The Associazione Italiana Operatori Scientifici Subacquei (Italian Association of Scientific Divers), AIOSS, established on 5th February 2010, is the professional trade association for workers who perform, in various capacities, diving activities for scientific, environmental, documentary and informational purposes as part of their profession.
Scientific Scuba Diving is defined as diving conducted exclusively as part of scientific research, conservation and preservation as well as training activities, the sole purpose of which is to achieve scientific, educational-scientific, popular, and environmental and/or historical-archaeological heritage preservation objectives, through, for example, sampling, measurement, surveying, experimentation, prospecting, stratigraphic excavation, probing, and recovery.
Scientific Divers are those who, possessing appropriate qualifications certifying the specific training required by the operational context, carry out scientific scuba diving, including students as part of their underwater scientific training.
Italian scientific divers include:
Prof. Paolo Colantoni writes in his book "L'immersione scientifica. Tecniche di indagine subacquea" (2007, Editrice La Mandragora, Imola).
"By scientific diving we mean activities carried out for research, experimentation and teaching purposes by divers who descend directly underwater. This practice is so widespread today that it can be said that there is no major scientific institution in the world that does not have at least one underwater sector or does not use scientific divers to carry out its investigative programs.
Ultimately it is a matter of bringing underwater not only the hands to sample or carry out other specific operations, and the eyes to observe, but also, and above all, the intelligence and discernment ability of the specifically trained man. This possibility has led to an enormous advancement in the knowledge of the underwater world and constitutes an approach that no instrument operated from the surface can ever match. One therefore goes underwater to explore, measure, collect, observe and recognize, but above all to understand."