Is diving safe? Well… We can talk about safety in diving for a very long time, and in my opinion it all depends on many things. Let’s talk about this topic today
After years of working in the diving industry, I can easily answer the question : “Is diving safe?”. And my answer would be : yes, but only if you follow the rules and dive within your limits.
Fast Take Aways on safety in diving
1. yes, diving is safe if you follow the rules
2. don’t pose as someone with more experience than you actually have
3. ask an instructor or a more experienced colleague for advice
Table of Contents
Is diving safe and what can be done to make it so?
Following the rules is key not only in diving, but also in other sports from the group of so-called extreme sports. In addition to following the rules, in my opinion, one must also be aware of what the consequences of our nonchalance may be.
Of course, immediately there may be voices that will say that following the rules is just minimizing risks, not a guarantee of safety in diving. Yes I agree, but it is the minimization of risks and prevention of critical, stressful situations that has a significant impact on safety in diving.
Don’t be overconfident
Many times in my career I have met divers who had a very high sense of safety. Unfortunately, sometimes unfounded in my opinion. This apparent sense of safety underwater leads to lowered watchfulness. I guess it’s human nature that once we consider something relatively safe, adherence to safety rules goes somewhere to the side.
We start making concessions, exceptions, after all, “what can happen? I’ve had more than X number of dives, I can do this.” That’s when the risk and likelihood of an emergency increases dramatically.
Increase safety in diving through training
Proper training, attending diving courses and workshops seems to be a natural way for a diver to minimize risks. Of course, just taking a diving course will not make you an Alpha and Omega, you will not become a master or an expert overnight.
Yet, what you will gain is a solid foundation of diving knowledge that will help you grow while keeping you safe. Experience is something you gain all the time. You certainly won’t gain experience after 20 or 30 dives.
I apologize in advance if this sounds haughty…. But I am amused by people who pose as great experts and experienced divers because they have completed an advanced course and have already done 30 dives. I, with my few thousand dives and after 6 years of working as a dive instructor, know that there is still a lot of learning ahead of me.
I am immortal!
Depending on what body of water you dive in, this may come sooner or later. However, what I can say with a high degree of probability is that someday this “feeling” will also come to you. The feeling that you are such a good diver, so experienced that you can handle any situation and under any conditions.
And then there is also a temptation, a very strong one, to do something more, something beyond your limitations, your training. And what is diving beyond the limits? It’s a bit like deciding to get behind the controls of an airplane because, after all, you have a license to drive a car. Does that make sense?
About diving beyond your limits
I will bring up night diving as a good example here. Personally, this is one of my favorite dives. The underwater world is then completely different from the one we know from day dives. We are also accompanied by a little more adrenaline, more excitement. Often clients ask if they can dive with me at night. Yes, but do you have a completed night diving course? The answer is usually “No.”
If you do not have a completed night diving course, I am very sorry, but I will not dive with you after sunset. The reason for this decision is as follows:
Safety in diving first and foremost
I can’t take you on a night dive just because you feel like it. Even if you are my best friend, I can’t do it. I simply know the risks of night diving and that such activity is a potential threat to your safety while diving. If there were some sort of diving accident, I think you can imagine how serious the consequences would be for me. Of course, this is different for training activities, during a night diving course or as part of an advanced course.
What skills and experience do you have?
Even as a diver with training for night diving, I would be afraid to go underwater with you if we have not dived during the day before. I don’t know how you dive and how you would act in an emergency situation. Would you be able to think rationally? Would you be able to help me if the need arose?
These are the basic questions you need to answer first before jumping into the water. And these questions also affect the answer as to whether it is safe to dive.
Do what you want, it’s your life
Of course, no one will forbid you from going on a night dive when you are not qualified to do so. You can even take a friend with you or go alone. Or you can start tech diving, without training. Whatever you like. Just remember that if something happens during such a dive, no diving insurance, not even DAN, will cover the cost of your recovery. Because you dived inconsistently with your training.
Therefore, I highly recommend and encourage you to follow the diving standards. If you start following them from the very beginning, then you will develop the right attitude towards diving.
Safety in diving – who is responsible?
Is diving safe? As you already know, it mostly depends on you. If you undergo good diving training and follow the rules, you will minimize the risk of an uncool adventure. But I think it’s clear that diving is a high-risk sport, no matter how deep you go or what visibility you dive in.
Diving is cheating nature, which told us that our place is on the surface and not underwater. You, however, want to bypass this ban and therefore dive with scuba equipment. And you are responsible for any consequences.
To a willing person, injury is not done
In Roman law there was a principle that still applies today in all legal systems – volenti non fit injuria. Which in Latin means “to a willing person, injury is not done”. This legal maxim states that a person who knowingly and voluntarily exposes himself to danger cannot claim for the resulting harm. This principle formed the common law basis for the doctrine of assumption of risk.
Responsibility of dive center for your safety
There is no doubt that the dive center you use should do everything to make our dives enjoyable and, above all, safe. It is on their shoulders that the responsibility rests, and they should do everything to ensure that diving accidents are as few as possible.
What do you mean as few as possible? I guess there shouldn’t be any? Yes, I agree, but we do not live in an ideal world where everything is only white or only black. As I said earlier, scuba diving involves increased risks and you have to accept it if you want to take the plunge.
We, as an authorized PADI dive center, have developed procedures and maintain appropriate documentation. You must always familiarize yourself with the rules and the degree of risk before diving, and you confirm your familiarization by signing a statement. This is to secure us, but also you. You may have never dived in the ocean and just don’t know what to expect on a boat, so it’s a good idea to read all the points carefully and ask questions if you have any doubts.
So, is diving safe? Let’s recap
Awareness of the dangers and one’s own limitations, expanding one’s knowledge, attending diving courses and workshops, proper equipment maintenance, adherence to the rules of safe diving, dive planning, partnership – these are factors that have a significant impact on increasing diving safety. When each diver properly approaches this issue, I think he will answer the question of whether diving is safe for himself and others without much trouble.
And so to the very end, I will say that nothing raises diver’s awareness and capabilities more than a well-executed PADI Rescue Diver course. If you haven’t taken it yet, there’s nothing to consider. Just do it.