Australian Underwater Federation

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Australian Underwater Federation
MottoBringing sport, conservation and awareness to the underwater world.
Formation1953 [1]
Legal status Incorporated association, Victoria (Australia)
Purpose National Sporting Organisation
for underwater sports & recreational diving
Region served
Graham Henderson
Key people
Richard (Dick) Charles, founder [2]
Harry Howell
Frank Poole
Wal Williams
George Davies BEM
Merv Sheehan
Tony Leslie
John Gillies
Gordon Ward
Wally Gibbons
Mel Brown
Toni DeFina
Graham Henderson
Tom Ransom
Richard Lane
Allen Hunt
Sue Dockar
Mary-Anne Stacey
Dr Adam Smith
Barry Andrewartha
Main organ
Affiliations CMAS
Recfish Australia
Formerly called
Underwater Spearfishermen's Association of Australia

The Australian Underwater Federation (AUF) is the governing body for underwater sports in Australia.

Underwater sports is a group of competitive sports using one or a combination of the following underwater diving techniques - breath-hold, snorkelling or scuba including the use of equipment such as diving masks and fins. These sports are conducted in the natural environment at sites such as open water and sheltered or confined water such as lakes and in artificial aquatic environments such as swimming pools. Underwater sports include the following - aquathlon, finswimming, freediving, spearfishing, sport diving, underwater football, underwater hockey, underwater ice hockey, underwater orienteering, underwater photography, underwater rugby, underwater target shooting and underwater video.



The mission of the AUF is: [4]

Bringing Sport, Conservation and Awareness to the Underwater World.


The AUF is a membership-based organisation whose day-to-day operations are overseen by a federal board and by a number of committees (known as commissions) for following activities – finswimming (commission known as Ozfin Inc.), scuba, snorkel, spearfishing and underwater hockey (commission known as Underwater Hockey Australia). It also currently has state branches in New South Wales (incorporated as the Underwater Skindivers & Fishermen's Association Inc) and Queensland, and state commissions for finswimming and underwater hockey in most states. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Finswimming Competitive watersport using swimfins for propulsion

Finswimming is an underwater sport consisting of four techniques involving swimming with the use of fins either on the water's surface using a snorkel with either monofins or bifins or underwater with monofin either by holding one's breath or using open circuit scuba diving equipment. Events exist over distances similar to swimming competitions for both swimming pool and open water venues. Competition at world and continental level is organised by the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS). The sport's first world championship was held in 1976. It also has been featured at the World Games as a trend sport since 1981 and was demonstrated at the 2015 European Games in June 2015.

Scuba diving Using bottled air to swim underwater

Scuba diving is a mode of underwater diving where the diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba), which is completely independent of surface supply, to breathe underwater. Scuba divers carry their own source of breathing gas, usually compressed air, allowing them greater independence and freedom of movement than surface-supplied divers, and longer underwater endurance than breath-hold divers. Although the use of compressed air is common, a new mixture called enriched air (Nitrox) has been gaining popularity due to its benefit of reduced nitrogen intake during repetitive dives. Open circuit scuba systems discharge the breathing gas into the environment as it is exhaled, and consist of one or more diving cylinders containing breathing gas at high pressure which is supplied to the diver through a regulator. They may include additional cylinders for range extension, decompression gas or emergency breathing gas. Closed-circuit or semi-closed circuit rebreather scuba systems allow recycling of exhaled gases. The volume of gas used is reduced compared to that of open circuit, so a smaller cylinder or cylinders may be used for an equivalent dive duration. Rebreathers extend the time spent underwater compared to open circuit for the same gas consumption; they produce fewer bubbles and less noise than open circuit scuba which makes them attractive to covert military divers to avoid detection, scientific divers to avoid disturbing marine animals, and media divers to avoid bubble interference.

Spearfishing Hunting for fish using a spear

Spearfishing is an ancient method of fishing that has been used throughout the world for millennia. Early civilizations were familiar with the custom of spearing fish from rivers and streams using sharpened sticks.


The AUF is recognised by the Australian Sports Commission as the national sporting organisation (NSO) for underwater sports in Australia. [9] It is the Australian representative to Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS), with full voting rights to the Sports and Technical Committees and non-voting rights to the Scientific Committee. [10] The AUF is a member of the World AquaChallenge Association (WAA) and Recfish Australia. [11] [12] [13] It is also one of the organisations represented on the Standards Australia's Committee CS/83, Recreational Underwater Diving. [14]

Australian Sports Commission

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC), branded from 2 August 2018 as Sport Australia, is the Australian Government's statutory agency responsible for distributing funds and providing strategic guidance and leadership for sporting activity in Australia.

Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques International organisation for underwater activities in sport and science, and recreational diver training and certification

Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) is an international federation that represents underwater activities in underwater sport and underwater sciences, and oversees an international system of recreational snorkel and scuba diver training and recognition. It is also known by its English name, the World Underwater Federation, and its Spanish name, Confederacion Mundial De Actividades Subacuaticas. Its foundation in Monaco during January 1959 makes it one of the world's oldest underwater diving organisations.

