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Research Diver Orientation

Welcome to the online Research Diver Orientation program. This page outlines the major tasks you must do to complete the orientation and become a contributing member to reef team tasks. This training is designed to be completed within a month of joining if the trainee desires, or can be spaced out over a longer time to accomodate the personal schedule. This training teaches the fundamentals of how we operate, and gives some in water practice on our two most basic dive activities, mapping and fish surveying.


Completing the Research Diver Orientation course involves the following online and in-water tasks:

  • Read the Home page of this site,
    to learn the Team history and goals.
  • Read the entire online Operations Manual.
  • As proof of completing the reading,
    submit the online Operations Quiz. The quiz is self grading, and will not submit until all the questions are correctly answered.
  • Complete the first 8 online Fish Quizzes, and submit proof of completion, found at the bottom of those quizzes. The quizzes are self grading, and will not submit until all the fish are correctly identified. You do not have to learn the fish, just take the training. This will not qualify you to gather data for the team, but will get you exposed to the fish ID topic, which is the intent of this orientation course.
  • Meet and introduce yourself to at least 8 different officers at the general meeting, and complete a signoff sheet. Have them sign off on the Officers Signoff List. Click here for a printable version.
  • Read the Stationary Visual Census Technique (Fish Surveying section) and the Physical Dimensions Measurment paragraph (Mapping section) in the Operations Manual to prepare for the bridge dive.
  • Complete the 2 hour Blue Heron Bridge training course (40 minute dive, 18 feet), where orientation to our major underwater specialty tasks will be accomplished. See task listing in the right sidebar.

Equipment for the Bridge

Bring your dive gear, a compass, and a surface marker with a 20 foot line attached.

We will loan you an underwater slate, pencils, rubberbands, an underwater map, the underwater Fish ID form, Fish ID cards and booklets, a 50 meter (165 foot) underwater tape, a marker stake and a hammer.

Don't be late. The training is timed to begin 2:15 before the high tide at the Port of Palm Beach.


Blue Heron Bridge
Blue Heron Bridge Training Site

In Water Orientation:

In-water training is conducted at the Blue Heron bridge, from the west end of Phil Foster Park, at a time that is mutally convenient with the instructor and trainees. This may be weekends or weekdays after work, but must be done at slack high tide and begin at least two hours prior to sunset. The activity consists of:

  • Surface walk around to point out the various underwater training areas.
  • Issue each diver's special equipment
    (slate, underwater map, fish ID sheet, pencils, paper, Fish ID books.)
  • Pre-dive task review. Divers transfer tasks to their slates.
  • Compass reading review.
  • Gear up, get to water's edge.
  • Issue dive team equipment
    (tape, marking stake, hammer).
  • Pre-dive equipment checks.
  • Navigate to map training area.
  • Three mapping tasks.
  • Navigate to fish survey stations.
  • Conduct a 10 minute fish ID task.
    Trainees are not required to know the fish. An ID booklet will be supplied, and an underwater datasheet. Trainees will be taught to conduct the survey.
  • Navigate to SE corner of fishing pier.
  • Inflate safety sausage (each diver).
  • Return to the entry area via main bridge.
  • Post mission debriefing,
    completion checklist.
  • Clean and store team training materials.

Refer to the map, using the left menu. Trainers should download the detailed syllabus.

More information:

More information, including a map to the bridge, tide tables, and info on how to dive the site on your own can be found at www.WadesPage.com.