Scuba Training and Safety

Author:
Publish date:
students get ready

A group of students gets ready to make an “open water” dive as part of their course (Photo courtesy of PADI)

Although there are few experiences as peaceful as gliding weightless through the water in full scuba gear, the grace and beauty of the sport belie the fact that diving has inherent risks.

Fortunately, these are well understood and with proper training, there is little danger, so long as you follow the proper protocols and ensure beforehand that you are in adequate physical condition to take part in scuba diving in the first place. Indeed, children as young as 10 regularly receive scuba training.

In terms of training, thousands of different certified dive centers can be found throughout the world.Tying many of these centers together is PADI (padi.com), with regional headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, California; Sydney, Australia and Bristol, England. Since its founding in 1966, PADI has created standards and training protocols covering everything from basic open-water scuba diving to rescue diving, night diving and underwater videography. It has also established a certification program for instructors, instructor trainers and dive centers and resorts, designed to guarantee that all divers will receive complete and competent training no matter where in the world they go.

In terms of costs, getting certified for entry-level, “Open Water Diver,” as it’s called can range anywhere from $350 to $800 depending on location and whether or not you need to rent equipment or will be bringing your own. As for the training itself, it consists of three distinct stages: 1) learning the principles of scuba diving and dive safety on shore, 2) confined water dives, in which you are introduced to the gear itself in a quiet body of water or swimming pool, 3) four “open water” dives, typically made over the course of two days, in which you put your skills to the test.

Other scuba training organizations include the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI—naui.org) based in Riverview, Florida, and Scuba Schools International (SSI— divessi.com) based in Boca Raton, Florida.

With respect to safety, while the chances of injury in scuba diving are very small, a well-established dive safety and treatment infrastructure has also been put in place, both in the United States and abroad, to ensure that in the event a diver is injured, he or she can quickly access the necessary medical assistance.

Beyond that, as a scuba diver it is a good idea to become a part of the Divers Alert Network, or DAN (diversalertnetwork.org), a membership-based not-for-profit that does everything from research dive-safety issues to certify dive-safety instructors and provide evacuation insurance to ensure that if worse comes to worse, you’re covered.

DAN also provides support services to divers in emergency situations via a 24-hour medical hotline that can be accessed from anywhere in the world to help with everything from medical referrals to figuring out the logistics of an evacuation.

In fact, so successful has DAN been in caring for divers that it has also created a subset called DAN Boater (danboater.org), which provides the same 24-hour hotline medical evacuation and medicals repatriation services to non-divers, both at sea and on dry land. 

May 2017

Related

arc18-3981

Stories from the Cruisers of the ARC

Each December, the docks at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia are abuzz as the fleet of the ARC—the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers—arrives to much fanfare. No matter what time of day or night, the staff of the World Cruising Club, organizers of the 33-year-old rally, are there to ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A sign from outside the box  Rev counters on modern engines are driven electronically from a terminal on the alternator. If all is well, as soon as the engine fires up the revs will read true. If, ...read more

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more

190314-viddy

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: A Source of Hope

The tagline for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is "serious sailing, serious fun." However, for the inhabitants of St. Maarten, the event is more than just a festival of great music and some of the best sailing around. Local blogger Angie Soeffker explains the impact the race ...read more

SPOTX-1500x1500_front

Gear: SPOT-X Satellite

Hits the SPOT The SPOT-X two-way satellite messenger is an economical way of staying connected to the outside world via text or e-mail when you’re at sea. As well as the messaging service, it has a distress function that not only alerts authorities if you’re in trouble, but lets ...read more

_8105684

A Kid’s Take on the Northwest Passage

Going North—and West Crack! Crunch! I woke with a start to the sound of ice scraping the hull of our 60ft sailboat, Dogbark. In a drowsy daze, I hobbled out of the small cabin I was sharing with my little sister. As I emerged into the cockpit, I swiveled my head, searching for ...read more