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Pressure Injuries From Scuba Diving
What are pressure injuries from scuba diving?
Scuba diving can expose you to high waves and dangerous sea life. But the more likely dangers are those you can’t see. You can be injured if your body isn’t able to adjust to the increasing and decreasing pressure of the water as you breathe compressed air. Pressure changes can cause injuries when you drop down into the water (descend) and come back up (ascend).
Scuba injuries may be mild. But in some cases, they can cause serious problems or even death.
There are three kinds of injuries from pressure changes when diving:
- Barotrauma: Tissues near the air-filled spaces of your body—such as your ears, sinuses, dental roots, and lungs—can be damaged if your body can’t equalize the pressure between it and the surrounding water. This kind of injury is called barotrauma. As you descend, water pressure increases, and the volume of air in your body decreases. This can cause problems such as sinus pain or a ruptured eardrum. As you ascend, water pressure decreases, and the air in your lungs expands. This can make the air sacs in your lungs rupture and make it hard for you to breathe. If air bubbles get into an artery, they can cause a blockage that affects your organs. The blockage is called an arterial gas embolism. Depending on where the bubbles are, you could have a heart attack or a stroke.
- Decompression sickness: Often called “the bends,” decompression sickness happens when a scuba diver ascends too quickly. Divers breathe compressed air that contains nitrogen. At higher pressure under water, the nitrogen gas goes into the body’s tissues. This doesn’t cause a problem when a diver is down in the water. And if a diver rises to the surface (decompresses) at the right rate, the nitrogen can slowly and safely leave the body through the lungs. But if a diver rises too quickly, the nitrogen forms bubbles in the body. This can cause tissue and nerve damage. In extreme cases, it can cause paralysis or death if the bubbles are in the brain.
- Nitrogen narcosis: Deep dives can cause so much nitrogen to build up in the brain that you can become confused and act as though you’ve been drinking alcohol. You might make poor decisions, such as taking out your regulator because you think you can breathe underwater. Narcosis usually happens only on dives of more than 100 feet.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of scuba diving injuries can appear throughout your body. Some are mild, while others are more serious and need treatment right away.
Mild symptoms can include:
- Pain in your ears, sinuses, or teeth.
- Joint pain.
- Extreme fatigue.
Severe symptoms can include:
- Numbness and tingling in your arms and legs.
- Trouble breathing.
- Staggering or other trouble walking.
- Trouble seeing.
- Chest pain.
- Passing out (losing consciousness).
Symptoms can show up right after you come to the surface. Or they may not appear for several hours, especially if you fly in an airplane too soon after diving.
Get emergency help if you have any symptoms of scuba injuries, even if they seem minor. It’s easy to ignore joint pain and explain it away. But it could be a sign of illness. Sometimes the symptoms go away, but they can come back and get worse.
How are scuba injuries treated?
The main treatment for decompression sickness is time in a hyperbaric chamber. In the chamber, you’re exposed to increasing air pressure, which is like the high pressure underwater. The pressure is then slowly reduced, as though you’re coming up from underwater. Treatment in a chamber usually works best if it’s done as soon as possible.
Most divers who have decompression sickness also get pure oxygen right away after they have symptoms.
If you have a barotrauma injury, treatment depends on what part of your body has been injured. For example, if you have a broken eardrum, you may be given antibiotics while your eardrum heals. Depending on your injury, you also might get nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids to help reduce swelling in your joints and tissues.
Nitrogen narcosis gets better on its own when you reach the surface.
How can you prevent scuba injuries?
The best way to prevent scuba diving injuries is to make sure that you have proper training and are healthy enough to dive. In diving classes, you also will learn how to clear your ears to prevent pain and injury as you descend. Diving instructors can tell you how to use dive tables or computers that show how fast you should ascend and how many stops you should make while ascending.
Air travel too soon after diving can increase the risk of decompression sickness. The time you need to wait to fly depends on how much time has passed between your last dive and flying, and on how many dives you have made over a certain amount of time. Look at your dive manual to find out how long you need to wait before you fly.
You need to wait at least 18 hours or more if you made several dives a day or you dove for several days.
Treating Decompression Sickness (The Bends)
Decompression sickness (DCS) is one of the most common problems reported to Divers Alert Network® (DAN®). Although scuba diving accidents are rare, it’s important to know how to handle suspected cases of DCS. Your ability to take appropriate action can make a difference in the life of someone you care about.
What is Decompression Sickness?
DCS, also known as the bends, describes a variety of injuries that result from inadequate decompression following exposure to increased pressure. This can occur following uneventful dives within accepted no-decompression limits but is more likely after dives that involve a rapid underwater ascent. DCS can also be prompted by ascending in an airplane too soon after diving. When there is a rapid decrease in surrounding pressure, nitrogen absorbed by the body at depth comes out of solution, creating bubbles in the bloodstream and/or body tissues.
Symptoms of DCS can occur immediately after surfacing or up to 24 hours later. On average a diver with DCS will experience symptoms between 15 minutes and 12 hours following a dive.
Symptoms of DCS
- Unusual fatigue
- Itchy skin
- Pain in the joints and/or muscles of the arms, legs or torso
- Dizziness, vertigo and ringing in the ears
- Numbness, tingling and paralysis
- Shortness of breath
Signs of DCS
- Blotchy rash
- Muscle weakness or paralysis
- Difficulty urinating
- Confusion, personality changes or bizarre behavior
- Coughing up bloody, frothy sputum
- Collapse or unconsciousness
How to Treat a Diver with Suspected DCS
If you suspect a diver has DCS, provide emergency oxygen right away. Next, determine the severity of their condition (emergency, urgent or timely) by following the guidelines below:
A diver who is profoundly dizzy, intermittently conscious, weak, walking with an abnormal gait or having trouble breathing is experiencing a serious medical emergency. Administer 100 percent oxygen, and arrange emergency evacuation to the nearest medical facility.
Always contact emergency medical services first, then contact DAN. Although a diver with severe DCS requires recompression, it is essential that he or she be stabilized at the nearest medical facility before transportation to a chamber.
A diver experiencing severe pain that is either constant or increasing should be placed on 100 percent oxygen and given fluids. The next step is to contact DAN or the nearest medical facility. Emergency air transportation may not be necessary in all cases. Do not give the diver analgesics (pain relievers) unless advised to do so by medical personnel.
