U.S. Navy Diving ManualVolume 1
special operational circumstances. The guidance in Tables 1A-3 through 1A-6 is
intended to facilitate the successful integration of operations.
Commanding Officers or Senior Officers Present Afloat are to ensure that diving
and sonar operations are integrated using the guidance given by this appendix.
Appropriate procedures are to be established within each command to effect coor-
dination among units, implement safety considerations, and provide efficient
operations using the guidance in Tables 1A-3 though 1A-6.
SONAR DIVING DISTANCES WORKSHEETS WITH DIRECTIONS FOR USE
General Information/Introduction. Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL) in minutes
for exposure of divers to sonar transmissions are given in Tables 1A-3 through
Effects of Exposure. Tables 1A-3 through 1A-5 are divided by horizontal double
lines. Exposure conditions above the double lines should be avoided for routine
operations. As Sound Pressure Level (SPL) increases above 215 dB for hooded
divers, slight visual-field shifts (probably due to direct stimulation of the semicir-
cular canals), fogging of the face plate, spraying of any water within the mask, and
other effects may occur. In the presence of long sonar pulses (one second or
longer), depth gauges may become erratic and regulators may tend to free-flow.
Divers at Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory experiencing these
phenomena during controlled research report that while these effects are
unpleasant, they are tolerable. Similar data are not available for un-hooded divers
but visual-field shifts may occur for these divers at lower levels. If divers need to
be exposed to such conditions, they must be carefully briefed and, if feasible,
given short training exposures under carefully controlled conditions. Because the
probability of physiological damage increases markedly as sound pressures
increase beyond 200 dB at any frequency, exposure of divers above 200 dB is
prohibited unless full wet suits and hoods are worn. Fully protected divers (full
wet suits and hoods) must not be exposed to SPLs in excess of 215 dB at any
frequency for any reason.
Suit and Hood Characteristics. There is some variation in nomenclature and
characteristics of suits and hoods used by divers. The subjects who participated in
the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory experiments used 3/8-inch
nylon-lined neoprene wet suits and hoods. Subsequent research has shown that
3/16-inch wet suit hoods provide about the same attenuation as 3/8-inch hoods.
Hoods should be well fitted and cover the skull completely including cheek and
chin areas. The use of wet-suit hoods as underwater ear protection is strongly
In-Water Hearing vs. In-Gas Hearing. A distinction is made between in-water
hearing and in-gas hearing. In-water hearing occurs when the skull is directly in
contact with the water, as when the head is bare or covered with a wet-suit hood.
In-gas hearing occurs when the skull is surrounded by gas as in the MK 21 diving