either the Eastern or Western AOR, the division falling at the border between the provinces of Manitoba and Ontario. Inspection requirements, encompassing administration, safety, organization and materiel are fully detailed in the Diving Manual, Volume 2.

FDUs shall report the results of all annual Technical and Maintenance Inspections to D Dive S. Following an analysis of the reports, D Dive S shall communicate its assessment of the inspection results to each CF diving team by letter. Unless otherwise authorized by D Dive S, a "SATISFACTORY" assessment must be achieved for a CF diving team to continue diving.

D Dive S may grant an extension of up to six months beyond the anniversary of the last Administration and Safety Inspection, when justified by extenuating circumstances, such as operational deployment or a ship's refit. Extensions more than one month past the anniversary of the previous Technical and Maintenance Inspection require the approval of the Life Cycle Materiel Manager (LCMM), who shall consult with D Dive S as required by the circumstances.

Diving operational readiness standards and practical diving evaluations are the responsibility of the respective chain of command.

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All CF diving teams shall record, report and maintain up to date records of both individual diver and team activities. All exposures to the hyperbaric environment shall be carefully logged, to provide a record of individual physiological exposures over the career of each member as well as an indication of each member's experience, training and proficiency. Accordingly, non-CF diving and hyperbaric environment exposures (e.g. civilian sport diving and CF recreational SCUBA Club diving) may be included in the logs, provided the sport or recreational nature of the exposures is clearly indicated in the records.

Diving Records and Reports

The following logs and reports shall be used and completed in accordance with the Diving Manual, Volume 2 and applicable directives and orders:



CF diving equipment means all equipment that is used in direct support of CF diving, whether life support critical (LSC) or ancillary. LSC components are those that, if they were to fail, would immediately jeopardize the health or safety of a CF diver. All other diving equipment is considered ancillary.

CF diving equipment includes a CF diver's personal scale of issue, equipment as listed in CF diving team equipment check lists (ECL), all related hyperbaric life support equipment such as recompression chambers, compressors, gas storage and supply systems, as well as underwater (UW) communications equipment, vessels and materiel handling equipment used in direct support of CF diving.


CF diving equipment that is LSC (e.g. hyperbaric life support equipment) must be operated and maintained meticulously. Because ancillary diving equipment may, under some circumstances, be critical to the health and safety of a CF diver, such equipment shall also be operated and maintained to the highest standards. While this principle applies to all CF diving equipment, implementation of equipment policy and CF diving team practices differ considerably between LSC equipment and ancillary diving equipment.


CF diving equipment shall be supported by:

All proposals for changes to entitlement and new equipment shall incorporate:

All LSC equipment in the CF inventory shall fully satisfy these requirements. All new ancillary diving equipment proposals shall address these requirements in the planning stage. The involvement of the EDU Grp and field units in development, testing, evaluation and related activities shall be in accordance with applicable policy and directives.

Personal Issue

On successful completion of initial qualification courses, divers shall be issued supporting diving equipment in accordance with scale CFS-1 D01-312 - Clothing and Equipment - Personal Loan Issue - CF Divers.

CF members, whose diving qualifications have been rescinded, shall return their supporting diving equipment to the closest supply organization.

Unit/Team Entitlement

Authorized scales of issue and ECLs are set out in A-LM-181-001/JS-001, Standard Supply Instructions. Changes to entitlement are addressed in the Requirements block. FDU schools are authorized to issue diving and related equipment in accordance with scale CFS-1 D01-409 - Protective Clothing - Diving Establishment. The EDU Grp is authorized to issue diving and related equipment in accordance with scale CFS-1 D09-121 - Equipment - Canadian Experimental Diving Division.

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All diving equipment shall be tested, repaired and maintained in accordance with the appropriate Canadian Forces Technical Order (CFTO). If there is no CFTO for the equipment concerned, the LCMM may authorize CF divers and diving equipment maintainers to comply with the manufacturer's recommendations for maintenance, until a CFTO is promulgated. Divers and maintainers shall report to their superiors any high pressure diving components, equipment or systems that lack either CF or manufacturer's maintenance documentation, for further investigation.

The FDUs, the EDU Grp and clearance divers on staff at Dwyer Hill Training Centre (DHTC) are authorized to oversee and conduct all levels of maintenance, as approved by the LCMM and D Dive S. Other user units are only authorized to carry out limited maintenance of diving breathing apparatus or high-pressure systems. Such limited maintenance is generally restricted to first line maintenance, unless otherwise provided for in the Diving Manual or applicable CFTOs.

Units shall return defective or suspect diving equipment to the appropriate FDU for inspection, maintenance and repair. Unless otherwise directed by an appropriate diving authority, this return shall be conducted in accordance with instructions found in A-LM-181-001/JS-001, Standard Supply Instructions, to facilitate efficient replenishment action.

Breathing Air and Gases Purity

All compressed breathing air and gases intended for diving purposes are subject to strict quality and testing standards. The CF standard required for the purity of compressed breathing air and gases, supplied from pressurized containers or from compressors, intended for human respiration UW or in hyperbaric chambers, is detailed in CFTO D-87-003-000/SG-001, Purity of Compressed Breathing Air and Gases for Divers.

Samples of breathing air shall be processed for testing in accordance with CFTO C-87-020-001/NG-001, Special Test Instructions Diver's Breathing Air Analysis, at an interval not to exceed every six months so that purity may be confirmed.

