Don’t Be a Statistic

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Proper planning and training can help you avoid most accidents

There was a sad event that took place on Saturday 1st March. A diver died just off of the south-west coast of the island. He was in his late 50s and was allegedly 350 lbs. Apparently he had a heart attack and couldn’t be resuscitated. There were 2 dive boats out that afternoon, I was on the other one, which was at a different dive site, so I wasn’t in attendance of the incident. Although I wasn’t present it does make me think about the situation and if it could have been avoided.

Accidents like this bring into sharp focus the dangers that can be associated with diving. It is important to make sure that you understand the risks. So many new divers are full of gungho and bravado that they fail to perform the necessary safety checks or actions that would keep them alive. Even if those actions are as obvious as having a good level of fitness.

As I progress into more and more complicated types of diving, I have become acutely aware of how important accident analysis is. Most people who don’t know better just write it off as common sense, but some people have unfortunately been born without this. Accident analysis helps you learn from other peoples’ mistakes so that you can hopefully avoid making the same ones. By pointing out the mistakes and the regular occurrence of the same mistakes hopefully divers will take note. This is why books like Diver Down and Staying Alive are useful and that every diver should read them – regardless of how experienced they are.

Below is seven tips for avoiding an accident. It was taken from an article on Scubadiving.com by Eric Douglas, who has written a book called Scuba Diving Safety – I am planning on reading it at some point in the future.

Don’t Be a Statistic – Seven Tips for Avoiding Accidents.

Dive within the limits of your training. Every year, divers who have never taken a wreck, cave or cavern class die inside cave systems. Nearly as often, divers without proper training die inside the overhead environment of wrecks, too. Get proper training before attempting any dive above your skill level.

Get the right gear. Whether it’s wearing the correct exposure protection for conditions or making sure you have the specialized equipment for a cave penetration, the right gear can make a world of difference. All life-support equipment should be properly maintained, serviced regularly and inspected before every dive.

Take a refresher course. Even when diving within the limits of your training, take a refresher course to shake off the rust from a long lay-off. A little time spent in the pool before you take that trip-of-a-lifetime vacation will pay big dividends. You’ll dive safer and you’ll have more fun because you will be more confident.

Get rescue certified. Every diver should know how to respond in an emergency, but the primary benefit of this class is that it will teach you to be responsible for your own safety.

Practice safety skills.bPractice critical dive skills, such as flooding and clearing your mask, recovering your reg, sharing air, etc.

Stay in shape for diving. See your doctor about any medical condition that may limit your ability to dive safely. Maintain a level of general fitness so you’re prepared to respond to any conditions.

Stay within your personal safety envelope. Don’t make any dive you’re not comfortable with. There is nothing wrong with saying no, at least until you have the chance to get the appropriate training.

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