Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Medical clearance & diving

Often in our busy lives, we can take for granted our health or indeed ignore minor ailments when we should perhaps treat them. Therefore it will come as no surprise that often certified divers don't think about their fitness or health before they dive or if they have had a period of time out of the water.
General health & fitness are particularly important when diving due to currents, hot or cold weather, the physiological changes our bodies experience under pressure and of course general swimming and endurance from a dive.

We often experience divers who hold an Advanced or Rescue diver certification who struggle to swim even 20m on the surface with their equipment or to swim through a mild current. The impact of lack of fitness could not only endanger your life but also that of your buddy or other divers by leading to panic or the inability to control or manage the situation you are in.

Anyone taking a course or beginner dive is requested to complete a medical questionnaire prior to any in water activity. The medical clearly states that if there are any YES answers, then a doctor's certificate must be obtained before the course/dive can commence. The questions cover a range of medical problems from frequent migraines to asthma to heart conditions. Only a dive doctor can review your medical history and advise whether any present problems are compatible with diving or whether indeed you are not able to dive because there is too high a risk.

So even as a certified diver, if your circumstances have changed or there has been an illness/surgery/medical problem, go and get yourself checked by a dive doctor to ensure you really are still fit to dive and that you are in the right shape to manage the conditions of the dive you are planning to attend. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Buddy Separation

One of the important things you learn when you complete your Open Water course is about separation and emergency procedures should you find yourself missing from your buddy or your group.

Separation can and does occur due to many possible reasons such as currents, poor visibility, poor formation of the group and even taking photos can cause one buddy to get left behind.

After reading another story yesterday about 2 divers who were rescued some 8km away from their boat and dive site, it reminds you to reinforce the buddy separation rule and clearly communicate this between your buddy teams before EVERY dive. 

However, it is amazing how many people do not know what this rule is or what they should do in this event, despite being taught about it when they learned to dive. Certified divers who maybe just dive recreationally once a year on holiday perhaps forget about some key safety procedures, instead relying on or assuming their dive guide will take care of them.

So remember, Buddy Separation:

1. Look around in the area you last saw your buddy for 1 minute. Do a full 360 degree look around you as well as upwards and downwards, look for bubbles, fin flashes etc. Use a tank banger if necessary. 

2. Deploy your surface marker buoy and slowly ascend to the surface, watching out for boats as per a standard ascent. You do not do a safety stop. 

3. At the surface, hopefully your buddy is there also or joins you shortly afterwards.

Remember always inflate your BCD's at the surface, use surface marker buoys and whistles to attract attention. And ensure you go over your plan before every dive!

Come and dive with us and we will ensure you stay safe no matter whether you are learning to dive or doing a dive or snorkel tour.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Diving Insurance

Sometimes we get asked whether it is important to have insurance when going Scuba diving. Basically this is coverage for rescue, medial and transportation expenses in case of any diving incidents.

Most travel insurance policies do cover divers for recreational diving up to the limit of their certification level but sometimes people don't even have travel insurance in place, which is quite scary!

So is going diving without any insurance in place risky? Diving overall is a very safe sport but you can never rule out every risk out there. So diving without insurance is a bit like driving a car without insurance, there are always outside influences despite how careful you are or how well you stick to limits and rules.

Diving insurance is very cheap and easy to obtain and most allow you to select what options/expenses you wish to cover. So why leave it, if you are a casual diver mostly on holiday, then simply ensure you have a travel insurance policy in place that covers you for recreational diving in the destination where you are going on holiday. Or if you are a more seasoned diver, then we highly recommend DAN for all diver insurance. DAN also have a great advice channel for any worries or questions.

As members of the SSS recompression chamber network, The Dive Academy automatically qualify for coverage of up to 75% of costs for our customers or staff should they need recompression treatment.