Scuba Training and Safety

Author:
Publish date:
Updated on
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

Meridian-X-Spin_2

MOB: A Whistle in the Wind

Mark Wheeler went overboard a few minutes before midnight. He was in the middle of Lake Michigan, 30 miles offshore in 40 knots of wind. As he fumbled for the lanyard to inflate his lifejacket he watched his racing sailboat, Meridian X, disappear into the night at more than 18 ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Slapper stopper  When I came on deck at 0800 to hoist my colors on a visitors’ mooring recently, there was an awkward slop running in. This doesn’t trouble my Mason 44, which has a traditional counter ...read more

Tilly-1

Gear: Tilley Polaris Hat

A True Blue Tilley Sailing is all about fun in the sun, but it sometimes doesn’t take long to get too much of a good thing, especially when on a prolonged cruise or offshore passage. Enter the Tilley Polaris, the latest lid developed by iconic Canadian hat-maker Tilley. ...read more

Sand-TOWEL_MODEL-3

CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel

Sand Be Gone! The summer is hot and full of terrors—not the least of which is the sand that sticks in your beach towel in the hopes of a free ride back to your car or boat. Fortunately, there's now the CGear Sand-Free Beach Towel, engineered in polyester to not only dry quickly ...read more

01-Blowup-Tiwal2_sailing-(3)

Gear: Tiwal Inflatable Sailing Dinghy

Blow-up Boating A few years ago, the French company Tiwal arrived on U.S. shores with that most improbable of products, an inflatable sailing dinghy that actually sails the way a boat is supposed to. Now, nearly 1,000 Tiwal 3’s later, the company is back with its Tiwal 2, an ...read more

Koozy

Gear: 22 Below Koozie

Killer Koozie For all that sailors love the warmth of this time of year, that same warmth can also wreak havoc on their otherwise icy-cold beers. (Unless, of course, you drink them very, very fast. But we won’t go there.) To help deal with this terrible hardship, North ...read more

Cool-Specs

Gear: Gill's Race Fusion Sunglasses

Wicked Cool Specs Is there anything in the world of sailing more fun than a cool pair of shades? Heck, no! And it would hard to find a cooler pair than these new Race Fusion specs from longtime weather-gear manufacture Gill. In addition to looking great, they include a number of ...read more