After obtaining professional medical advice, conduct a neurological exam and write down as much information as you can about the diver’s recent diving activity. A neurological exam can be done by anyone; no medical experience or training is required. Simply follow the on-site neuro exam directions found here. Ask the diver about any diving activities within the past 48 hours, including depths, times, ascent rates, surface intervals, breathing gas used and any problems experienced during or after the dives.
Obtain as much info as you can without delaying transportation to a medical treatment facility. If time allows, the following additional information may aid medical professionals with diagnosis and treatment:
- Symptom onset times and progression after the diver surfaced from their last dive
- A list of all first aid measures taken (including times and method of oxygen delivery) and their effect on symptoms
- A description of any joint or other musculoskeletal pain including location, intensity and changes based on movement or weight-bearing maneuvers
- Photos of any rashes with a detailed description of their location
- Information about any traumatic injuries sustained before, during or after the dive
Timely Cases of DCS
Divers who do not have obvious symptoms or whose symptoms develop slowly over multiple days may have a “timely” case of the bends. Common signs and symptoms may include vague complaints of pain or abnormal sensations.
Follow the steps described previously under “Urgent DCS” to conduct a neurological assessment and collect information about the diver’s recent activity. Next, contact DAN or a medical professional, or go to the nearest medical facility for advice and further evaluation.
Denial: The Worst Symptom of DCS
Denial is arguably the worst “symptom” of DCS. Delayed treatment can lead to permanent injury and prolong (or even prevent) the diver’s full recovery. Emergency oxygen can cause symptoms to temporarily improve only to reappear later — it is no substitute for a medical evaluation. Always contact DAN or a medical professional with training in dive medicine in cases of suspected DCS — even if the symptoms and signs appear to have resolved.
Be Prepared, Get Insured
Dive accidents can happen to anyone, not just newly certified divers. According to a recent DAN Annual Diving Report, nearly 600 divers contacted DAN with concerns about DCS, and divers with 21-60 logged dives were the most likely to report a diving incident. Learn more about the Top 5 Factors That Increase a Diver’s Risk of Getting the Bends.
Many medical insurance plans cover only the cost of hyperbaric treatments and not the cost of getting you to the chamber (the average cost for an air ambulance is around US$20,000). Ensure you have protection against the unexpected by purchasing DAN Dive Accident Insurance.
Top 5 Factors That Increase Your Risk of the Bends
The Bends, also known as decompression sickness (DCS) occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in the blood, often causing severe joint pain. The common name “The Bends” comes from an affected person doubling (bending) over due to the intense pain of the condition.
Ascending too quickly and not following recreational diving guidelines are two main causes of decompression sickness. Other factors that may contribute to individual susceptibility are summarized below.
The timing and intensity of exercise (also known as workload) during a dive can substantially affect a diver’s risk of DCS. Exertion increases blood flow and its gas carrying capacity. Consequently, exertion during descent and the deepest phase of a dive increases the amount of gas dissolved in tissues and the subsequent decompression stress. Mild exercise during decompression speeds up off-gassing. Exertion immediately following a dive can stimulate bubble formation and increase the likelihood of bubbles passing through the lungs without being filtered out of the circulation.
When possible, keep exertion to a minimum during the deepest part of a dive. After diving, avoid exercise as long as possible. If exertion is unavoidable, dive conservatively to minimize risk.
2. Thermal Stress
A diver’s body temperature can influence decompression risk. A warmer body absorbs more inert gas and releases it more readily. Conversely, a cooler body absorbs less gas during descent and releases less during ascent.
Divers using protective suits without active heating should avoid long exposure that may chill them toward the end of the dive. When using heated garments, a diver should stay comfortably cool at depth and warm during decompression. Staying comfortably warm during decompression and after dive promotes inert gas elimination and reduces the risk of DCS. However, attempt to quickly rewarm after dive, like taking hot shower or bath may provoke decompression illness.
Postdive Air Travel
Flying after diving increases decompression stress because the pressure in an aircraft cabin is lower than atmospheric pressure on the ground. The recommended guidelines for flying after diving are as follows:
- After a single no-decompression dive, a minimum preflight surface interval of 12 hours is suggested.
- After multiple dives per day, or multiple days of diving, a minimum preflight surface interval of 18 hours is suggested.
- After dives requiring decompression stops, a preflight surface interval substantially longer than 24 hours is considered prudent.
Adhering to the guidelines above can reduce your risk, but offers no guarantee against DCS. Observing surface intervals longer than the recommended minimums helps to further reduce a diver’s risk.
DAN established the Recompression Chamber Assistance Program (RCAP) in 1993 to support chambers in the Caribbean with limited funding and minimal opportunities for staff training or regular maintenance. Nearly 25 years later, RCAP supports chambers worldwide. Through RCAP, chambers in need receive operational assessments, staff training and replacements for worn equipment. The goal of DAN’s RCAP is to assure quality chamber assistance to injured divers in areas where diving occurs and provide for the future of diving in remote destinations.
Support DAN’s Recompression Chamber Assistance Program (RCAP) by making a tax-deductible donation today.
4. Medical and Physical Fitness
Poor health and physical fitness can compromise individual safety when diving and may increase risk of DCS. Regular exercise improves fitness and cardiovascular health, which translates into the ability to cope with emergencies and mitigates risk of DCS.
Adults need two types of regular activity to maintain or improve their health: aerobics and strength training. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines recommend:
- At least two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week to achieve health benefits, and five hours per week for fitness.
- Muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week.
5. Breathing Gas Mixture
The breathing gas mixture a diver uses can play a role in the development of DCS. Enriched air nitrox, also known as nitrox, includes an increased percentage of oxygen and, therefore, a reduced percentage of nitrogen. When diving nitrox and using the decompression schedule for air diving, the risk of DCS is reduced. The higher oxygen content of nitrox comes with an increased risk of developing oxygen toxicity if safe depth limit is exceeded.
Additional DCS risk factors include:
- State of Hydration
- Carbon Dioxide Level
- Patent Foramen Ovale
Note: Diving enriched air requires special training. Contact your local dive center or resort to learn more.
While individual susceptibility to DCS may vary, every diver can reduce their risk of decompression sickness by ascending slowly from every dive and following recreational diving guidelines. For more information, read DAN’s Medical Reference Book on Decompression Sickness which offers a detailed overview of DCS, including an overview of diagnosis and treatment.
