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January 2013    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 28, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Dangerous Risk of Boats Without Dive Ladders

from the January, 2013 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

I've heard of all kinds of odd dive injuries, but longtime reader Gilda Sprung (Bellaire, TX) reported the most unusual to us. "In 2011, my husband, Warren, and I took the Rocio del Mar in the Sea of Cortez, and unfortunately the pangas didn't have decent ladders. So after handing our gear up to the crew, they pulled us up by our arms. A week after we got home, Warren and I had severe pain in our left shoulders. His shoulder was fixable with therapy, but my rotator cuff was torn."

I've seen many people struggle to climb aboard pangas and Zodiacs. I've seen people roll over the gunwales and hurt their back, land on their head and twist an ankle. Rotator cuff tears are serious, painful to repair and rehabilitate, and may never get back to 100 percent. Aging divers might be best off to verify ahead that there are ladders for water exits, and to follow Sprung's solid advice. "Don't let anyone pull you into a boat by your arms."

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