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The International Marine Contractors Association

Diving Where There Is Poor Surface Visibility

AODC 034
October 1985

There are also four regional sections which facilitate work on issues affecting members in their local geographic area – Americas Deepwater.The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) is the international trade association representing offshore. environmental and technical standards through the publication of information notes. . IMCA promotes improvements in quality. Marine. For the avoidance of doubt no legal liability shall attach to any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. Certification & Personnel Competence The Association is organised through four distinct divisions. Remote Systems & ROV. There are two core activities that relate to all members: The information contained herein is given for guidance only and endeavours to reflect best industry practice. Offshore Survey. Asia-Pacific. codes of practice and by other appropriate means. Europe & Africa and Middle East & India. marine and underwater engineering companies.imca-int. health. each covering a specific area of members’ interests: Diving. They commit to act as responsible members by following relevant guidelines and being willing to be audited against compliance with them by their clients. Members are self-regulating through the adoption of IMCA guidelines as appropriate. safety. AB www. Environment & Legislation Training.

whilst on others. under guidance by radio from shore based medical specialists. published jointly by NPD and DOEn. diving may have to stop for safety reasons. Thus. such as tenders and riggers who may be called upon to work on deck or on a low-level platform in support of the diving operation. cannot be guaranteed to perform the same function in fog or mist. their umbilicals may have been severed by accident. or alternatively. visibility should be sufficient to allow their location on the surface. to allow them to be located at night. the decision of the ship’s master as to the safety of his vessel must always be accepted as sufficient reason to stop diving. 5 Access for Medical Assistance by Helicopter Medical emergencies during a diving operation will normally be dealt with by trained personnel provided offshore by the diving contractor. IMCA · AODC 034 1 . On some occasions these reasons are not fully understood (the “it is not foggy underwater” approach). 3 Rescue of a Diving Bell Which Has Surfaced in an Emergency Most diving bells have means of achieving positive buoyancy in an emergency. in an emergency. Similar consideration should be given to surface personnel associated with diving. Conclusion Poor surface visibility may seriously affect diving operations. they must be rescued and visibility should be sufficient to allow for their speedy location and recovery. There is a remote possibility that outside medical assistance may be needed onboard. to decide when diving should stop due to reduced surface visibility. The Guidelines for the Specification and Operation of DP Diving Support Vessels (1983). diving supervisors are unsure of the parameters to apply in making their decision. and possibly injured or unconscious. As with most diving safety requirements it is a matter of judgement by the senior diving supervisor on site. may make their way to the surface after cutting their umbilicals. is not normally a reason for stopping diving. Whilst such an emergency may be extremely rare. in order to effect a rescue. due to fog or mist.When surface visibility is substantially reduced. This guidance note explains the reasons why diving may have to stop and gives advice on sensible parameters to apply. and visibility so poor that a helicopter could not land. on the surface. 2 Rescue of a Diver Who Surfaces in an Emergency Surface orientated divers. Once on the surface. (Note: many diving vessels have no helicopter landing facilities in any case). state that diving should be suspended once visibility drops below a level considered suitable by the ship's master. 4 Safety of the Surface Vessel Visibility must be good enough that the safety of the surface vessel supporting the diving operation is guaranteed. 1 Safety of Surface Personnel Most fixed installations have rules which state that over-the-side work is not permitted if visibility is so poor that the installation’s standby vessel could not see to recover a man in the water. Lights carried by such divers. using the medical equipment maintained at the work site.