Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) divers are specialists trained to conduct underwater operations within their respective environmental commands. Divers within the CAF are qualified in any sub-category of diving, whether a member of a diving team or a CAF member who is maintaining currency and qualification through casual diving with a CAF diving team. Divers within the CAF be trained as Clearance Divers (CL Diver), Search and Rescue Technicians (SAR), Port Inspection Divers (PID), Ship's Team Divers, and Combat Divers.
The CAF training agencies authorized to conduct CAF diving training are:
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) as well as fixed and portable hyperbaric chambers.
Canada currently has two operational diving units from which RCN Clearance Diving Officers, Clearance Divers and Port Inspection Divers 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:
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 & 139:9-10 and also incorporates the branch motto "Strength in Depth".
(See Professional diving.)
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.
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.
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.
Each of the four dive teams, one located in each of the Canadian army engineer regiments, conducts an intense preliminary selection course (typically two weeks in length) to select combat diver candidates for training. Successful candidates then proceed to a Fleet Diving Unit to begin initial dive training, and then proceed to the Army Dive Center at the Combat Training Center to complete the remainder of Combat Diver training. Once this training is completed, combat divers must dive at least once every ninety days in order to maintain their diving currency.