Standards Australia Australian international standards organisation

Standards Australia is a standards organisation established in 1922 and is recognised through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian government as the peak non-government standards development body in Australia. It is a company limited by guarantee, with 73 members representing groups interested in the development and application of technical standards and related products and services. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Commonwealth and Standards Australia recognises Standards Australia as Australia’s representative on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC).

Underwater sports

The AUF is the governing body for the following underwater sports within Australia: spearfishing, underwater hockey, finswimming and underwater rugby. [15]

Underwater hockey Underwater sport

Underwater hockey (UWH), also known as Octopush is a globally played limited-contact sport in which two teams compete to manoeuvre a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into the opposing team's goal by propelling it with a hockey stick (pusher). It originated in England in 1954 when Alan Blake, a founder of the newly formed Southsea Sub-Aqua Club, invented the game he called Octopush as a means of keeping the club's members interested and active over the cold winter months when open-water diving lost its appeal. Underwater hockey is now played worldwide, with the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques, abbreviated CMAS, as the world governing body. The first Underwater Hockey World Championship was held in Canada in 1980 after a false start in 1979 brought about by international politics and apartheid.

Underwater rugby Game where two teams try to score a negatively buoyant ball into the opponents’ goal at the bottom of a swimming pool on breath-hold

Underwater rugby (UWR) is an underwater team sport. During a match two teams try to score a negatively buoyant ball into the opponents’ goal at the bottom of a swimming pool. It originated from within the physical fitness training regime existing in German diving clubs during the early 1960s and has little in common with rugby football except for the name. It was recognised by the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) in 1978 and was first played as a world championship in 1980.

Diver training

Historically, the AUF operated as a diver training organisation offering instructor training and certification, and recreational diver certification in both snorkel and scuba diving. It currently issues CMAS International Diving certificates in its capacity as a member of the CMAS Technical Committee in respect to its own training programs and those offered by FAUI (formerly the Federation of Australian Underwater Instructors and now known as the Formation of Australian Underwater Instructors) and the now-defunct Australian branch of NAUI. [16] [17]

The National Association of Underwater Instructors is a non-profit 501 (c) (6) association of scuba instructors. It is a recreational dive certification and membership organization established to provide international diver standards and education programs. The agency was founded in 1960 by Albert Tillman and Neal Hess. NAUI is headquartered in Tampa, Florida, US) with dive and member instructors, resorts, stores, service and training centers, located in Japan, South Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Brazil and the Pacific Rim.

AUF currently offers training in snorkelling (including breath-hold technique) for open water and pool environments, and in coaching levels accredited with the Australian Government's National Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NCAS) for three sports. Originally launched in 1985 under the name of the School Snorkelling Programme, the openwater training stream (known as Ocean) supports both recreational diving as well as the sports of spearfishing and photofishing (a breath-hold version of the sport of underwater photography offered by CMAS) while the pool stream is intended to develop proficiencies in finswimming and underwater hockey. The following instructional levels are currently offered – Finswimming Coach Level 1 and 2, Ocean Coach level 1 and 2, and Underwater Hockey Coach Level 1 and 2. [18]

In underwater diving, open water is unrestricted water such as a sea, lake or flooded quarries. It is the opposite of confined water (diving) where diver training takes place. Open water also means the diver has direct vertical access to the surface of the water in contact with the Earth's atmosphere. Open water diving implies that if a problem arises, the diver can directly ascend vertically to the atmosphere to breathe air. Penetration diving—involving entering caves or wrecks, or diving under ice—is therefore not "open water diving". In some contexts the lack of a decompression obligation is considered a necessary condition for classification of a dive as an open water dive, but this does not affect the classification of the venue as open water.

Swimming pool Artificial container filled with water intended for swimming

A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or paddling pool is a structure designed to hold water to enable swimming or other leisure activities. Pools can be built into the ground or built above ground, and are also a common feature aboard ocean-liners and cruise ships. In-ground pools are most commonly constructed from materials such as concrete, natural stone, metal, plastic, or fiberglass, and can be of a custom size and shape or built to a standardized size, the largest of which is the Olympic-size swimming pool.

Underwater photography is a scuba-based underwater sport governed by Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) where teams of competitors using digital underwater camera systems all dive at the same saltwater ocean sites at the same time over a two-day period. The submitted digital images are then assessed and ranked by a jury using a maximum of five photographic categories as well as an overall score. The sport was developed prior to 1985 as a photographic film-based event and is currently mainly practised in non-English speaking countries.

See also

Related Research Articles

British Sub-Aqua Club Recreational diving club, training and certification agency based in the UK

The British Sub-Aqua Club or BSAC has been recognised since 1954 by the Sports Council as the national governing body of recreational diving in the United Kingdom.

European Underwater Federation Ubrella organisation representing scuba diver training organisations in Europe

The European Underwater Federation (EUF) is an umbrella organisation representing the interests of scuba diver training organisations operating in both the not for profit and for profit sectors within Europe.

