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March 1998 Vol. 13, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Do Five Percent of the Navy Divers Get Bent?

from the March, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

For decades its been conventional wisdom among sport divers that five percent of the Navy divers get bent. And for just as long, its not been true.

Navy divers do get bent, so if you want to be the smart one at your next gathering of divers, youll cite these stats, which covers the entire U.S. Navy diving database for 1990-1995, which amounts to 648,488 dives for the 6-year period. They were collected by the Naval Safety Center and reported in the Journal of Undersea Hyperbaric Medicine.

Out of 10,000 dives, there were an average of 1.3 incidents of Arterial Gas Embolism, 1.3 incidents of Type I DCS, and 1.3 of Type II DCS.

Translated, this means that there is an accident rate of .39 percent, and a DCS rate of .26 percent (or roughly twenty times less than the conventional wisdom of 5 percent).

Keep in mind that these stats reflect carefully managed and planned dives conducted by people who are highly trained and in reasonably good shape

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