NOAA's Team Ocean

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS) recently incorporated citizen science divers into its formal volunteer program called Team Ocean. This national program is designed to integrate citizen scientists into NMS missions in the areas of maritime heritage, marine conservation, and public education and stewardship. The program provides a "hands-on" opportunity for the public to become involved in the protection and preservation of their National Marine Sanctuaries. Volunteers actively participate in research and monitoring, education, underwater projects, office and administrative tasks, and in representing the Sanctuary at certain events and functions. The integration of citizen divers into Team Ocean, the NOAA Dive Program and mission operations culminates a two year effort to create the program and certify and train the first group of 8 divers. The Submerged Cultural Resources Exploration Team, a Seattle-based maritime heritage exploration group, and the Washington Scuba Alliance partnered with NOAA to certify the volunteer divers. The majority of the group carries GUE certifications in Fundamentals, Tech, and Cave. In addition to the NOAA Science Diver certification, the group earned Level 1 certificates in Foreshore and Underwater Archeaology from the Nautical Archeology Society, an international standard-setting organization focused on nautical archaeology.

The team’s first mission is scheduled in early September at the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Two historically significant targets will be located and baselines established to produce site maps of the wrecks. An integrated NOAA and volunteer team will undertake the operation, diving off a new NOAA 85’ research vessel.

The volunteers are Walter Jaccard, Joe Radosevic, Pete Gelbman, Geoff “Bones” Corriveau, Steve White, John Sharps, Judd Dunlap, and Mike Racine.

For more information about your National Marine Sanctuary System, the Submerged Cultural Resources Exploration Team, and the Washington Scuba Alliance, please visit the following links:

http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/welcome.html

http://www.scret.org

http://www.wascuba.org


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