Even though scuba diving is exciting and gives you a great way to see the world from a different perspective, it is a high-risk hobby. Earlier this month, Pensacola beachgoers were reminded of that risk when they found the body of Gary Martin Wise on the shoreline near the Park East area.
Wise had been scuba diving alone and had already passed away by the time witnesses could try to revive him. The cause of his death is unknown, and currently being investigated.
How Dangerous Is Scuba Diving?
According to a report from the Divers Alert Network (DAN) in 2011, the rate of death for insured DAN members was 16.4 per 100,000 people. These rates vary based on the location of the divers, age, and amount of training that divers have. These deaths do not happen often, but they are preventable and definitely prove that there are risks that come with scuba diving.
And there are more risks involved with scuba diving beyond death. Rapid ascent, contact with marine life, or medical conditions can cause injury underwater, including:
- Barotrauma to the lungs (lung collapse, arterial gas embolism, breathing troubles, chance of stroke)
- Decompression sickness (dysfunction of the spinal cord, brain, lungs)
- “Squeezes” (pain in your ears, inner ear, sinuses)
There are also risks involved when interacting with any type of animal life. Scuba diving injuries also include things such as scrapes, cuts, or bites from various marine life.
Common Causes of Scuba Diving Accidents
There are 3 common causes of scuba diving accidents or death:
- Pre-existing health conditions – When you begin your scuba diver training, your instructors should provide you with a questionnaire regarding your health and any pre-existing conditions you have. The riskiness of scuba diving sharply increases if you are over the age of 45, taking prescription medication, or have high blood pressure. Pre-existing conditions can affect your ability to dive, especially if you are in an emergency situation.
- Poor buoyancy control – Changing your position from horizontal to vertical, kicking techniques, and how deeply you’ve descended will all affect your buoyancy (ability to float.) Poor buoyancy often leads panicked divers to rapidly ascend to the shore, which is extremely dangerous. If you do not know buoyancy basics, you’ll find yourself in big trouble underwater.
- Rough waters – Rough conditions underwater can affect visibility and buoyancy. Not all divers will be familiar with the conditions of the water they dive in, especially if they are on vacation or traveling to dive. Before you dive into unfamiliar waters, talk to local diving instructors and divers about the conditions of the water, and when it is too dangerous for diving.
Ways to Prevent Injury
- Get Certified, And Continue to Educate Yourself – Even after you have received proper scuba diving training, your education is not completed. Continue to take scuba diving safety courses to refresh your memory on best practices and ways to stay safe underwater.
- Check and Update Your Gear – Your gear is literally life support. Broken gear may not give you the amount of air or protection you need for a successful dive. Give your gear a checkup annually, or before every big dive.
- Get in Shape – Physical health is especially important in a demanding activity like scuba diving. Keep your heart, lungs, and muscles strong, especially in the months before a big dive. If you gain some weight or lose muscle and go out on a dive, you’ll quickly realize how much harder it is to dive.
If You Have Been Injured in a Scuba Diving Accident
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or damages due to a scuba diving incident, it is important to investigate the injury immediately. There are many factors that can lead to an injury, and knowing the facts will help you file the proper claims and get the compensation you need and deserve.
In the event that faulty equipment or poor training is the cause of your injury, lawsuits can be filed against the appropriate parties (scuba diver training courses, equipment manufacturers, diver companies, etc.).
For example, one of the top causes of scuba diving injury is pre-existing conditions. If you obtained your certification without a proper health assessment, you may not be aware of how high blood pressure or other health conditions can affect your diving abilities. Because of this, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the company that certified you for letting you get certified despite your condition.
Talk to a personal injury lawyer today to determine if should file a lawsuit and ask for compensation after a diving injury.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2014-2016 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.