Diving & Snorkeling

Scuba Diver inspecting bleached coral
Scuba Diver inspecting bleached coral

It is hard to do marine science without getting in the water at some point and this generally means diving or snorkeling. Below we provide most all of the information you will need to dive or snorkel during your stay at KML.

For divers in particular, please read the information carefully and be sure to complete all of our requirements in full before you arrive at the lab.

Please contact our Dive Saftey Officer (DSO), Bill Ferrell, to assist with planning your trip and with any questions you may have about diving or snorkeling operations during your stay at KML.

Remember: All forms MUST be received at least 10 business days prior to your expedition for approval.

For more information on KML reservations please see KML Reservations.

We wish you a wonderful time under the water in the Florida Keys!

AAUS Diving at KML

KML Diving FSU

For any dive-related activity at the Keys Marine Lab, all divers must dive under the auspices of an American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) Organization Member’s Scientific Diving program and be approved to dive with KML through the University of South Florida/Florida Institute of Oceanography (USF/FIO) Scientific Diving Safety Office (DSO).

Required Paper Work

In addition to our FURF and Personal Liability waivers, all PI’s interested in diving should have their program’s DSO submit the following AAUS Diving Information.

These forms are required for each diver and each new dive mission:

1) Letter of Reciprocity (LOR),

2) Proof of medical insurance (DAN, workman’s comp, etc.).

The PI also needs to complete a:

3) Dive Plan Approval Form for all intended dives at KML.  

A new LOR for each diver, as well as a new Dive Plan, must be submitted prior to each dive mission at KML.

Please review the KML Diving Policy, USF Diving Policy, and the AAUS Standards for Scientific Diving before your visit.

All forms must be received at least 10 business days prior to the expedition for approval.

KML Diving Facilities and Services

KML maintains an air compressor and 30 SCUBA tanks which are available for use by approved AAUS divers. KML staff will also provide air fills for approved AAUS divers with their own tanks (tanks must show current VIP & Hydro). Nitrox fills are not available at KML, but can be rented from many nearby dive shops. All KML SCUBA tanks are compatible with yoke regulators, if you have a DIN regulator please plan to bring an adaptor. 

Need a Research Dive Buddy?

KML’s staff of experienced scientific divers is available for those divers needing a Dive Buddy, as well as for specimen collections. Please inquire in advance of your visit if a diving partner will be needed so arrangements can be made to accommodate you.

Snorkeling at KML

KML Research Vessel Mola Mola by the Tennesse Lighthouse
KML Research Vessel Mola Mola by the Tennesse Lighthouse
KML Snorkeling Gear and Facilities

KML has a limited supply of snorkeling gear for visitors including masks, fins, snorkels, wetsuits, and weights. We provide two gear wash-down areas with large freshwater tanks and ample racks and hangers to allow gear to be washed and hung to dry in the shade adjacent to the docks.

Snorkeling Forms

Please be aware that all forms of ocean recreation activities, including but not limited to snorkeling (free diving) and boating have inherent risks and dangers associated with them. Be sure that you adhere to your home institution policies and can provide necessary liability documentation upon request. In addition to our FURF and Personal Liability waivers, we require all Principal Investigators and Group Leaders carefully review and sign the

  1. KML Snorkeling (Free diving) and Boating Understanding and 
  2. Boat Roster

prior to arrival and participation in activities.

For more information on making a reservation at KML please see KML Reservations.