The Jacksonville Reef Research Team invites you to participate in the Artificial Reef Research Diver training class. The class is modeled after the Florida Sea Grant Extension Programs training for the Jacksonville Reef Research Team in 1986/1987. This class also qualifies those who successfully complete it for the Unique Specialty Certification "Artificial Reef Research Diver". The Team expects that all participants will make a long-term commitment to a continuing involvement with reef research work after the training is completed.


The Artificial Reef Research Diver class is a modular course, which allows for flexibility. The class is divided into seven modules with one module being completed each month. Each module includes a 2 hour classroom session and a diving exercise. The classroom session is normally held on the 1st Wednesday of each month and the diving exercise for the module is normally held the following Saturday. There are no diving exercises scheduled during the middle of December to the middle of February do to the cold weather. Diving exercises are completed at several locations around Florida with the final Expedition off the Jacksonville Coast.

Module One, Introduction to Research Diving and Team Orientation is the entry point into the program. The Training Coordinator determines the order of the modules. The students are expected to attend a regularly scheduled presentation of each module, which includes a classroom/video and water skill sessions. All six modules have to be completed prior to the Expedition module, which is scheduled in the summer. The Graduation exercises are held at the Team meeting following the Expedition.

Course Information

  • The Artificial Reef Research Diver training course is intended for experienced salt-water divers.  It is NOT a course in basic diving skills. The students are expected to be able to operate safely, proficiently and comfortably offshore Jacksonville. Team dives are from a boat, and in 60 to 100 feet of water under a variety of visibility and current conditions. The student is expected to accurately use a compass and be able to plan safe, repetitive dives.
  • This is a course in underwater science methods. The emphasis will be on learning to safely collect accurate, reliable data about artificial reefs in a variety of scientific disciplines. SCUBA diving equipment is one of the tools that the student uses to collect data.
  • As each module is completed, the students are allowed to dive with the Team and are assigned those tasks that have been taught in the training modules. On Team dives, ALL diving offshore Jacksonville is FREE to Team members. The only cost to the Team member is refilling their dive tanks at the end of the dive. The Team covers the cost to charter dive boats and/or pays for the fuel of Team member's boats for the monitoring and discovery dives.
  • After completing the training course, the new Team members are expected to volunteer their services to safely collect, document, and store local reef information in the Team's public "reef data archive".
  • The course is provided to you at our actual cost ($100). The Reef Research Team instructors and Team members volunteer their time to help train you.
  • Students are asked to pay for the other expenses as they arise, mainly out-of-town travel such as hotels, meals and gas. We do not include these costs as part of the course cost to allow for individual preferences. The sharing of rooms and car-pooling arrangements are made available to keep the cost of the class as low as possible. You should expect to spend approximately $250 during the training for air refills, miscellaneous dive equipment, fish guides, lodging, and meals during the training course.
  • The Jacksonville Reef Research Team schedules approximately 20 monitoring and discovery dives offshore Jacksonville every year. Joining the Team is a GREAT way to reduce the cost of diving!
  • Completion of JRRT training may allow divers to work on other AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Sciences) projects


  • Advanced Open Water Certification
  • Certification or documented equivalent training in:
    • Deep Diver
    • Wreck Diver
    • First Aid
    • CPR
  • Additional Courses:
    • Night Diver
    • U/W Photographer
  • 21 years of age minimum
  • At least 5 Logged dives offshore Jacksonville (or equivalent, per Diving Control Board)
  • Medical Release: physician's signed approval to dive
  • Signed Statement of Understanding/Affirmation and Liability Release
  • Public Service Commitment Statement signed on application form

Required SCUBA Equipment

  • "Full SCUBA" including full tank with regulator, alternate air source, submersible pressure gauge, depth gauge, buoyancy control device and timepiece
  • Compass accurate to within 5 degrees
  • Writing slate with lead pencil (no grease pencils, please): An 8 x 11 slate will be provided by the Team
  • Dive knife, gloves and light
  • "Buddy line" 10 feet long with ring on one end and brass clip on the other end
  • Equipment lanyard with ring on one end and brass clip on the other end, long enough to go around your waist
  • Plastic bags, quart size, Ziploc heavy duty (freezer) bags and indelible marker
  • Signaling device such as a whistle, mirror, or cylume
  • Dive log book

Required Fish Identification Guides

  • Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas (Reef Set) by New World Publications which includes the books:
  • Reef Creature Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas 2'nd by Paul Humann Edition,
  • Reef Coral Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. by Paul Humann
  • Reef Fish Behavior: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. by Ned Deloach (Author)
  • At least one additional fish identification guide such as: the Waterproof "Guide to Corals and Fishes (of Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean)" by Idaz & Jerry Greenberg.  Peterson field guide (below) is a better, general reference for this area.
  • At least one invertebrate identification guide for Module 3; the "Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashore Creatures" is recommended.

Optional Equipment/Fish Identification Guides

  • Underwater camera (still or video)
  • "NOAA Diving Manual" by J. Miller
  • Field Guides (Peterson Field Guide Series) - "Atlantic Sea Shore" by Gosner - "Atlantic Coast Fishes" by Robbins et al
  • "Seashore Life of Florida and the Caribbean" by Gilbert L. Voss
  • "Marine Plants of the Caribbean" by Littler, Littler, Bucher and Norris
  • "Fisheries Biology for Everyone" by Steve Bortone (Sea Grant Extension Bulletin SGEB II)

Diving Information

  • Be prepared to demonstrate your basic water skill knowledge by the Module One dive.  You will not be permitted to dive during the training events until first completing an in-water safety checkout with a Team Diving Instructor.
  • The buddy system is strictly enforced and all training dives will be logged and controlled by a surface support team.
  • All dives will be logged and signed.  Log sheets are to be submitted to the instructor and then to the Team Archivist.  The same procedures and equipment are mandated for ALL team dives.

For more information on training, contact Sue at (904) 612-7806.

We look forward to seeing you in our next training class!