Most common serious diving injury, is often called The Bends
This article is a brief explanation of DCS (The Bends) which is a serious injury caused by not following properly-planned dives regarding maximum depth, & the length of time spent at depth. It is not a detailed or scientific text, but just enough information for new divers to understand why we plan each dive and why most experienced scuba divers wear expensive dive computer watches. When we learn to scuba dive, there are so many new things, facts and unnatural activities to learn and think about, that the science & theory of DCS is often not understood properly.
The Bends/DCS in very simple terms
Because breathing from a tank of compressed air is not natural and nor is breathing while underwater, there are scientific facts & reasons which mean we need to understand the dangers, and act accordingly. You do not need to understand much science to understand DCS how to avoid getting it.
Anyone who dives deeper than 10 metres (30ft.) while breathing air from a scuba tank is affecting the balance of gases inside the tissues of their body. The deeper you dive, the greater the effect. And the longer you stay at depth adds even more to this effect. And to make things worse, the deeper you go and/or the longer you stay deep, the slower you have to ascend to the shallows.
The cause of DCS is a build-up of too much nitrogen in body tissue that did not get the opportunity to leave the body. Normally, nitrogen can leave the body from exhaling, but this needs time and the correct atmospheric pressure. The symptoms of DCS are most-commonly pains in the joints. The most extreme cases can lead to paralysis and even death. The treatment is multi-hour sessions inside a hyperbaric recompression chamber. This needs to be started as soon as possible after symptoms are diagnosed. Don’t worry though, because all dives can easily be planned to be 100% safe.
How can divers avoid the Bends/DCS?
Before every dive, the Divemaster guide will plan how deep the maximum depth will be, plus a maximum time to stay at any particular depth deeper than 10 metres. He or she will use information about any dives by anyone in the group within the past 24 hours. In addition the Divemaster will know about the dive site, and potential sea conditions, such as current & visibility. Finally, he or she will have a Plan B in case things need to be changed during the dive due to conditions or anyone’s air consumption.
Before dive computer watches were invented, the US Navy created a set of tables for divers to use for safety. Nowadays, the dive computers calculate everything more accurately. In addition, the computers are conservatively safe, meaning that a diver can go to the limits of the computer but in reality are diving more safely than they think they are.
The display of a dive computer tells the diver lots of information, but the most-important and easiest to read is the length of time that the diver can remain at the current depth. If the diver doesn’t notice this or ignores it, then the dive computer will usually sound an audible alarm to alert the diver. Also, if the diver ascends too quickly, the computer will sound an alarm. Finally, whenever the diver reaches a depth of 6 metres after being deeper than 10 metres the dive computer will prompt a ‘safety stop’ by changing its displayed information.
What’s a safety stop, and what happens if I forget it or can’t do it for any reason?
The ‘safety stop’ is when a diver stops at a depth of 5 metres at the end of the dive, and usually stays at that depth for 3 minutes. The function of the safety stop is to give the body time to release any excess nitrogen before the diver comes out of the water. 5 metres is a perfectly-safe depth for the diver to offload the nitrogen (simply by breathing), and not add more to his or her bloodstream. Actually, a normal dive to no more than 30 metres, without exceeding the limits of the dive computer or planned profile, does not require a safety stop. Divers can safely ascend slowly from depth to the surface without having to stop. But why not do it? Extra safety is better than taking risks. And anyway, in most cases the safety stop is done at a shallow part of the reef, not out in open water, meaning that it’s still interesting and fun.
If you’re unable to perform the safety stop for any reason, such as sea conditions or not enough air in your tank, then it’s not a problem providing that your dive was no deeper than 30 metres, and you didn’t exceed any of the time limits at depth. Skipping your safety stop will cause your dive computer to sound alarms at you, but this is not a big deal. However, it’s vital that your dive was safely within the pre-planned limits and that you ascend slowly to the surface, no faster than the smallest bubbles of air you see around you.
How to Treat Decompression Sickness
If you are diagnosed with The Bends/DCS, then there is only one treatment. The only treatment is to spend time in a hyperbaric recompression chamber. Medication, surgery, or hoping it will go away are no cure at all. Hyperbaric chambers are not standard equipment in most hospitals, and they are incredibly expensive pieces of machinery. Therefore, the treatment for DCS is also very expensive. This is the main reason that divers choose to buy scuba diving insurance, to cover the cost of emergency transport to the hospital and the sessions in the chamber.
Recompression sessions in the hyperbaric chamber involve the DCS diver sitting in a very small room, accompanied by a member of the hospital staff. During these sessions, the air pressure in the chamber is increased to simulate the diver breathing compressed air underwater. Then the pressure is carefully and very slowly reduced. Each session is usually several hours long, and the diver is likely to be breathing air richer in oxygen than normal. The severity of each case of DCS dictates how many sessions and for how long hyperbaric treatment is required.
In summary, scuba diving is incredibly safe if done within the pre-planned limits of depth and time. There are very few cases when a diver can suffer from DCS even after diving well within the normal limits. However, these cases are extremely rare and are usually attributed to an underlying disease or condition for that particular diver. We always recommend diving insurance, which is not expensive and covers the huge costs of treatment. In all cases, be honest to yourself, to your buddy and to your DM, and stay safely within the limits that you feel comfortable with. Also, drink plenty of water and get lots of rest between dives. And if you’re able to dive on Nitrox (enriched air) it’s even better for you.
THE BENDS DIVING / DECOMPRESSION SICKNESS
Home – SCUBA – The Bends
The Bends is the slang term used for decompression sickness. It was coined because one of the effects of getting decompression sickness is joint pain which can cause the sufferer to bend up in pain. You are more likely to hear divers referring to ‘getting bent’ than you are likely to hear, ‘having decompression sickness’ but they mean the same thing. Don’t let the name fool you though; joint pain is just one of many manifestations of this condition.
What Causes Decompression Sickness (DCS)?
Most commonly divers breathe air when scuba diving. Air is made up of 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen. Humans need oxygen to survive, but the nitrogen is not used and, on land, this would be exhaled. When you dive, the weight of the water surrounding you exerts a pressure; the deeper you go, the greater the force.
This increased pressure forces the nitrogen into your tissues rather than being expelled as it would on land. The deeper you dive and the longer you dive the more nitrogen you absorb.
