Adventure Channels and Sightseeing Channels feature stunning, breathtaking visuals of blue skies and crystal clear water and people scuba diving among the fish. The question is whether we are safe, among a wide variety of underwater life, some of which can be extremely dangerous, and in territory foreign to humans, we were not born to swim and we cannot breathe underwater, right?
The simple answer is yes and no. It’s similar to mountaineering. When asked if Edmund Hillary was dangerous mountaineering, he replied, not if you respect the mountain. Scuba diving is also not dangerous if you stick to it. It’s not dangerous as long as you follow safety guidelines, have the right equipment, know your limits, and stay within those limits.
A small risk is involved, the keyword being “small”. According to the DAN Diving Fatalities Workshop report, fatalities are extremely rare and in their 2010 investigation, they found that fatalities occurred once every 211,864 dives. How risky is it? More drivers die in traffic accidents and the chances of you dying in a long distance race are higher than in scuba diving – so the likelihood of you dying in scuba diving is rather low.
As with any extreme sport, an element of risk is always present. Divers are totally dependent on their equipment for breathing. Their return to the surface depends on their skills, proper use of equipment and emergency training. Approach sport with the right spirit and character. Grow with practice and training. Don’t take excessive risks. The bigger fish out there may seem docile, but they’re not dogs that you can pet and hug, so keep a reverential distance.
Investigations have found that most of the fatalities in sports are caused by human error and are completely preventable. The three main causes were pre-existing disease in the diver, spreading beyond his ability and rapidly descending.
People who died from pre-existing illnesses did not report their state of health in the scuba diving medical questionnaire. If they had, they would not have been allowed to enter the waters. The rapid descent causes poor buoyancy control and causes the diver to panic and make mistakes. Finally, you are so bloated and over-confident that you stray beyond your limits and cannot alert your partners in an emergency – false bravado often ends in disaster, not only in scuba diving. -marine, but in all areas of life.
To make your scuba diving a great fun experience, just be sure to plan your dive before you get in the water. Never dive deeper than your first dive. Check your dive gauges continuously and adhere to prescribed rates of climb and descent.
Perform a 3-minute Safety Stop halfway through the dive, to see if everything is under control and don’t continually rise and fall when you are underwater. And never exceed the limits of your training and skills.
What if you suddenly encountered a shark? Don’t panic, be calm and stay close to your dive buddy. Watching one is rare and an impressive sight, so make the most of it. However, keep a respectful distance and don’t swim fast. You cannot swim it, but once its curiosity is satisfied it will swim. This is what happens almost every time – think about a great time feasting your friends and family about your big shark encounter.