All the dives that we undertake carry a degree of risk that needs to be assessed and managed. In order to increase the likelihood of a problem-free dive it is the responsibility of all divers to honestly ask themselves “Should I be doing this dive?”
In determining whether the answer is “Yes” or “No” you need to consider numerous factors: the dive plan, the conditions, your level of training and experience; as well as your health and fitness:
No diver should undertake a dive that they are not 100% prepared for. Even the most simple of dives carries risk, which increases if the diver is not properly equipped, physically and mentally, to deal with issues that may arise whilst underwater or on the surface.
Conditions are usually easy to assess: Is it too rough? Is there too much current? It is the diver’s ability to cope with the dive that is harder to quantify. Your training level provides only a very rough indication of ability, yet it is often used by operators to assess if a diver can undertake a certain dive. While this is common, it doesn’t give an ideal assessment of a diver’s experience in certain conditions. Only the diver can provide this information, and to ensure a safe and enjoyable dive, should be honest in their self-assessment.
Know Your Body
The diver is often the only person who knows if they should cancel a dive for health reasons. Diving places stresses on the body that we do not experience normally. And these stresses can trigger medical events that may not have occurred on land.
Over recent years, medical conditions, primarily cardiac, have started to feature prominently in fatality reports. Divers need to be aware of how certain illnesses or injuries they have may be exacerbated by diving. Discussing your medical conditions with a diving doctor is the first step, but monitoring and maintaining your own health and fitness is also invaluable. The DAN AP website (check out the ‘Diving Safety’ section at danap.org) contains information about diving with a number of different medical conditions.
Being able to evaluate if the dive you are about to undertake is within your diving ability and whether your health and fitness level is sufficient for that dive, will go a long way to reducing some of the risk factors involved.
Bottom line: If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t dive.
By DAN Asia-Pacific’s General Manager, Scott Jamieson
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