It started as a 24-hour emergency hotline in 1980 at Duke University Medical Centre in the United States. This hotline was meant for the treatment of underwater diving accidents by providing information to injured divers and the medical personnel who cared for them. Then gradually, there was diving injury treatment insurance, evacuation services – it grew and grew. Today, DAN is inarguably one of the biggest names in the scuba diving world. Its Asia Pacific office is helmed by chairman John Lippmann, who’s been one with the entity since 1994 (fun fact: he initially agreed to take on the project for just six months). He tells us about DAN Asia-Pacific’s marketing tactics, specific challenges they face, and more.
HOW DOES DAN DIFFER FROM OTHER COMPANIES THAT OFFER SOME SORT OF DIVE INSURANCE?
Our focus is solely on diving incidents; this is our area of expertise. When a diver calls DAN for help, no matter the time of day, they are immediately connected to experts in diving accident management and diving medicine. Most of the other companies cannot make this claim. Also, we are a non-profit dive safety association that was established to help divers. We are not an insurer, and we want to make it clear that insurance is just one means to finance our activities. With other companies, profit from selling insurance is the primary goal.
WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGES DOES DAN FACE?
Remoteness and the numerous challenges associated with this. Even though we have by far the best worldwide network and undoubtedly the greatest experience in handling diving emergencies, we cannot escape the fact that, in the event of a very serious accident, remoteness from high-level medical care can sometimes be a major determinant of the outcome. However, divers must keep in mind that they can certainly reduce this risk by diving more conservatively and increasing their level of vigilance, care and preparedness in such places.
DOES DAN SEE THE NEED TO MARKET THE BRAND AND SPEND TIME AND EFFORT ON SUCH ACTIVITIES SINCE IT’S ALREADY A WELL-KNOWN NAME IN THE INDUSTRY?
The Asia Pacific region encompasses a massive area, so there will always be a need to continue marketing to build and maintain brand awareness for ourselves, especially since new divers are constantly entering the market. One strategy we have is to attend as many dive shows as we can to connect with divers and dive professionals face-to-face. Several parts of our region are unaware of the need to protect, or are averse to protecting, themselves for diving incidents, so it’s important that we continue educating divers.
AS A DIVE SAFETY ASSOCIATION, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO BOTH EXISTING AND NEW DIVE PROFESSIONALS?
One key message to dive professionals is to not advise or diagnose a diver who may be exhibiting symptoms commonly associated with DCI. We’ve had many cases where this has occurred and been incorrect, resulting in delayed treatment and an unnecessary worsening of symptoms. Always call our hotline for advice, so make sure you have our number on hand or saved on your mobile device. Do not delay this call.
HOW CAN DIVE OPERATORS BE BETTER PREPARED FOR DIVE EMERGENCIES?
Dive operators need to know how to move fast when administering oxygen in emergencies. This is one area that needs to be improved on throughout the region. It has been proven that immediate provision of oxygen first aid can significantly reduce decompression illness (DCI)-associated symptoms. We’ve developed an Oxygen First Aid and Awareness Campaign that we will be promoting heavily over the coming year in an effort to get more operators in a position to provide effective oxygen first aid to their divers when needed.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR DAN?
Within the last few months, DAN Asia-Pacific’s internal structure has changed, with Scott Jamieson becoming the general manager, and the management team completed with Sim Huber as the administration manager and Mel Cefai as the marketing and communications manager. As for me, I remain chairman and will continue overseeing and guiding the direction of DAN Asia-Pacific. The new management team is actively planning for the year ahead and these plans will be shared with the diving community over the coming months. Also, the official media partnership between DAN Asia-Pacific and Scuba Diver AUSTRALASIA will continue to develop and we will be marketing a special package that includes a DAN membership and a Scuba Diver AUSTRALASIA subscription at a great price. Find out more at www.uw360.asia/SDAA