Decompression sickness is caused when the tissues are unable to unload this nitrogen build up safely. Much the same way as soda fizzes when you open a can and release the pressure if you reduce pressure on your tissues too quickly the nitrogen will release into the bloodstream in the form of bubbles. It’s the nitrogen bubbles getting stuck that cause the signs and symptoms associated with decompression sickness.
When Was The Bends First Discovered
Decompression sickness was first observed in miners returning to the surface as far back as the 1800s. These observations initialized what today we refer to as decompression theory. Fast forward a hundred years, and the first tables were created to predict and therefore avoid decompression sickness for military divers.
As recreational diving developed from military diving, these were the only tables available for use. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that a recreational dive planner became available for the average person diving for pleasure.
Can DCS Be Predicted?
Today there are a few variations on algorithms. However, all of these are only frameworks that offer guidelines that work most of the time. They are just a mathematical extrapolation of a theory. They do not track anything physical in your body which is why conservatism is always emphasized when dive planning.
It is impossible to determine how many divers who follow established dive planning protocols and observe all contributing factors still get the bends. Regardless, even including those that have somehow flouted the rules, the incidence of decompression sickness is still quite low.
Most divers never experience it, even scuba diving instructors that make 600 dives a year safely stay the right side of a decompression chamber door.
While decompression sickness is a risk, it is a very low risk as long as you follow the rules.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of DCS?
Because the severity of decompression sickness is linked to nitrogen load as well as the cause and speed of unsafe off-gassing, symptoms will vary. Blotchy skin rash and itching, numbness, tingling, joint pain, swelling, dull ache, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, staggering, a tendency to favor one side of the body, paralysis, unconsciousness, and death can all be attributed to decompression sickness.
Symptoms occur from ten to fifteen minutes after surfacing and anywhere up to 12 hours later.
No matter what the symptoms are or how minor they seem a diver should always stop diving and seek medical assistance.
What To Do If You Think You Have The Bends?
The first response is to breathe 100% oxygen and while doing so get to a medical facility with a recompression chamber.
What Is The Treatment For Decompression Sickness?
Divers suspected of decompression sickness should be administered 100% oxygen as soon as possible. Oxygen helps the body eliminate the excess nitrogen. Medical personnel at the recompression chamber will then be able to determine the next course of action. For milder cases where oxygen was administered straight away, it’s possible that no further treatment will be required.
If further treatment is required the diver will need to be recompressed. The chamber essentially puts the diver under pressure as if they were going back to depth. Increasing the pressure allows the body to re-absorb the nitrogen bubbles and gives their body another chance to safely off-gas the nitrogen while the pressure is slowly reduced.
The patient is given 100% oxygen during their pressurization to further assist in getting rid of the nitrogen. The severity of the case will determine how many re-pressurizations the patient needs.
It should be noted that the speed of response to an incident of decompression sickness is critical not only to the success of treatment but also the length of the treatment. If you suspect decompression sickness, administer oxygen straight away, there is no harm in doing so.
It’s far better to arrive at a recompression chamber, breathing oxygen and subsequently be cleared of any diagnosis than wander along 6 hours later, ‘when you are sure.’ Decompression sickness, when treated promptly, rarely has any residual effects.
Divers suspected of decompression sickness should be administered 100% oxygen as soon as possible. Oxygen helps the body eliminate the excess nitrogen.
How much does it cost to treat decompression sickness?
The cost of treatment is difficult to determine because it does depend on where you are in the world, how the chamber is run, who operates it and how you get to the facility. If you need a helicopter ride, then you could be into thousands before you arrive at the chamber. A single treatment can cost around $5000 and you might need more than one.
How Can You Prevent DCS? How Do You Avoid Getting The Bends?
Be Conservative And Dive Within Your Limits!
When you learn to dive you are taught to plan a dive within no decompression limits using a mathematical table. A no decompression dive is a dive on which you can ascend straight to the surface without having to make decompression stops to allow excess nitrogen to be released.
Most people then purchase a dive computer which is a device that calculates your no-decompression limit for you based on your depth and time underwater. Regardless of the method used it is essential to remain conservative and never dive to the limit; dive tables and dive computers are just an extrapolation of an algorithm, and neither can track anything physical in the divers body.
A decompression stop and a safety stop are two different things. A safety stop is a pause added in for conservatism by divers making a no-decompression dive. This stop usually takes place at 5m and lasts for 3 minutes. The theory is that it allows that little extra time for excess nitrogen to be released.
The dive table will tell you to make a safety stop when you have made a dive that has resulted in a high nitrogen load, when you have dived to 30m or deeper, or when other factors of increased risk exist. Practically divers do them on every dive but know that they can be omitted in the case of an emergency.
Why at 5m? At the surface, the surrounding pressure is 1 bar, by 10m the pressure has doubled to 2 bar. The pressure doesn’t double again until 30m which means that the greatest pressure increase and decrease happens between 10m and the surface. It makes sense to pause halfway through this zone to allow a little more off-gassing.
The faster you ascend, the quicker the surrounding water pressure decreases. Ascend too quickly, and your body may struggle to eliminate nitrogen safely. Some scuba diving agencies recommend a speed of 18m per minute but most now recommend 9m per minute, and this is most likely what your dive computer will be set for.
A sawtooth profile is where a diver descends, ascends, descends, and ascends again in a jagged fashion. There’s no research to back this up, but it’s generally agreed that diving like this would be tempting fate. It feels counterintuitive, and a smooth profile of one descent and one ascent has to cause less physical disruption.
The most significant contributing factor in cases of decompression sickness is dehydration. Being dehydrated means that your blood is thick which causes your circulation system to be sluggish. A sluggish circulatory system will not efficiently get rid of nitrogen.
A few factors exacerbate the incidence of dehydrated divers. Firstly divers on holiday tend to visit countries hotter than their own which means they are not accustomed to the amount of water they need to drink in the new climate. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate further; water is what you need.
Further, the air in a divers tank is dry which means the body needs to moisten it; this uses the body’s resources. Finally, the pressure change associated with diving fools your body into believing there is too much fluid which causes the diver to urinate, reducing hydro reserves further.
