Locations and Facilities


Helgoland Island (Central dive facility at AWI)

The Centre for Scientific Diving of the AWI is located at the "Binnenhafen" of Helgoland. Completely renovated and significantly enlarged in 2010, the AWI dive centre is now equipped with 5 offices (for a maximum of 13 persones incl. Bachelor and Master students), a meeting room with beamer, a workshop, a wet-lab and a diving preparation hall. The centre operates 4 different sized dive boats and a Bauer 550 Poseidon compressor incl. a NITROX mixing panel. Besides, the centre operate several aquariums for animal and flora husbandry as well as a 3 m deep saltwater testpool for equippment and experimental set-up testing.

The centre provides a wide range of diving support for guest scientists who need specific biota from the Helgoland underwater area or who want to join the AWI dive team themselves. The centre additionally offers scientific dive courses and special trainings for scientists who plan dive missions and also equippes AWI dive missions with the required dive equippment and if necessary, with a specifically trained dive mission leader.

For sientific divers, the rocky island of Helgoland provides a unique biotope in the Southern North Sea (German Bight). Dive sites around Helgoland are typically characterized by hard bottom or sandy areas and the famous kelp forests. At all sites, an exceptional high diversity of underwater fauna and flora is present and allow extraordinary dives and underwater experimental work. Most dive spots are between 5 an 30 m water depth and are easy accessible throughout the year depending on the weather conditions.


Diving at 79°N - Spitsbergen (AWIPEV Research Base Ny Ålesund)

The northernmost permanent arctic research station of the AWI (AWIPEV Station - till 2005 Koldewey-Station) is located in the small village Ny Ålesund (West Spitsbergen) at the southern coast of the Kongsfjord at 79°N 9°E. The station is the main platform for the year round Artic research program of the AWI in the disciplines meteorology, glaciology, geology and marine sciences.

The AWI Centre for Scientific Diving operates a well-equipped dive base at the AWIPEV research station covering an operational range from the Kongsfjord-area up to Prins-Karls-Forlanda and the Krossfjord system on Svalbard’s west coast. This research area offers a wide range of muddy, sandy and rocky habitats with a wide variety of endemic underwater Arctic flora and fauna.

The AWIPEV dive base is operated for about 6 month per year upon request by scientific projects which need diver support on site. The dive base is always operated by an experienced AWI dive mission leader covering a broad range of experience in all fields of underwater work like biota sampling, installation and maintenance of underwater observation stations, in situ experiments as well as the production of scientific photo- and video material. For the underwater scientific projects, a wide range of diving and safety equipment is available including a photo- and video equipment, an underwater drilling device as well as various sampling devices.

The dive base is equipped with a PolarCirkel working-boat (6.6 m, 150 hp outboard engine) suitable for short and longer distance dive operations. If necessary, additional smaller boats such as Zodiacs or FunYak PVC-boats are available. Furthermore, the dive base operates a decompression chamber for emergency treatments in close cooperation with Kings Bay AS (the local infrastructure and logistic supplier) and the hospital in Longyearbyen.

Dive missions at the AWIPEV station are coordinated by the AWI dive mission leader Max Schwanitz max.schwanitz@awi.de.


Sylt (North Sea)

Sylt is the northernmost island of Germany located in the Wadden Sea of Schleswig-Holstein. Scientific dives are mostly adressed to examine the ecology of mussel beds and to survey the settlement of alien species on anthropogenic hard bottom substrates. Dives around Sylt are characterised by shallow water depths, strong tidal currents and moderate visibility.

Four standard dive equipments including dry suits and coldwater certified regulators with full face masks are available. The research vessel Mya and a speedboat serve as dive platforms.


Offshore diving in the German Bight and North Sea

Dive missions in the German Bight and the North Sea are conducted from the research vessel RV Uthörn or (in case of offshore diving activities) in the North Sea or the Atlantic from the RV Heincke. Dives from our larger research vessels (incl. RV Polarstern) are done using RHIB’S or inflatables according to the ESDP-guidelines „Scientific diving from large ships (ESDP consultant document No 4)“. Scientific dives in the North Sea are done mainly to adress anthropogenic impacts (like the construction of windmill power plants) on the marine ecosystem.


Diving at 62°S (Dallmann-Lab., Carlini-Base, King-George-Island)

The Dallmann-Laboratory was opened in 1994 and is located at the coast of Potter Cove on King-George-Island (South Shetlands, Antarctic Peninsula). It is integrated within the Argentinean “Base Carlini” (former known as “Base Jubany”) and is operated in close cooperation with the Argentinean Dirección Nacional del Antártico (DAN) and the Instituto Antártico Argentino (IAA) in Buenos Aires.

The Dallmann-Laboratory comprises several buildings including scientific laboratories, living facilities and a diver’s house. The dive base is equipped with a stationary Bauer-compressor (Verticus V) and a decompression chamber for emergency treatments. All facilities are shared with the Argentinean scientists and other dive groups.

The seafloor of Potter-Cove is predominant muddy with some hard bottom areas composed of gravel, dropstones and, more seldom, solid rock. Both habitats, the rocks areas and the muddy areas host a diverse marine flora and fauna.

Diving at Carline Base is only conducted during the austral summer from November to March. For diving operations, several rubber boats (DSB and Zodiacs (Mk IV and V) with outboard engines are available on site. Most other dive equipment must be shipped to Carlini base about 4 month in advance of a planned dive mission.  


Dive missions at the Dallmann-Laboratory are coordinated by the AWI dive mission leader Max Schwanitz max.schwanitz@awi.de.    


Diving from RV Polarstern

The research vessel Polarstern operates in the southern and arctic ocean. As an icebreaker RV Polarstern enables to enter ice covered polar areas and to conduct diving supported underwater research under ice shields. For further details about RV Polarstern click here.


Diving at the German Polar Station Neumayer III (Antarctica)

In January 2015, the AWI dive team made a first successfull attempt to conduct hydrographical and biological studies under the fast ice at the German antarctic station Neumayer III.

Dive missions to Neumayer III station are coordinated by the AWI dive mission leader Christoph Walcher christoph.walcher@awi.de.