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IMCA Assistant Life Support Technician (A/LST)

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The IMCA life support Technician qualification is not a medical qualification, it is a qualification a person needs to maintain and support the life of divers living in saturation. This requires constant monitoring and control by trained personnel outside the deck compression chamber. The oxygen content of their breathing gas, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the depth/ pressure, temperature and humidity of the divers chamber environment all need to be monitored regularly and functions such as meals and sewage disposal need to be controlled from the outside. This is the Life Support Technician’s task that is under the control of the Life support supervisor.

The IMCA Assistant Life Support Technician (A/LST)

This is the most junior grade and refers to a person gaining experience after attending an IMCA Assistant Life Support Technician training course. However, saturation divers qualified to the South African Class I, UK Closed Bell or Part II Standard, Norwegian Bell Diver Standard or comparable standard are trained in Life Support techniques as part of their Diver Training and if the A/LST exam was taking and passed they can be appointed Assistant LST’s.

An Assistant LST must not be allowed to carry out any tasks unless properly supervised
After working for at least 2400 logged panel hours as learner or Assistant LST, a person may be nominated by the company he’s working for, to sit the IMCA Life Support Technician examination. The South African Class I diver, as well as UK Closed Bell or Part II, Norwegian Bell and divers of a comparable standard who have logged experience of Life Support duties as a learner or assistant Life Support Technician may write the examination after 360 hours if they have 5 years diving experience of which 3 years must be as a saturation diver.

The qualified Life Support Technician is able to carry out all the normal tasks of a Life Support nature, but there must always be a Diving Supervisor or Life Support Supervisor on duty and in control in charge.

  • Duration: 10 Days, 60 hours (excluding practical time spent during saturation course). The LST courses are normally run just before the saturation training courses.


  • The student does not need to have any diving qualifications, as this is not a diving qualification.
  • Hold a valid topside medical.
  • Have a good understanding of physics, Physiology.
  • Be a well-balanced person who accepts responsibility.

Some subjects covered as per IMCA A / LST:

  • Plant and Equipment and Diving Systems and components layout
  • Physics and formulas
  • Physiology
  • Gas Systems
  • Documentation and Record Keeping
  • Practical Experience under Direct Supervision
  • Saturation procedures and decompression tables
  • Treatment of DCS and emergencies in the chamber
  • Blending gas by partial pressure.
  • Booster pumps and compressors
  • Oxygen cleaning
  • Gases and Analysis

Life Support Personnel

An Assistant LST who has completed the A/LST training will need to log 2400 panel hours under a qualified LST. He will also need to have a letter of recommendation from the last LSS and dive company signing off the hours before being able to write the final LST exam.

Remember we do more than the minimum training on courses as the minimum reduces diving job opportunities and limits a divers career.