Circulatory System Changes
Your body unloads nitrogen via its circulatory system so anything that interferes with how this functions can have an impact on your body’s ability to off-gas. This is why divers who are working hard underwater or those diving in very cold water should be extra conservative with their dive plan. Similarly, post-dive vigorous exercise is discouraged as is post dive alcoholic beverages.
Smoking changes your blood pressure and pulse, but it also introduces carbon monoxide which your blood will bond with more readily than oxygen, and this disrupts gas exchange. To offset this preference for carbon monoxide, smokers have more red blood cells which means their blood is thicker and therefore flows slower and not as effectively to the peripheries. Smoking also constricts blood vessels which again slows down the circulatory system.
You don’t have to be super fit to scuba dive but you should keep an average level of fitness, be well rested and observe a healthy diet. This lifestyle not only ensures that you keep your circulation system running smoothly but that you can comfortably make a surface swim in full gear.
Being out of breath and having little stamina will not just affect your body’s response to nitrogen loading and efficient off-gassing but it will directly affect your ability to cope in an emergency situation.
Fat more readily absorbs nitrogen than other tissues, and someone who is overweight has a higher proportion of fat. Apart from increased absorption, the problem associated with bubble formation in fatty tissue is that there is no associated joint pain. This means that bubbles can enter the bloodstream and be carried to the heart and lungs undetected which can cause severe forms of decompression sickness.
If you feel unwell or are sick, the general recommendation is not to dive until you are better.
You will hear it said that divers should not get a massage post dive as this can cause decompression sickness. The theory being that massage could dislodge micro-bubbles which could join to form larger bubbles which can become problematic.
In reality, this is highly unlikely; the diver would need to have undertaken multiple dives to a high nitrogen loading or made decompression dives and then gone straight into a very intense deep tissue massage. The more significant risk here is associated with the diver becoming immediately sedentary and laying down with a high nitrogen load which would impede circulation. (Sunbathers and post dive snoozers take note!)
Flying or ascending to altitude after diving can cause decompression sickness because in both instances the surrounding pressure is reducing and any remaining nitrogen will come out of solution. The general rule is to wait 24 hours after surfacing before ascending to altitude.
How Can You Prepare For An Incident Of Decompression Sickness?
The correct response to an incident is vital; having a clear plan in place will expedite treatment and having the right insurance will mean there are no holdups in the chain of treatment.
When diving with an operator, understand their emergency assistance protocols. When diving from a boat or shore, there should be emergency oxygen available.
- Do you know where it is?
- Do you know how to use it?
- Are you certified to administer it?
- How will you alert emergency response?
- Is it the ship’s radio or is it by mobile phone and what is the number?
Having all the required information at your fingertips will make for an efficient response. If you are diving independently of an operator, you need to consider a plan for yourself which includes buying an emergency oxygen kit.
Diving insurance specifically covers you for recompression treatment and the costs involved in getting you to that facility. The closest facility may not be very close at all and transfer could include a helicopter journey or speedboat response.
You will find that some holiday insurance policies include diving too but they might restrict you by depth and activity so check the small print. It is possible that your dive operator provides insurance or allows you to buy cover for the chamber local to them. If you dive at home and regularly, holiday insurances don’t cover you, so you are better off seeking out annual coverage just for diving.
Look at the D.A.N. (Divers Alert Network) site for your country of residence or Dive Master Insurance. Dive Master Insurance even offers single day insurance which is excellent for those who just dive now and again. What you choose will depend on the location and circumstances in which you are diving as well as how often you dive.
For what you pay to dive, the cost of insurance is negligible, and even though the incidence is low, its just not worth the risk, you should not be diving without it.
Can You Be Predisposed To DCS?
There is a common heart condition that can make you more susceptible to decompression sickness. A PFO (patent foramen ovale) is the hole in the heart between the left and right chambers which in 75% of cases closes after birth. If the hole hasn’t closed your blood loaded with nitrogen could miss your lungs and go straight back into the arterial system.
If this happens your body just lost the chance to offload the gas which has a knock on effect as it circulates again, still loaded, and unable to carry the next load of nitrogen. Unfortunately, the way most people find out they have a PFO is by getting the bends. The good news is that there is an operation available to seal the hole.
Can You Get Decompression Sickness If You Dive Using Nitrox?
Nitrox is air that has been enriched with oxygen. The most common blend increases the oxygen content from 21% in air to 32%.
Nitrox blends reduce the diver’s exposure to nitrogen and therefore mean that the diver can dive for longer. However, the diver is still loading nitrogen and has no less risk than a diver breathing air.
What Is A Decompression Dive?
A decompression dive is a dive that requires the diver to stop on the way to the surface to let excess nitrogen escape. They will have a plan to follow which may include several stops on the way to the surface. More commonly the diver will breathe a nitrox blend as they get closer to the surface.
The increased oxygen helps their body to get rid of the nitrogen faster. Often their last stop is made breathing 100% oxygen at 6m depth, and they will continue breathing this until they are out of the water.
For divers who plan to dive to a depth where nitrogen narcosis would impair them, tri-mix is often breathed instead. This gas is a blend of oxygen, nitrogen, and helium. The helium replaces some of the nitrogen so that the diver’s mind is clearer however as helium is a lighter gas it is less forgiving when off-gassing. A diver using trimix benefits from a clearer mind but has no less decompression risk.
What Is Nitrogen Narcosis?
The other side effect of nitrogen absorption is narcosis which is a drunk-like state. While this is not harmful in itself, the euphoria can cause a disregard for safety. Ascend, and symptoms will subside.
What Is A Saturation Diver?
Saturation divers are paid to work underwater. Rather than decompress after each dive, they spend their whole time under pressure. So as an example, they might work under pressure for two weeks during which time they would live in a pressurized habitat. At the end of their two weeks, they would depressurize. Working and living like this means that they only put their bodies through decompression once.
Why Don’t Sea Creatures Such As Dolphins Get Decompression Sickness?
Humans and fish are entirely different and whereas fish do not suffer from decompression sickness they can die by being brought to the surface too quickly. They have something called a swim bladder which allows them to regulate their buoyancy in the water. Pull them up quickly and it will expand which can cause their stomach to come out of their mouths and their eyes to pop.
Ocean-going mammals, even though they are air breathers, still function a little differently from humans. Dolphin’s lungs, for example, are capable of holding more oxygen than humans but they can also process more gas.
A human can exchange 15 liters per second whereas a dolphin can exchange 130 liters. Also remember that a dolphin is not breathing compressed air from a tank but rather, breath holding, like a free diver.
Can You Get Decompression Sickness When Freediving?
Technically, yes. Very advanced freedivers making long and deep dives could load enough nitrogen to become symptomatic. Historically, pearl and sponge divers free dived for their booty, and again, after constant exposure, some showed signs of decompression sickness.
However, these are extremes and making a few surface dives while snorkeling is unlikely to cause a problem. The only caveat to this is if you have been scuba diving and had a nitrogen load in your body. Rapid decent and ascent, in this case, would not be advised as it would interrupt your body’s off-gassing and potentially cause microbubbles to join.
What Are Silent Bubbles?
Silent bubbles or micro-bubbles are tiny bubbles of nitrogen that exist in everyone post dive. On their own, they do not cause a problem.
What Is The Difference Between DCS And DCI?
Decompression illness is a term which covers both decompression sickness and lung over-expansion injuries. The name was brought into use to help divers offering first aid to injured divers. Emergency oxygen should be administered in both cases, and at the first response stage of an emergency, it is not necessary to diagnose which problem the diver has.
What Is A Lung Over-Expansion Injury?
A diver breathes air at a pressure that is equivalent to that surrounding them. As long as a diver does not hold their breath, breathing pressurized air is not a problem.
However, if a diver were to hold their breath and ascend or have a condition that would cause ineffective air exchange in the lungs or pockets of the lungs to stick together, then the air in their lungs would expand, and this can rupture the lungs and allow bubbles to enter the bloodstream. Air bubbles can block blood supply and cause a stroke or card
What to Do if You Think Your Dive Buddy Has The Bends
Decompression sickness, also known as DCS or “the bends,” is a medical condition all divers should be familiar with. DCS occurs when nitrogen absorbed into the blood at depth forms bubbles in body tissues and/or the blood stream.
Diving conservatively and ascending slowly are effective ways to reduce your risk of the bends. That said, it’s possible to make the same dive 99 times without issue, and on the 100th dive experience decompression sickness. Depth, dive time, water temperature, dehydration and physical fitness are just a few of the factors that play a role in a diver’s susceptibility to DCS.
How to Identify Decompression Sickness (DCS)
Signs and symptoms typically appear within 15 minutes to 12 hours after surfacing, but symptoms may occur up to 36 hours later. Only a medical professional can diagnose DCS, however, every diver should know the signs and symptoms of DCS so they can seek medical treatment right away when DCS is suspected.
The most common symptoms of DCS are:
– joint pain
– numbness or tingling in an extremity
– muscular weakness
– difficulty urinating or inability to urinate
Some divers may be reluctant to admit they have the bends, but delaying treatment can lead to permanent injury. By quickly accepting the situation, a diver may be able to avoid long term complications such as bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, muscular weakness, or permanent damage to the spinal cord.
If You’re Not Sure, Conduct a Simple Neurological Exam
If you suspect your dive buddy has DCS, contact emergency medical services right away. If you’re unsure, conduct a neurological exam. Even if you have no medical training or experience, this neuro exam and your documentation of the results can be of great value to medical personnel and may even save a life.
The exam begins by asking the diver a few simple questions such as: what is your name, how old are you, and what day/month/year is it? These questions may seem overly simple, but they may reveal a neurological issue in a diver who tells you, “I’m fine.”
You’ll also check on your dive buddy’s muscle strength and coordination by having them walk heel to toe along a straight line while looking straight ahead and lift and lower their legs while you provide resistance. View the complete neurological exam.
To be ready in an emergency, print out the exam and practice administering it to a healthy person. Stow the printout with your dive gear so you have it available even if there is no phone service or internet.
Be Prepared – Learn How to Administer Emergency Oxygen
In the event of suspected DCS, a diver should receive emergency oxygen as soon as possible. You can learn how to administer emergency oxygen in as little as one day, and the certification counts towards your PADI® Master Scuba Diver™ rating. Contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort about the PADI Emergency Oxygen Provider Specialty Course.
Thanks to our friends at Divers Alert Network® (DAN®) for developing the neurological exam and making it publically available. You can support DAN by becoming a member and purchasing dive accident insurance coverage.
It Happened to Me: Real Life Experiences with DCS
Decompression Illness, What is It and What’s the Treatment (DAN)
5 Factors That Increase Your Risk of the Bends (DAN)
Decompression And Freediving – What Are The Real Risks?
Decompression sickness was originally thought to only occur in scuba diving and working in high-pressure environments. However, research shows that breath-hold diving (freediving) also poses its own risks for developing decompression sickness (DCS), also referred to as being bent or getting the bends. We will take a look at what exactly DCS is, how it relates to freediving, how we can prevent this in our own dives, and what you should do if you feel that you or a fellow diver is experiencing signs and symptoms of DCS.
What is DCS?
DCS is caused by nitrogen bubbles forming in the tissues of the body when sudden decompression occurs. When you breathe in air (which consists of 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen), your body uses the oxygen but does nothing with the nitrogen, and some of both gases are dissolved in the fluid portions of your blood and tissues. This is not a problem when you are on land (in normal atmospheric pressure).
But when you descend underwater, the pressure increases, which means more nitrogen and oxygen dissolve in your blood. Oxygen is consumed by your tissues, but nitrogen remains. With a slow ascent, your body is relieved of pressure and the nitrogen is slowly released. If the ascent is rapid, nitrogen comes out of blood and tissues quickly, forming bubbles. These bubbles can block tiny blood vessels, which can lead to joint pain, ruptured blood vessels in the lungs, stroke, or heart attack.
How does DCS relate to freediving?
Freediver taking her final breath before a dive. Photo by Yahia Barakah.
Since scuba divers inhale pressurized air, they need to be especially aware of ascending slowly (allowing nitrogen to come out of their exhalations), spending only a certain amount of time at each depth (preventing the accumulation of too much nitrogen), and long surface intervals (to allow the excess nitrogen out of their body before accumulating more on the next dive).
Freedivers do not inhale pressurized air, but the final breath we take before a dive still contains nitrogen from the atmosphere, which will still pressurize at depth. Nitrogen accumulation still happens, just very little compared to scuba divers. So then why do people performing breath-hold dives, such as spearfishers, deep freediving athletes, and pearl divers in the Pacific area, still get DCS?
