European Scientific Diver Training


European Scientific Diver Training


Please note: There will be no courses offered in 2017 due to restructuring measures.


Training Center for European Scientific Diver/Advanced European Scientific Diver

The HYDRA Field Station Centro Marino Elba offers a modular training for scientific divers to meet the European Scientific Diver/Advanced European Scientific Diver standards.

What is the ESD?
Scientific diving is different from recreational diving or commercial diving. ESD and AESD are the minimum standards for scientific diving defined by the European Scientific Diving Panel. The introduction of the ESD/AESD is intended to ease the international mobility in the European scientific diving community and to assure the mutual acceptance as the primary qualification for scientific diving in Europe.

What is the training outcome?
After having successfully fulfilled the training you hold a training record for the certification by the competent ESDP certification bodies. For the ESD/AESD training and certification at our training center we closely collaborate with the Associazione Italiana Operatori Subacquei Scientifici AIOSS (Italian Association of Scientific Divers).

Training Centre
The HYDRA Institute for Marine Sciences is a private institution for marine research, education and science communication with a marine field station on the Island of Elba, Italy.
Since 1996 we have been conducting about 110 research projects and teaching programs for about 12000 participants. The scuba diving and snorkeling classes are used as a tool for research and education. Meanwhile, our field courses "Introduction to "Marine Biology", "Marine Habitats", "Marine Zoology", "Fishes of the Mediterranean" and "Methods of Underwater Research" are acknowledged by many universities and eligible for ECTS credit points. In collaboration with the group of Prof. Dr. Nico Michiels (Uni Tübingen) we developed two complementary course modules that are now integrated in the curriculum of bio- and geosciences. Scientific diving activities at the HYDRA Field Station have an excellent safety record: Each year we conduct about 2500 scientific dives, with no accidents in 20 years (>40.000 scientific dives).
The team of course directors consists of scientists that are experienced SCUBA diving instructors/instructor trainers, AESD and German Research Divers, using scientific diving in research and education for over 20 years.

Modular Training
To offer maximum flexibility the modular scientific diving training at the HYDRA Field Station takes into account the different levels of knowledge participants have, before they enter the training. You can either start as a novice diver with the training for the Open Water Diver/1-star SCUBA certificate or enter at a higher level according to your prior training. Upon entry in an advanced module your skills and knowledge will be assessed.

Modular System "Aquatic Science Diving Skills (ASDS)“

1 ASDS Basic A: Get your *-SCUBA Certificate

2 ASDS Basic B: Start your scientific SCUBA skills using basic observation tasks

3 ASDS Advanced A: Get your **-SCUBA Certificate

4 ASDS Advanced B: Continue your scientific SCUBA skills: training of planning and scientific techniques by conducting basic tasks

5 ASDS ESD A: Continue your training applying advanced techniques

6 ASDS ESD B: Complete your training with an exam and send your records to the AIOSS to get the ESD/AESD certification

There is also the option to be trained for single tasks in order to meet the standards or to be prepared for special circumstances in an upcoming project.

ASDS Schedule for 2016:

ASDS Module 5 & 6: 15th to 24th of March 2016


EUR 1280,-

Included services

9 overnight stays in shared accommodation, dormitory-style (self-catering). 7 days of training with 10 scientific dives. Rental of complete diving equipment


2-star certification (CMAS**, PADI Rescue Diver, SSI Diver Stress and Rescue) and minimum 70 dives, of which
- 20 with scientific tasks
- 10 between 15m and 24m
- 5 deeper than 25m
- 12 within the last 12 months
—> the amount of dives can also be achieved after the course


The ASDS modules 1 and 2 (Basic A/B) are also available through our combined courses module "Marine Biology Diving Skills - Basic Field Course".

The ASDS modules 3 and 4 (Advanced A/B) are also available through our combined courses module "Marine Biology Diving Skills - Advanced Field Course".


If you are interested to participate and for further information please write us an e-mail: ifm (at)


ESD/AESD standards are for download here.



AIOSS website:

European Scientific Diving Panel: