At DAN Asia-Pacific (DAN AP), we are starting to see an alarming number of cases where divers have continued diving, often for days, with symptoms of decompression illness (DCI). Despite having symptoms, some divers even decide to fly, which could potentially be dangerous.

As divers, we need to consider the possible consequences of our actions, including the potential worsening of symptoms, a higher number of possible chamber treatments required, and as a result, greater associated costs and increased potential for permanent injury.

Mild DCI can often be managed effectively with surface oxygen and the diver may be able to return to diving relatively quickly (2-4 weeks), depending on expert medical advice. However, if the diver ignores the symptoms of DCI and continues diving, a mild case may progressively worsen and the symptoms may become increasingly difficult to resolve, sometimes requiring many chamber treatments and ancillary care, such as physiotherapy.  Returning to diving may not be possible for more than six weeks and, in extreme cases, divers may be advised to cease diving altogether.

An additional risk is the possibility that not all the treatment expenses will be covered. DAN AP’s emergency evacuation and treatment plans all have exclusions for activities that are known, or should reasonably be known, to increase the chances of injury. This includes continuing to dive or flying after diving while you have symptoms of DCI, as well as diving against medical advice.

DAN doesn’t want to spoil your dive trip, rather we want you to be able to continue diving safely into the future.  This is why we require that you contact DAN AP or a DAN-supported hotline for advice should you develop any symptoms after diving. Doing this gets you the correct advice to best manage your set of symptoms with the shortest possible time out of the water.

Nobody likes sitting out a dive, particularly if you have paid for the “trip of a lifetime”, but the team at DAN AP want all our members, and all divers in general, to understand it may be better to miss a couple of days diving, rather than face the prospect of never diving again, ongoing medical issues, or unnecessary out-of-pocket treatment costs.

Dive safely and consider the consequences of what you do.

Scott Jamieson
DAN AP General Manager

Safety content provided by the Divers Alert Network


Check out DAN AP’s ‘Emergency Procedures’ section before going on a trip and make sure you have DAN AP’s Emergency Medical Hotline Number entered into your phone. Remember, all divers can call DAN for advice: However, we can only arrange and cover associated costs for an emergency evacuation and treatment, for current DAN AP Members. Make sure DAN AP coverage is part of your dive kit.

Cover photo © <a href=’’>vspiller / 123RF Stock Photo</a> / Policeman © GoogleImages

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