What is Scientific Diving?

Professional diver Joseph Bosquez offers insights into working with NASA and the world of scientific diving.

From commercial diving to working for the police or military, novice divers interested in a career underwater have many fields to choose from. Although all types of diving professions are rewarding, a career in scientific diving can offer unique opportunities. Joseph Bosquez, a well-known marine biologist, provided some insight into the world of scientific diving.

What exactly is scientific diving?

Scientific diving is the use of diving techniques by scientists working underwater in the direct pursuit of scientific knowledge. Marine biologists often apply the scientific method while searching for new species, through their efforts to protect marine life, and in their quest to further expand our knowledge of the underwater world. Scientific divers also help train astronauts before they go into space.

From Boy Scout to marine biologist and diving instructor 

Joseph Bosquez has been diving for the past 20 years, with much of that time spent as a marine biologist. He’s participated in multiple diving operations, from identifying and cataloging fish species with NOAA in the Gulf of Mexico to six months with the Boy Scouts of America on Catalina Island, collecting fish and invertebrate species for the Emerald Bay Aquarium. It was his experience working as a university faculty member, teaching diving and scientific diving, that laid the foundation Bosquez to become an instructor for Divesoft. He says his “overarching vision is to become a high-impact teacher and advocate for the underwater environment.”

Training astronauts for NASA

Perhaps Bosquez’s most notable diving project was his time spent training astronauts at NASA. He spent most of his time at the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, where he instructed astronauts-in-training on maneuverability in microgravity spaces. “We focused on underwater operations, known as “dress rehearsals,” where the astronauts could practice moving in space and preparing for a number of jobs they would be tasked with aboard the International Space Station,” said Bosquez.

Bosquez also spent some time in the mission control back room during spacewalks. From there he could watch his trainees successfully complete the missions that they had worked on together in the pool months before.

Parting words

Bosquez currently works as the dive operations manager for Czech dive company Divesoft. When asked about his ambitions as a dive instructor, Bosquez addressed the importance of growth and progress. “Scuba diving and marine science have so many avenues in which someone can experience continual growth,” he said. “Over the past few years, I have focused on becoming proficient with Divesoft equipment and my next focus is to utilize the equipment for more advanced diving.”

Scientific diving opens the door to many specialized careers. Whether you’re interested in marine biology, wildlife conservation, working hand-in-hand with astronauts, or discovering a new lifeform, scientific diving can help you get there. Even though such tasks may seem daunting at first, Bosquez reminds new divers to stay motivated.

“Struggle is important, but it isn’t about finding yourself or finding your passion,” he says. “It’s about turning yourself into the kind of person you would have looked up to growing up.”

By guest author NikolaValtošová