All breathing gases shall be tested to ensure compliance with CF standards and documentation of the test results shall be maintained at user units or CF supply outlets as appropriate. Non-CF compressed breathing air and gases shall only be used in accordance with orders in the Diving Manual and as implemented under international agreements such as NATO standardization agreements (STANAGs).


Responsibilities Table

The following table identifies responsibilities for the control and conduct of CF diving and diving training:

The … is/are responsible for …

D Dive S

  • developing, coordinating and administering CF diving policy as well as safety policies and practices;
  • managing CF diving publications;
  • approving CF diving procedures and use of equipment;
  • promulgating CF diving policy through DAOD 8009-0, Canadian Forces Diving and this DAOD;
  • promulgating CF diving orders and further instructions through the Diving Manual, Volumes 1 - 7 and DGMs;
  • enforcing CF diving orders and instructions;
  • representing CF diving with respect to national and international diving policies and regulations;
  • investigating and closing all serious diving incident and accident investigations from the perspective of safety policy; and
  • chairing the Canadian Forces Diving Policy Committee (CFDPC).


  • providing a forum for policy discussion and development of all aspects of CF diving, in accordance with its terms of reference.


  • managing naval diving equipment requirements;
  • managing CF diving equipment requirements, in consultation with maritime, land and air environment diving offices of primary interest (OPIs) and offices of collateral interest (OCIs); and
  • chairing the CF Diving Requirements Working Group.


  • acting as design authority and LCMM for all CF diving equipment and consumables, except as noted below with respect to the EDU Grp.


  • developing and executing a research and development (R&D) and test and evaluation (T&E) program under the guidance of the Diving Thrust Advisory Group (TAG);
  • acting as the CF lead agency for R&D and T&E of new diving equipment and new diving procedures; and
  • acting as design authority for fixed diving systems at the EDU Grp.

Health Hazards Group (HHG) at DRDC Toronto

  • developing and maintaining quality standards for compressed breathing air and gases for use in CF diving; and
  • developing and maintaining safe standards for personal protective measures and procedures for use by CF divers.

Director Maritime Health Services (DMH Svcs)

  • overseeing and promulgating policy on CF hyperbaric and diving medicine as recommended by the Consultant in Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine at DRDC Toronto; and
  • managing the selection and training of DMOs and Diving Medical Technicians.


  • conducting CF diving by CANSOFCOM units in accordance with CANSOFCOM HQ/COS OPS policy and procedures.

Director Maritime Policy Operations and Readiness (DMPOR 4-3)

  • developing, coordinating and administering naval diving policy and procedures; and
  • monitoring all matters pertaining to naval diving policy, operations and readiness.

Staff Officer Diving, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Mine Warfare - MARLANT and MARPAC

  • developing, co-ordinating, administering and staffing diving policy at the formation level; and
  • monitoring and staffing formation naval diving operations, exercises and readiness.

FDU (A) and FDU (P)

  • developing CF diving procedures, training and equipment requirements in consultation with CF diving OCIs;
  • conducting field evaluations and trials of CF diving equipment, as agreed with the EDU Grp;
  • conducting annual CF diving technical and maintenance inspections in their AOR;
  • conducting second and third line maintenance on CF diving equipment;
  • acting as training agencies for CF and naval diving;
  • managing CF diving training standards in consultation with all diving authorities responsible for the various categories of CF divers; and
  • conducting clearance diving in accordance with naval diving policy and procedures, including mine countermeasure (MCM) diving, surface and underwater EOD, force protection and battle damage repair (BDR), surface supplied and salvage operations, and diving taskings in their AOR;

Naval Reserve HQ Quebec

  • developing military occupation code (MOC) R345 Port Inspection Diver (PID) diving procedures, training and equipment requirements;
  • conducting field evaluations and trials of CF diving equipment, as agreed with the EDU Grp; and
  • conducting and supporting MOC R345 PID training.

Naval Reserve Regional Diving Centers & Teams

  • conducting port inspection diving in accordance with naval diving policy and procedures, including support to clearance diving operations.

OPI Army Diving (Commandant CF School of Military Engineering)

  • establishing Land Force Command (LFC) training and equipment requirements for army diving;
  • staffing army diving policy and procedures; and
  • appointing the OIC of ADC.


  • overseeing and controlling all activities of the ADC; and
  • representing army diving on CF diving committees, at working groups and meetings.


  • developing army diving procedures, training and equipment requirements;
  • acting as LFC training agency for army diving;
  • conducting or supporting army diving training;
  • conducting or supporting army diving exercises; and
  • conducting field evaluations and trials of CF diving equipment, as agreed with the EDU Grp.

LFC Diving Teams

  • conducting army diving in accordance with LFC policies and procedures for army diving.

A3 Search and Rescue (SAR) Tech

  • establishing SAR diving training and equipment requirements;
  • providing a SAR diving representative at CF diving committees, working groups and meetings; and
  • staffing policy and procedures for SAR diving.

Transport and Rescue Standards Evaluations Team (TRSET)

  • developing SAR diving procedures, training and equipment requirements;
  • conducting field evaluations and trials of CF diving equipment, as agreed with the EDU Grp; and
  • conducting or supporting approved SAR diving training.

SAR Diving Teams

  • conducting SAR diving in accordance with A3 SAR Tech SAR diving policy and procedures.

1 Canadian Air Division (1 Cdn Air Div)

  • sponsoring and supporting the CF School of Survival and Aeromedical Training chamber operations; and
  • sponsoring diving supervisor and diving tender training in support of Canadian Forces Medical Group (CFMG) requirements.

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Source References

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