Short surface interval times
If you are diving to depths of 20m (65ft) and 30m (98ft), DCS is not likely to happen in one dive. This is due to nitrogen build-up being relatively low from a single dive. But pearl divers in the Pacific area and spearfishers may dive for hours on end, with numerous dives to these depths, and not take long enough surface interval times between dives. This means that nitrogen is slowly building up in the blood and not being fully released at the surface before the next dive. With enough repetitive dives like this, the possibility of too much nitrogen build-up in the body arises, resulting in the diver presenting signs and symptoms of DCS. This also applies to safety dives you perform.
Multiple deep dives
The deeper you go, the more nitrogen you will accumulate in your blood and tissues. Ascending too quickly from deep depths can also cause these bubbles to appear since the pressure is swiftly decreasingly. There is not many studies in this area of freediving and DCS, so there is no concrete way to tell what is too deep and how many dives you can actually perform at these depths; it is best to err on the side of caution, which is covered below.
Mixing freediving and scuba diving
Since you are breathing compressed air while scuba diving, more nitrogen is accumulated in your tissues. This is why you should not fly directly after scuba diving, in order to release excess nitrogen in your body. The same applies to freediving after scuba diving; since you will still be accumulating nitrogen in your body, it is not a good idea to freedive directly after or in between scuba dives and vice versa.
If two freedivers perform the exact same dives, to the same depth, with the same surface interval times, to the point of feeling symptoms of DCS, this does not mean that both of them will necessarily get DCS. This is due to the fact that there are many factors that may influence one’s susceptibility to get DCS, such as age, body composition, hydration, level of fatigue, temperature, and medications.
How can we prevent DCS?
Freedivers training on a line. Photo by Yahia Barakah.
Calculating surface interval times
This can be calculated by using the following formulas. Remember that this includes surface interval time for safety diving as well.
Dives up to 30m (98ft): Dive time x 2
Example: 20m (65ft) dive that takes 1 minute
1:00 x 2 = 2-minute surface interval
Dives up to 60m (196ft): Depth (in meters) / 5
Example: 50m (164ft) dive
50 / 5 = 10-minute surface interval
Limiting session duration
Keep dive sessions 2 hours or shorter, no matter the temperature of the water. If you are cold, end the session.
Limiting deep dives
Any dives deeper than 55m (180ft) should be limited to only dive per day. It is recommended to breathe 100% oxygen for at least 10 minutes at the surface after the dive to clear excess nitrogen from your system (do not dive again for the rest of the day after breathing 100% oxygen).
Ascending at a normal speed
Do not exceed a speed of 1m/s (3ft/s) on your ascent.
Not mixing freediving, scuba diving, and flying
Follow the no-fly times on your dive computer, or use the rule of thumb: no scuba diving after freediving for 12 hours, no freediving after scuba diving for 24 hours. Observe the same hours for getting on an airplane.
Before and during a training session, be well-rested and stress-free, avoid strenuous exercise, avoid diving while feeling ill, and avoid alcohol the day before diving.
Hydrating well before, during, and after a training session is important, as freediving is seriously dehydrating. Try to drink 1L of water before the session, drink throughout the session, and have 1L of water after the session.
Signs and Symptoms of DCS
- Joint and muscle pain
- Sensitive, painful, or itchy skin
- Tingling, numbness, or paralysis
- Coughing (or coughing up blood)
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Memory loss
- Loss of hearing or ringing in the ears
- Visual disturbances
- Unequal pupil size
- Slurred speech
- Shortness of breath
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Loss of consciousness
If you or your buddy feel like you are exhibiting any signs or symptoms of DCS within 48 hours after your return to the surface, exit the water, lie down (unless there is trouble breathing) and administer 100% pure oxygen, drink 1L of water per hour, and contact local emergency medical services.
90,000 Diving in Sochi and Adler. Where to go diving in the Black Sea?
A couple of decades ago, not everyone in our country knew who divers were and what they do. But recently the number of those who like to dive or go diving has grown exponentially. And to understand the love of diving into the underwater world is not difficult. But it must be remembered that diving is not just entertainment. Immersion in water with special equipment must be safe.And for this you need to acquire certain skills.
How is the diving instruction going?
Diving in Sochi is a special pleasure. There are no potential dangers or enemies for divers. Perhaps the biggest challenge you can face underwater is fishing nets. But this problem can be easily solved with one movement of the hand with a knife. What, then, is preparation necessary for?
Training is required to familiarize yourself with the equipment and how it works.The safety of the diver depends on it. While the classes may seem boring at first glance, immersion in water will add variety to the learning process. You will be scuba diving approximately every 15 minutes of theory. True, at first you will need to dive into the pool, and not into the sea.
How to choose a diving instructor in Sochi?
The first thing you need to know about an instructor is eligibility. It is confirmed by a diploma with a special sticker.This document must be renewed annually. If the instructor has such a right, then he will personally be responsible for the preparation of his students. In addition to the diploma, the instructor has a document (Log), which contains descriptions of all his dives. Such a log, in which the instructor’s training dives are recorded and the successful results of the exams passed by him, are needed to obtain a certificate.
Why is it best to learn diving in Sochi?
The Sochi water area has a large length and many rivers – the conditions are most favorable for diving.Especially spectacular are the mouths of the Chemitokvadzhe and Psezuapse rivers. Their silent beauty with algae floating as if in the air and age-old reefs amazes with their spectacle. Here you have the opportunity to watch crabs, jellyfish, dolphins and tickle the belly of harmless katrans – Black Sea sharks. The Sochi water area is interesting for both professional divers and novice divers. Touch the wonderful underwater world and get an unforgettable experience.
