SCUBA Safety

by James Tyson

Is SCUBA diving truly dangerous? How dangerous is it?

Humans are not built to breathe underwater, which means that every time a diver descends, he is completely dependent upon his equipment, skills, and emergency training to ensure that he surfaces safely.According to the "Diver's Alert Network (DAN) 2010 Diving Fatalities Workshop Report", a diving fatality occurs in 1 out of every 211,864 dives.

Most Common Causes of Death

1. Pre-existing disease or pathology in the diver
2. Poor buoyancy control
3. Rapid ascent/ violent water movement

What is Buoyancy?

Buoyancy is an object's (or diver's) tendency to float. You can think of buoyancy as an object's "floatiness". In scuba diving, we use the term

buoyancy to describe not only an object's ability to float in the water, but also its tendency to sink.


  1. Never try to dive when you're not comfortable. During descent, you should gently equalize your ears and mask. At depth, never dive outside the parameters of the dive tables or your dive computer (information that helps you avoid decompression sickness).
  2. Never hold your breath while ascending. You should always ascend slowly while breathing normally.
  3. Become familiar with the underwater area and its dangers. Learn which fish, coral and other hazards to avoid so injuries do not occur. Be aware of local tides and currents.
  4. Never panic under water. If you become confused or afraid during a dive, stop, try to relax and think the problem through. You can also get help from your dive buddy or dive master.
  5. Never dive without a buddy.
  6. Always plan your dive; then always dive your plan.
  7. Be sure that your diving equipment can handle the dive you have planned and that the equipment is working well.
  8. Don't drink alcohol before diving.
  9. Never dive while taking medicine unless your doctor tells you it's safe.
  10. Diving can be dangerous if you have certain medical problems. Ask your doctor how diving may affect your health.
  11. Cave diving is dangerous and should only be attempted by divers with proper training and equipment.
  12. If you don't feel good or if you are in pain after diving, go to the nearest emergency room immediately.
  13. Don't fly for 12 hours after a no-decompression dive, even in a pressurized airplane. If your dive required decompression stops, don't fly for at least 2