NOAA’s Aquarius Undersea Laboratory
Saturation Diving

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saturation diving

Saturation diving is a special diving technique that allows nearly unlimited time to work underwater, especially at the Aquarius site where the water is typically less than 125 feet deep. A brief explanation of saturation diving is presented in the article: “How an Underwater Habitat Benefits Marine Science.” Also, the pressure lesson plan provides information about how pressure affects divers.

*Saturation [sach–ur–ay–shun]:
The condition in which the partial pressure of a gas dissolved in a fluid is equal to its maximum possible partial pressure, under the existing ambient conditions of temperature and pressure.
*Saturation depth:
The depth or pressure at which a diver’s tissues are saturated; also called storage depth.
*Saturation dive:
An exposure of sufficient duration so that the diver’s tissue gases reach equilibrium with the pressure environment; once this occurs, the decompression time required at the end of a dive does not increase with additional time spent at any depth the diver works out of a habitat or other pressurized chamber.
*Saturation diving system:
A pressurized diving system that incorporates a life support system for long term saturation dives.

*NOAA Diving Manual: Diving for science and technology. 4th edition. U.S. Department of Commerce; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Edited by James T. Joiner. Best Publishing Company. 2001.