Diver certification Certification as competent to dive to a specified standard

A Diving certification or C-card is a document recognizing that an individual or organization authorized to do so, "certifies" that the bearer has completed a course of training as required by the agency issuing the card. This is assumed to represent a defined level of skill and knowledge in underwater diving. Divers carry a qualification record or certification card which may be required to prove their qualifications when booking a dive trip, hiring scuba equipment, filling diving cylinders or in the case of professional divers, seeking employment.

Open Water Diver An entry-level autonomous diver certification for recreational scuba diving

Open Water Diver (OWD) is an entry-level autonomous diver certification for recreational scuba diving. Although different agencies use different names, similar entry-level courses are offered by all recreational diving agencies and consist of a combination of knowledge development (theory), confined water dives and open water dives (experience) suitable to allow the diver to dive on open circuit scuba, in open water to a limited depth and in conditions similar to those in which the diver has been trained or later gained appropriate experience, to an acceptable level of safety.

The Fédération Française d'Études et de Sports Sous-Marins (FFESSM) is a French sports federation specialized in recreational and competition underwater sports, like scuba diving and freediving. It is the main diver training organization in France.

The Nederlandse Onderwatersport Bond (NOB) is the national governing body for recreational diving and underwater sports in the Netherlands. It was founded in 1962. In 2008 there were 290 scuba diving clubs and schools with a total of 20.000 members. The NOB is a member of CMAS Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques. The aim of the NOB is to develop recreational scuba diving in the Netherlands.

The Federación Española de Actividades Subacuáticas (FEDAS) is the highest authority in the field of Spanish aquatic sports, being the national federation of autonónicas groups across the country. While the federation normally uses the official state language, Castilian or Spanish, it also uses co-official languages common in the Galician, Basque and Catalan regions. It is a voting member of the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS).

British Underwater Sports Association (BUSA) is the British affiliate of the Sports Committee of Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS).

Comhairle Fo-Thuinn, also known as Irish Underwater Council, is the national governing body for recreational diving and underwater sports in Ireland.

South African Underwater Sports Federation The official World Underwater Federation representative body in the Republic of South Africa.

The South African Underwater Sports Federation (SAUSF) is the official CMAS representative in the Republic of South Africa, and is affiliated to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).

Turkish Underwater Sports Federation is the governing body for both underwater sports and lifesaving in Turkey. Founded in 1982 and based in Ankara, the TSSF is a member of both the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS) and the International Life Saving Federation (ILS). Its president is Ahmet İnkılap Obruk, who was also elected in 2009 to CMAS' board of directors for a term of four years.

Finswimming has been conducted in Australia since 1970 and is offered at venues in New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria. National championships have been held since 1970 and Australia first competed at world championship level in 1990.

The Underwater Society of America (USOA) is the peak body for underwater sport and recreational diving in the United States of America.

Outline of underwater diving Hierarchical outline list of articles related to underwater diving

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to underwater diving:

Index of underwater diving Alphabetical listing of underwater diving related articles

The following index is provided as an overview of and topical guide to underwater diving:

Diver organisations are membership based organisations where the membership is wholly, or at least in large part, underwater divers, and the organisation is intended to further a mutual interest related to underwater diving or the aquatic environment as it affects divers or diving activity. Some organisations have more than one focus of interest.


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  2. Cunneen, Chris, 'Charles, Richard Stanley (Dick) (1901–1974)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  3. "Life Members". Australian Underwater Federation. Archived from the original on 5 March 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  4. Australian Underwater Federation. "About the Australian Underwater Federation".
  5. "AUF Constitution". Australian Underwater Federation. Archived from the original on 10 April 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  6. "WELCOME TO OZFIN – AUSTRALIAN FIN SWIMMING". Ozfin Inc. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  7. "Mission Statement". Underwater Skindivers & Fishermen's Association Inc. Archived from the original on 27 April 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  8. Underwater Hockey Australia. "Underwater Hockey Australia".
  9. ‘National Sporting Organisations recognised by the Australian Sports Commission (as at February 2012)’, "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 September 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  10. "AUSTRALIAN UNDERWATER FEDERATION". Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  11. Randell, Luke. "Australian Underwater Federation – Queensland – Spearfishing Commissioner".
  12. "Australian Underwater Federation". Australian Underwater Federation. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  13. "(Recfish Australia) Current Members". Australian Recreational and Sport Fishing Industry Confederation Inc. Archived from the original on 8 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  14. Committee CS/83, Recreational Underwater Diving (2000). Australian Standard AS4005.1, Training and certification of recreational divers Part 1: Minimum entry-level SCUBA diving (2nd, 2000 ed.). Standards Australia. p. ii. ISBN   0 7337 3268 2.
  15. Hoh, Amanda. "What tries beneath: official nod for hidden depths of underwater rugby". Sunday Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  16. "Membership for CMAS Diver Certification". Australian Underwater Federation. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  17. "About FAUI". Formation of Australian Underwater Instructors. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  18. Australian Underwater Federation. School Snorkelling Programme; Poole, Frank (1985), Standards and procedures handbook / compiled by Frank Poole, Australian Underwater Federation