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Bad Week for Scuba Divers

March 18, 2008

The 16th March was a bad day for scuba divers. In Tobermory, Scotland, search and rescue teams are looking for a scuba diver who went missing whilst exploring a 1935 year old shipwreck in the sound of Mull at a depth of about 50m. The circumstances are mystifying as the authorities said that the weather conditions were good with clear skies and calm seas.

Whilst in Kauai, Hawaii, on the same day, a 69 year old woman from Minnesota nearly drowned during a PADI course at Kaloa Landing in Kauai. She lost consciousness but her dive instructor managed to pull her to shore and call for help. She was lucky to have him. She is now in hospital in a critical condition.

As with all extreme sports, scuba diving is potentially dangerous. In fact, it is probably one of the most dangerous of all in that it is so beautiful, so beguiling, and so relatively ‘easy’ that you tend to be lulled into a false feeling of security. However, being underwater is a place humans were not intended to be, and the deeper you go, the more dangerous it becomes.

It is incredibly important to do a proper course and preferably not just a day’s holiday course. It is important to either scuba dive regularly or do a refresher course before you do it again. Never ever ever take anything for granted.

Some important lessons for this sport, once you know how to do it, are that you must never forget the following:

Annual servicing should eliminate the need for major field repairs, and you should always check the security of even seemingly minor parts.

or potential decompression dives, also require specialized training and equipment. Get both before you attempt these dives.

The only thing it will contribute to your dive is a threat to your safety.

Dives CAN go wrong. They do, they have done, they will again in the future. Poor planning and careless gear maintenance can lead to terrifying consequences.

Whenever I scuba dive I always think I will be perfectly content to go no deeper than 6 metres – at about a level where nothing too serious can happen. But it’s so beautiful down there, a stingray drifts by, or a turtle, or just a shoal of fish, and down you go…. until before you realize it you’re below 20m and still going down.

Having prosed on about all that alarmist stuff – it is a wonderful sport. Just take care, take precautions, never dive without a buddy, love it, enjoy it, be grown-up about your attitude to it!

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