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Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) divers are specialists trained to conduct underwater operations within their respective environmental commands. Divers within the CAF are qualified into sub-categories of diving. Be it a member of a diving team or a CAF member who is maintaining currency and qualification through casual diving. Divers within the CAF are trained as Clearance Divers (CL Diver), Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR), Port Inspection Divers (PID), Ship's Team Divers, and Combat Divers.[1]


The CAF training agencies authorized to conduct CAF diving training are:[1]

  1. Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) (FDU (A));
  2. Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) (FDU (P)); and
  3. Army Dive Centre (ADC).

Clearance divers

Royal Canadian Navy Clearance Divers are trained to conduct a wide variety of diving operations. These include the use of traditional open circuit (SCUBA) diving equipment, lightweight portable surface supplied diving systems, commercial grade mixed gas surface supplied diving systems, mixed gas rebreather systems (such as the CCDA and CUMA sets[2]) as well as fixed and portable hyperbaric chambers.

Canada currently has two operational diving units; RCN Clearance Diving Officers, and Clearance Divers and Port Inspection Divers who perform a variety of core capabilities, as outlined in their Naval Diving Operational Concept of Employment (ND OCE) terms of reference. These core capabilities are:

They also perform a number of secondary or support functions to these core capabilities include but are not limited to:

  1. Underwater ship and infrastructure maintenance
  2. Light salvage
  3. Seabed search
  4. Underwater demolitions
  5. Inspection, maintenance and repair of critical diver life support equipment[2]
  6. Operation of Working Class Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), Inspection Class ROV, ROV Simulator, Diver Evaluation Systems, and side scan sonar (SSS)
  7. Support for medical treatment in hyperbaric chamber
  8. Support to JTF2
  9. Operating the Experimental Diving Unit (EDU) at DRDC Toronto in support of R&D efforts related to CF diving activities

The two operational naval diving units are:

The Royal Canadian Clearance Diver motto is "Strength in depth".

Clearance Diving Officers and Divers also serve at:

Royal Canadian Navy Clearance Divers' Prayer

On 30 April 2015 the RCN Clearance Diving Branch adopted the following prayer as their official branch prayer. The prayer was originally written by Padre David Jackson, the unit chaplain of Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic, for the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the RCN Clearance Diving Branch. The prayer is based on Psalm 146:6[3] & 139:9-10[4] and also incorporates the branch motto "Strength in Depth".

(See Professional diving.)

Combat divers


Diving in the Canadian Army began in the 1960s when, as a result of the introduction of amphibious vehicles, it was essential to provide a diving capability to the safety organization for the swimming of the vehicles. Amphibious operations also required a better capability for the underwater reconnaissance of crossing sites. Following trials in 1966, diving sections were established in engineer units in 1969. Once the diving capability was established, additional tasks were added to make combat diving an extension of combat engineering into the water. Other tasks such as obstacle construction and breaching, employing and detecting landmines and limited underwater construction were added to the safety standby and reconnaissance tasks.[5]

General Description

Combat divers provide the Army with the capability of performing combat engineer tasks underwater. They generally conduct tasks as part of the combined arms team; however, if required, they have the ability to execute tasks independently. Combat divers are combat engineers who perform combat diving as a secondary duty. They are grouped into mission-specific teams when a task is identified and ordered, to support operations.[5]

Niche area

Combat divers do the majority of their work on inland waterways, either on the surface or beneath the water with breathing apparatus. They usually work close to shorelines and riverbanks because that is where the rest of the army will be conducting operations. At times the combat divers will work in salt water to support Army operations. In some circumstances, combat divers can be used to conduct reconnaissance in the face of enemy forces. They would be doing this reconnaissance with the support of the manoeuvre forces, which could assist the dive team with observation and suppressive fire.[5]

Canada's Combat Divers are an Occupation Sub-Specialization (OSS) in its Army Combat Engineer Regiments.


  1. ^ a b Defence, National (2013-11-13). "DAOD 8009-1, Canadian Forces Diving - Organization and Operating Principles". aem. Retrieved 2019-12-30.
  2. ^ a b Chapple, JCB; Eaton, David J. "Development of the Canadian Underwater Mine Apparatus and the CUMA Mine Countermeasures dive system". Defence R&D Canada Technical Report. Defence R&D Canada (DCIEM 92-06). Archived from the original on August 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-31.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ "Psalm 146:6 the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He remains faithful forever". Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  4. ^ "Psalm 139:9–10 ESV - If I take the wings of the…". Biblia. Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  5. ^ a b c B-GL-361-007-FP-001 COMBAT DIVING, Canada, 2002