SAFETY

© P. Larue / FMC
A diver carefully excavating a Nankin porcelain plate from the wreck of La Boussole, that sunk during the La Pérouse expedition in 1788 off the Island of Vanikoro, Solomon Islands. In all diving activity, safety needs to come first. One should not be carried away by the task at hand but keep strictly to the dive plan and the instructions of the diving supervisor. Hazards of the environment should equally be kept in mind. While most diving systems provide for a tether or another means of communication with the surface, free diving scuba is sometimes preferred. For safety scuba depends on diving together and in focused activities individual divers may lose contact with their diving partner which is an extra risk.

No project, professional or otherwise can do without devoting proper attention to the health and safety of all individuals involved in the project. This applies to everyone on the team and in particular it is the organizers, sponsoring entities and competent authorities of activities that need to reinforce safety measures. They should withhold their backing if this is not the case.  Although all participants must be qualified, competent and have appropriate training for the task, responsibility for safe practice ultimately rests with the project director. Water, boats, ships and diving all have their specific safety requirements that need to be considered.  Invariably, project organizers will have obligations under the relevant occupational health and safety legislation in their home country, and that of the country where the project is operating. Professional bodies and insurance arrangements may impose additional safety requirements.

Work in marine environments requires high levels of precaution to guarantee the health and safety of the project participants both in and out of the water. Therefore, one of the items that is included under Rule 10, the project design, is (k), a safety policy. A safety policy is applicable to all maritime archaeological operations, whether they include terrestrial-based shoreline activities, such as walk-over low-tide surveys, or include diving that takes place from the shore or from an offshore dive platform. Similar levels of precaution will apply in relation to inland waters. The specific safety requirements will vary with the type of operation and the equipment involved. This section focuses specifically on dive safety.

The argument of this chapter is:

Illustrations

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