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BC Film Industry SCUBA Operations

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The British Columbia film industry has had a long history of safe underwater film production. We maintain this record by observing established rules and regulations.


  All SCUBA diving operations in a workplace environment in British Columbia  must be conducted in accordance to Part 24 of  “Occupational Health and Safety Regulation” as published by the WorkSafe BC.



            Occupational divers in B.C. must meet the requirements of Part 24 of the OHS Regulations (24.10, 24.12, and 24.13). All occupational divers must have documented proof of meeting the requirements of CSA Standard Z275.4-97 Competency Standard for Diving Operations. In addition, all occupational divers must provie current documentation of divers medical certification, and current certification cards for CPR, first aid oxygen therapy, and dive accident management. Variance from these requirements is granted under some circumstances.


      d;      Divers interested in becoming certified for Occupational Diving in British Columbia are invited to contact Dive Safe International at (250) 287-3837 or

       Actors and Stunt Performers will become more comfortable in the underwater environment both in our controlled studio tanks as well as in the ocean by taking part in specialized freediver training from Vancouver-based Oceanoid at . Oceanoid offers several highly specialized courses designed to train anyone to master the disciplines of freediver breathing techniques and cold water adapation and tolerance skills.

       “The underwater scene, with the car crashing into the water, that was my favorite because I got to work with a free-diving expert and learn how to hold my breathe under water for a really long time. So that’s like my new party trick.” Margo Robbie (AKA Harley Quinn of Suicide Squad) talks about her freediving training in an interview in The Washington Post Aug 4, 2016.



            Actors using SCUBA may be exempt from OHS Regulations if they pass assessment from a certified occupational diver and they do not exceed 7 feet in depth (15 feet for certified recreational divers). A certified occupational diver working as a safety diver must accompany actors working underwater.



            The minimum dive crew (24.36) is a three-person team made up of two divers and a Dive Supervisor. A Dive Supervisor is responsible for the entire diving operation. The Dive Supervisor is required to ensure compliance with OSH Regulations and his/her duties are listed in Part 24.18.



               The issue of union jurisdictions regarding safety divers on film productions in BC was decided by an arbitrator hired by the Council Of Film Unions in 1998. In his report dated September 25, 1998, Richard S. Longpre, arbitrator, clarified the role of the various film unions representing film industry personnel in BC. 

            IATSE 669 camera department divers can operate as a 3-man team with no requirement for additional safety divers provided no other personnel are underwater. IATSE 891  divers perform lighting, grip, rigging, props, special effects, set decorating and construction tasks on all underwater union film locations. Each actor or stunt person in the water must be accompanied a dedicated safety diver. When diving in tanks or pools safety divers are under  IATSE 891 jurisdiction and are usually in the Special Effects department. When diving in lakes, rivers and the ocean Teamsters 155 has jurisdiction over safety divers and safety boat operators. Many of the Safety Divers are in both unions. ACFC West Local 2020 CEP safety divers can work in either pools and tanks, or lakes, rivers, and oceans.

            Regardless of union affiliation, all divers working on film sets in B.C. must meet the requirements of WorkSafe BC, formerly known as the Workers Compensation Board of BC.