Exhibit 2,

241 FW 10
Diving Skills and Physical Fitness Evaluations

Supersedes Exhibit 2,  241 FW 10, FWM 427, 07/23/03

Date:  April 10, 2006

Series: Occupational Safety and Health

Part 241: Safety Operations

Originating Office: Division of Safety and Health



PDF Version




1.  Enter the water in full gear demonstrating the various entry methods that are pertinent to the environment being dived (boat or shore).


2.  Demonstrate mask clearing.


3.  Breathe with an alternative air source with a buddy.


4.  Use underwater hand signals.


5.  Equipment removal/replacement.


6.  Demonstrate buoyancy control by hovering or some other predetermined method.


7.  Exit water using methods pertinent to the environment being dived (boat or shore).



PHYSICAL FITNESS EVALUATION (ANNUALLY):  There are four stamina exercises, which are based on recognized Recreational Dive Master standards developed by the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI).


1.  400-YARD SWIM:  The swimmer must swim 400 yards without stopping using no swimming aids and using any stroke or combination of strokes desired.  (If a swimmer stops, the exercise is incomplete and must be repeated.)


2.  15-MINUTE TREAD:  Using no aids and wearing only a swimsuit, the swimmer will stay afloat by treading water, drown proofing, bobbing or floating for 15 minutes, with hands (not arms) out of the water during the last 2 minutes.  A swimmer with a physical challenge that makes it difficult/impossible to hold hands out of the water is exempt from that portion of the exercise with no effect on the score.


3.  800-YARD SNORKEL SWIM:  Using a mask, fins, snorkel and swimsuit only (no BCD or flotation aids) and swimming with face in the water, the swimmer must swim nonstop for 800 yards.  The swimmer may not use arms to swim, unless the swimmer has a physical challenge that limits leg use and arm-swimming is the individual's normal swimming method while diving.  (If a swimmer stops, the exercise is incomplete and must be stopped.)


4.  100-YARD INERT DIVER TOW:  Wearing full scuba equipment, the swimmer must push or tow an inert diver in full scuba at the surface 100 yards nonstop without assistance.  (Note:  This is a swimming power evaluation (speed-against-drag) not a rescue evaluation.)  If a swimmer stops, the exercise is incomplete and must be repeated.




(1) Environmental conditions and specialized equipment requirements (e.g., dry suits) may interfere with completion of these exercises. 


(2) The above fitness skills will be used as a tool in evaluating a diverís competency.  However, failure of the diver to complete any one or more of these skills does not preclude the RDO/FDO from approving that diver for diving, if in the judgment of the RDO/FDO the diver is otherwise fit to dive.


(3) Those administering these evaluations will keep track of swim times for future trend analyses.



For information on the specific content of this exhibit, contact the Division of Safety and Health. For information about this website, contact Krista Bibb in the Division of Policy and Directives Management, at Krista_Bibb@fws.gov.  

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