Risks of Diving
Just like every other outdoor sports have, scuba diving also have some risks. I am sure this is the most important topic for all people who would like to start scuba diving. Human-beings are not designed for living (breathing) underwater, but on land. Scuba divers are standing in an environment that they shouldn’t be in biologically. I can liken scuba divers with the astronauts in terms of existing in a different environment. This situation brings some certain risk.
How Much Risk?
The question is “how much risk” does a scuba diver face underwater? If I say the risk is low or very high, it would be relative. Therefore, I want give you an idea about the risks of scuba diving from another article. In medicine.ox.ac.uk, it is told that the fatality rate has been 1 in 200.000 dives, whereas the same rate in swimming is 1 in 56.587, in cycling it is 1 in 92.325 and in running it is 1 in 97.455. I am not even talking about the car accidents and the rate of fatality in these. We are all in a great risk when we start our car engine.
What Causes the Problems Underwater?
In 2010 DAN (Divers Alert Network) Diving Fatality Workshop, 5 main causes of fatality in scuba diving published. Let’s take a look at them.
Before your scuba diving course, your dive center will want a detailed medical statement of yours. Going for a check-up is the best way to be sure. Not only at the beginning of your scuba diving career, but also in less than once a year, I advise you to repeat your check-ups.
Lack of Buoyancy Control
Buoyancy is the key in scuba diving. With proper training and experience (do dives with a dive pro or an experienced dive buddy until you have the enough experience). For more details about buoyancy in scuba diving, please read the article: Buoyancy Underwater: Tips for Perfect Buoyancy.
Fast Ascent and Rough Water Conditions
One of the golden rules of scuba diving says: “Be a SAFE diver“, where SAFE is the short form of “Slowly Ascend From Every dive”. This is a gas related pre-caution. If you make fast ascends, the nitrogen in your body changes into gas phase (become bubbles) and may block your veins. This is the very general expression of the decompression sickness. Always use a dive computer to calculate your ascent rate. A scuba diver should not exceed 9 meters/minute ascent rate in every dive. This means that if you are diving to 18 meters, you should ascent to surface no faster than 2 minutes. I also suggest you to carry dive tables even when you have a dive computer. Plan your dive, dive your plan!
Scuba divers should know their personal limits. Waves and currents require physical fitness. Diving under these conditions without enough fitness may result in both physical and psycological stress. Don’t dive under these conditions if you don’t feel you are not ready for such kind of dives.
Gas Supply Issues
Running out of air is a diver-based problem but it may also be a result of equipment failure. Scuba divers should dive in pairs, which we say “every diver should have a dive buddy“. For more details about dive buddies, please read the article: Dive Buddies. Check your equipment before every single dive and never ever dive alone (another golden rule of scuba diving).
When you have a buddy near you, you may give your out-of-air sign and ask for air sharing. All divers have alternate air sources for this situation. Your buddy will share his/her air with you comfortably and make you surface safe.
Equipment based injuries can be prevented by having your own equipment. This will give you the relaxation of “knowing where your accessories are located“. When I want to reach my BCD inflator, for example, I know excatly where it is and I even don’t look for it, just move my left hand to the “right” place and find it. But you cannot do it if you are using different models of BCD that you rent from a dive center every time.
Owning your own equipment isn’t enough. You should maintain your equipment and take them to authorized service at least before the high season for your dives.
I think SSI Diver Diamond will definitely help me in summarizing this article. The diver diamond says:
A safe and comfortable scuba diver can be formed by four main elements:
Scuba divers/candidates should know about the dive course they are in. No more, no less.
Scuba divers/candidates should know and apply the skills needed for the specific course. All the skills taught should be working on real dive environment and on in every condition.
Experience is not something that you gain while sleeping or sitting in your couch holding your scuba diving experience. You should diiiveeee.. That’s the proper experience that you’ll gain. remember that comfort only comes with repetition.
Every diver should have his/her own equipment that fits. Diving with familiar diving equipment will improve your ability and comfort during your dive.