The term "Public Safety Diving" is a generic term used to describe the underwater work conducted by law enforcement search & rescue/recovery dive teams. Public safety divers (PSDs) are different from recreational divers in many aspects. Unlike a recreational diver who can plan the date, time, and location of a dive, PSDs respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays and weekends. It is not uncommon for PSDs to dive in the middle of the night, during inclement weather, in zero visibility "black water," or in waters polluted by chemicals and biohazards.
Public Safety Dive Teams face some of the most difficult and demanding scenarios of any rescue group. Typically diving in low-visibility or even blackout conditions, under ice, in contaminated waters, racing to save a life or methodically searching the bottom for evidence. This is not recreational diving, nor is recreational dive training adequate to answer the demands of these underwater activities.
In addition to "recreational" dive training, public safety divers receive specialized training for conducting search patterns, recognizing hazards, conducting risk/benefit analyses, diving in zero visibility, using full-face masks with communication systems, and recovering evidence that is admissible in court.