General Resources

General Severe Weather

  • It is the policy of the University and the Marine Laboratory to remain open and continue operations during periods of bad weather. Many critical functions of the Marine Laboratory must be staffed regardless of weather conditions, except in the event of evacuation as outlined below.
  • It is recognized, however, that some individuals may find it difficult to travel to the Marine Laboratory because of weather conditions. Employees reporting for work during periods of hazardous weather will be given available work and paid for the hours worked.
  • Employees unable to report to work because of weather conditions should notify their supervisor. These employees will be given excused absences, but will be on a non-pay status, unless they elect to consider such time off as vacation.
  • Where weather conditions make travel or presence on Pivers Island unusually hazardous, a Severe Weather Day may be designated by the Director of the Marine Laboratory. Communication of a Severe Weather Day will be made by general public announcement on Channel 12 on television, the DUML Web site and a phone message at 252-504-7500.
  • Employees reporting for work on days determined to be Severe Weather Days will be given a one hour "grace period" in reporting to their shifts. Employees reporting more than one hour late on those days will be paid only for hours worked.
  • Employees in areas requiring continuous service are expected to come to work if at all possible. These areas include the Dining Hall when students are in residence at the Marine Laboratory, and the Maintenance Department. Employees working in these areas who are unable to come to work must call their supervisor according to established Marine Laboratory procedures. In exceptional situations, transportation may be provided for these employees depending on the circumstances.
  • In the event of the threat of hurricane, a decision may be made by the Director of the Marine Laboratory to evacuate the island. In such an instance, supervisors will be informed that all employees are to leave the island immediately. These employees will not be paid for time not worked unless they choose to have the time charged to vacation.

Tornado Shelter Areas

Hurricane Preparedness

The Emergency Weather Management Team closely monitors tropical storms and hurricanes. The communications networks established for Severe Weather are notified in case of evacuation. Each manager oversees preparations in their unit. Key departments have detailed preparedness checklists. Students will not reside on campus in the event of a hurricane. In the event of an evacuation of residential students, Campus Services and Student Services are responsible for communication with students and Duke University (main campus in Durham, NC) to provide essential services (dorms, parking, meals). Communication is maintained with Nicholas School and Duke University Leadership to ensure a smooth residential student transition in the event of an evacuation.

Prior to returning to the Marine Lab after the weather event is no longer a threat, the Marine Lab Director, Crisis Manager, Associate Director, FMD supervisor and Campus Services manager will make an assessment of damages and take steps to mitigate any safety concerns prior to alerting the communications networks as to when the Marine Lab will reopen.

    Communications with respect to hurricanes/severe weather will be issued via email prior to a known storm, and updates will be made by general public announcement on Channel 12, on the DUML website and a recorded phone message at 252-504-7500.

    DUML students: Duke University Marine Lab Student Hurricane Reference Guide

    Here are a few resources you might find helpful in preparing for a hurricane:

    The following is a list of items which are performed at the Marine Lab in the event of an imminent hurricane.

    • Check the gas supply and availability of extension cords for the Bookhout Research Lab generator.
    • Determine the number of students returning to Duke, and contact the DUML evacuation list serv with the number and names of undergraduate students to be evacuated and housed in Durham. Parking and meals will be arranged for evacuated residential students.
    • The RA on duty will have a key to access the storage space in the attic of Dorm 5 so students can access any stored luggage.
    • Remove small boats and floating research projects from the water and store them safely on shore.
    • Check all porches and yard areas for loose items.
    • Move all office equipment away from windows.
    • Turn off all computers, monitors, printers and UPS battery back ups. Unplug from ac power or, if plugged into a UPS, unplug UPS.
    • Lock outside doors to all buildings.
    • Gas all vehicles.
    • Board up all windows in the Library/Auditorium Building, Maintenance Complex, and the Switch Room.
    • The Marine Lab is not responsible for any personal items left on the island.
    • The final determination for evacuation will be made by the Director.

    Safety and Compliance

    Duke’s Occupational and Environmental Safety Office [OESO] is organized into six different divisions:
    Bio-safety, Environmental Programs, Ergonomics, Fire Safety, Occupational Hygiene and Safety and Radiation Safety.

    Tom Schultz is the Duke University Marine Lab liaison to Duke University’s Occupational and Environmental Safety Office. Tom is also a contact person for Animal Care and Use on the island with our Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee [IACUC] representative, Richard Forward.

    Tom Schultz, Compliance Officer
    office: Bookhout (Lab 7) – Office # 214
    phone: 252-504-7641
    cell phone: 619-823-1514

    To obtain general safety and compliance information, visit the Duke Occupational and Environmental Safety Office.

    Faculty members are responsible for compliance with applicable regulations and policies which govern work and the safety of workers and visitors in their labs. Tom is available to assist faculty and staff with specific issues or to help organize for compliance.

    Everyone at the Duke Marine Lab should be aware that many hazards exist in laboratory work environments. Several keys ideas contribute to a safe and accident free work and learning environment:

    • Clearly label all containers (even water) and hazards
    • Exercise your “right to know” – ask about potential hazards in your work environment, learn to read material safety data sheets [MSDS]
    • Be aware of your surroundings
    • Know and use appropriate personal protective equipment [PPE]
    • Stay up to date with training and refresh your safety memory often
    • Plan for and know emergency procedures

    In the event of some work related injury or near mishap, respond calmly and report the incident. Forms are online here >

    Duke Marine Lab Diving Policy

    For the safety of our divers and to comply with risk management, all diving activities that meet any one of the “BEEP” criteria below fall under Duke University/ American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) scientific diving purview and therefore must be reviewed and approved by the Dive Control Board via the Duke Marine Lab Dive Safety Officer.

    “BEEP” criteria

    • Budget- If the dive was funded through Duke University (research, charter fees, training, travel, etc.)
    • Employment- If the dive is being conducted as a Duke University employee, contractor, or student (i.e. diver is “on the clock”, collecting data for class, degree, research, or training)
    • Equipment- If the dive is being conducted using Duke University owned SCUBA equipment
    • Property- If the dive is being conducted from Duke University property, including boats

    For detailed information, please refer to the Duke University Marine Lab Scientific Diving Manual, which summarizes the diving policy for Duke University and other AAUS organizational members.

    After reading the dive manual and establishing the need to dive, anyone wishing to enter (or re-enter) the dive program should contact the Duke Marine Lab Dive Safety Officer, Steve Broadhurst, (; 252-622-5562) to make arrangements.