Path to safety
Most severe dive-related injuries and deaths happen to divers who are new or go beyond their training or experience. To be safe, always dive within the limits of your experience and level of training. Never try a dive you’re not comfortable with.
Good rules to follow for safe diving include:
- Never dive without a buddy.
- Never dive if you have a cold or are congested in your ears or nose.
- Always plan your dive, and always dive your plan.
- Check your diving equipment to make sure it works. Use the right gear that can handle your planned dive.
- Do not drink alcohol or take drugs before diving.
- Ask your doctor what medicines are to safe to use when diving.
- Ask your doctor how diving can affect your health. It can be dangerous if you have certain health problems.
- Become familiar with the underwater area and its dangers. Learn which fish, coral, and other hazards you should avoid to prevent injury. Be aware of local tides and currents.
- Obey all diving instruction. As you descend, make sure you equalize your ears and mask. At depth, stay inside the parameters of the dive tables and computer. This information helps you avoid decompression sickness.
- Never hold your breath while ascending. Your ascent should be slow and your breathing should be normal.
- Never panic under water. If you become confused or afraid during a dive, stop, try to relax, and think through the problem. Ask for help from your dive buddy or dive master.
- Cave diving is very dangerous. Only divers with proper training and equipment should attempt it.
- If you don’t feel well or if you are in pain after diving, go to the nearest emergency room right away.
- Do not fly for 12 hours after a no-decompression dive, even in a pressurized airplane. If your dive required decompression stops, don’t fly for at least 24 hours.
If you or a dive buddy has an accident while diving, call the Divers Alert Network (DAN) at 919-684-9111. Doctors, nurses, and emergency technicians are available 24 hours a day. They will answer your questions and provide help. If needed, they will direct you to the nearest hyperbaric chamber or appropriate medical facility.