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Activity: Dive Planning
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts
Table of Contents


  • Computer with Internet access
  • Reference materials about dive plans, dive sites, and conditions (e.g., local dive guidebooks and trusted Internet websites)
  • Underwater video footage of dive site (optional)
  • Underwater mapping program such as Google SeaView (optional)
  • Dive table (optional)


  1. Find a dive site.
    1. Use trusted resources to find a dive site appropriate for recreational scuba diving. The dive can take place at either a well-known dive site or a site that has never before been explored.
  2. Answer the following questions before continuing:
    1. Where is your dive site located?
    2. How will you reach your dive site?
    3. What is the depth of your dive site?
    4. When will you travel to your dive site?
    5. What technology will you use to access your dive site?
  3. Draw a map of the dive site. If available, use aerial photographs from Google Earth or Google Maps.
    1. Label the cardinal compass directions
    2. Label the coastal features (e.g., sandy beach, sharp rocks, kelp forest, coral reef)
    3. Label prominent landmarks visible from the ocean (e.g., lighthouse, cell phone tower, mountain peak)
  4. Ocean safety
    1. Use available resources to identify hazardous areas or conditions within your dive site (e.g., boat traffic, fishing lines, riptides, seasonal ocean conditions, weather).
    2. How will you address each of these hazards?
  5. Write an equipment list for the trip (include things like diving technology, and safety equipment).
  6. In a brief paragraph, write your detailed dive plan. Be sure to include the following:
    1. dive trip goals
    2. event timeline
    3. emergency action plan(s)
  7. On your map, draw the path of the dive. Include depths throughout the dive.
  8. Research and create a list of the types of substrate that you would expect to see on your dive. If possible, add this information to your map.
  9. Research and create a list of the types of organisms that you would expect to see on your dive.
  10. (Optional) Use underwater video footage or an underwater mapping program to conduct a virtual dive.
  11. (Optional) Examine a dive table. How long could you spend exploring the bottom on your dive?


Activity Questions
  1. Was there any information that you were not able to include in your dive plan? Explain your answer.
  2. How would your dive plan have changed if you were just free diving or snorkeling?
  3. What specific weather and ocean conditions did you consider as important in planning the dive trip?
  4. If you completed a virtual dive, did you see any of the substrate or organisms that you predicted? What, if any, additional organisms did you see?
Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.