The use of underwater equipment in freshwater research

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Extension Division


The use of self contained underwater breathing apparatus in aquatic environments for scientific purposes is a recent development. While its use for such purposes in marine environments has been well received and documented, corresponding usage in freshwater environments has languished. Reasons for this are attributed to: 1) misconceptions regarding safety, necessary levels of training, cost, and versatility; 2) the lack of adequate training programs; and 3) a generation of "decision makers" who themselves have not used such equipment and fail to recognize its potential. Available data on human fatalities indicate that the use of underwater breathing apparatus by well trained, qualified divers is less hazardous than most other activities in which a person normally engages. The evolution of adequate training course or programs will depend upon the needs of the scientific community. Versatility and usefulness of the equipment depend upon the innovative ability of the researcher.