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January 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 34, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Why Divers Die: Part I

being lazy, getting fat and succumbing to panic are big factors

from the January, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Do you remember when it was diving that used to be dangerous and sex was safe? It's amazing that with so many dives being done worldwide every year, so few people get killed while doing it. That's the good news from the most recent incident reports published by U.S. and British dive agencies.

Divers Alert Network (DAN) collects dive accidents and fatalities and issues an annual report. For its latest one, of 2015 incidents, DAN observed that American and Canadian recreational scuba fatalities were at a 20-year low. (The British Sub-Aqua Club, which also keeps records for dives in the United Kingdom, came to the same conclusion in its neck of the woods.) Still, 127 fatalities were reported to DAN that year, 43 occurring in U.S. waters. It's no surprise Florida had the most, because it's the state with the most diving activity.

We can put this low rate of attrition down to proper training, good oversight by dive center staff and the application of common sense. But of course, even one fatality is one too many. There are always lessons to be learned from the death of a diver, and since its founding, Undercurrent has published significant dive fatality cases so that readers can better prepare themselves for safer diving. You only dive for pleasure, so why risk your life doing it?

Lost at the Surface

Divers need to be responsible for their own actions, but boat crews also need to be prepared for when things go wrong. As these incidents show, lazy and inept boat crews help to create some worstcase scenarios....

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