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Lada Vesta sedan Classic 1.6 106hp 5MT Diving bright blue metallic 1.596L petrol 106hp mechanics front-wheel drive from 9,721 rubles / month on lease for legal entities
Engine design, number of cylinders
Maximum torque, Nm
Exhaust gas toxicity standard
Acceleration 0-100 km / h, s
Maximum speed, km / h
Fuel consumption in the urban cycle, l / 100km
Fuel consumption in the extra-urban cycle, l / 100km
Fuel consumption in the combined cycle, l / 100km
Fuel tank volume, l
Curb weight, kg
Loading capacity, kg
Permitted mass of the towed trailer with brakes, kg
Permitted mass of the towed trailer without brakes, kg
Ground clearance, mm
Trunk volume, l
Cargo compartment volume, m3
Year of the beginning of production of model
Number of doors
Tires 185/65 R15
Decorative wheel caps
Spare full size steel wheel 15 ”
Number of seats
Front panel color
Steering wheel trim
ABS Anti-lock braking system
ESP Electronic Stability Control
Body roll control system
Active head restraints
EBA emergency braking system
EBD Brake force distribution system
TRC Traction Control
HAC Hill Climbing Assist
HDC Downhill assist system
DBC Steep slope descent system
EDS Electronic differential lock
ADB-X Electronic simulation of differential lock
Locking center differential
Rear differential lock
Locking front differential
LA Lane Keeping Assist
Off-road assistance system
Driver behavior monitoring
Control system “dead zones”
NV Night vision system with pedestrian recognition
Collision warning system
Automatic light range control
Tire pressure sensors
Automatic parking brake
Mounts for child seats
Rear seat headrests 2 pieces
Child lock rear doors
Automatic door locking at the start of movement
Automatic activation of the alarm during emergency braking
Automatic door unlocking and collision alarm
Height adjustment of front seat belts
Suspension for bad roads
Heated washer nozzles
Heated steering wheel
Electric glass drive
Steering wheel adjustment
Multifunctional steering wheel
Air conditioning system
without air conditioning
Ventilation of seats
Remote trunk opening
Folding rear seat
Start without turning the key
Automatic parking system
Emergency Alert System ERA-GLONASS
Gear shift advisor in the instrument cluster
Cabin air filter
Exterior mirrors with side direction indicators
Warranty for the main components and assemblies
3 years / 100.000 km
90,000 Hookah – Air from the Surface for Divers
One of my favorite documentaries on human interaction with the ocean is Human Planet from the BBC. I strongly advise everyone to take a look. We often show it in the evenings at our freediving camps and trips. The most impressive moment of the film for me is the story of Palawan fishermen in Palawan, who fish with nets, breathing underwater through ordinary garden hoses, which are supplied from the compressor on the ship.Here on Youtube there is a part of this plot. Young guys put hoses from which they blow air directly into their mouths without any regulators. Hoses poison and get confused with each other. The compressor is antediluvian. Due to the great depths, rapid ascent and long stay under water, many develop decompression sickness. Complete hell!
And just recently I learned that this activity even has a name – huka diving. Professional equipment is produced for it, which is used in some places for the entertainment of tourists and recreational diving.By analogy with SCUBA (scuba diving), this is called SNUBA and there is even an organization called Snuba International. Below is a translation of the article on hook diving with Deeperblue.
Hookah ( from Eng. Hookah – hookah ) or surface air supply system for diving, both for recreation and entertainment, has become very popular in many places around the world. Resorts sell this as a mixture of scuba diving and diving without the need for certification. While different equipment suppliers may add their own name to this activity, the term hook-diving is generally used.In fact, the hook system provides a person under water with air, the source of which is on the surface. An air hose from the air source to the regulator connects the person to the system. There are various variations in existing systems.
The biggest difference is whether the systems are dynamic or static. The dynamic system uses an air compressor to provide the right air at the right pressure. These systems often have a small storage reservoir to ensure constant pressure.As air is removed from the reservoir, a new compressor is pumped in to maintain pressure. Compressors can be free floating or fixed. They can also be petrol or electric. The static system uses a compressed air cylinder as an air source for divers. In many static systems, scuba gear is used for this.
Systems can be fixed or floating. Fixed systems can be placed on the dock, but are more commonly installed on the boat.Many yachts that use high pressure air for various systems have hose outlets. Hookah diving has proven to be very handy for inspecting boat hulls, cleaning propellers and other routine maintenance work. In a floating system, the air source has a float so divers can pull it with them. An article published last year on The SUSiE Chronicles: Hookah Diving for Science provides some insight into the benefits of using a hook system for shallow water exploration.
How the hook system works
Simply put, a hose connects an air source and a regulator that supplies the diver with air. Some systems have one air hose, often called a downline ( down – line ), from the air source to the regulator for each diver. Other systems have one downline to which an air hose and regulator are connected for each diver. This system gives each diver a little more freedom and reduces the risk of downline tangling.
The diver uses a standard mask and fins. Hookah divers do not wear a buoyancy compensator (BCD); instead, they wear a strap. The main purpose of the strap is to provide an anchorage point for the downline. If the downline gets caught on something, it will pull on the belt, not on the regulator, which could fall out of the mouth. The diver will also wear a weight belt. The most common design includes removable weight pockets. Divers are loaded to maintain neutral buoyancy.Since they do not have an air cylinder that changes their buoyancy when they stay underwater longer, their buoyancy does not change during the dive.
Typically the diver uses a standard two-stage regulator for breathing. There are systems designed for 1-4 divers.
Typical Resort Hookah Diving
In many ways, Hookah diving at the resort is very similar to scuba diving. Participants start with a short lesson in which they are explained what to expect, safety requirements and several skills such as mask cleaning.Then, with an instructor, they dive to a depth of about 6 meters / 20 feet. In some places, rules and regulations require the guide to be licensed and use scuba gear. Since the divers are tied to the float, the risk of the participant getting lost or going deep is much less.
Personal hook systems
Hookah Systems offer tremendous flexibility outside of the resort area for diving. The most common configurations allow a maximum of 4 divers to descend 18 meters / 60 feet.Equivalent to novice scuba divers (Open Water Diver). Some systems may allow two divers to descend to 30 meters / 100 feet (advanced diving depth). The initial cost of the hook system for a single diver is about the same as the initial SCUBA diver kit. However, the hook system for two or even four divers is marginally larger. This makes them less expensive than multiple kits. Operating costs are also low, on a gallon of gas, most compressors can run for five hours on air for four divers.
Dangers of the hook system
Hookah diving and scuba diving use compressed air. The risks of using compressed air at depth remain the same no matter where the source is. Operators at resorts are quick to point out how safe they are. Hook system manufacturers claim that this is a relatively risk-free activity, and most statistics confirm this. However, keep in mind that most of the diving is done at depths of less than 12 meters and almost all diving offered at the resorts takes place at depths of less than 9 meters.At this depth, decompression sickness is rare for both hook diving and scuba diving. There are still some big security concerns.
The first and, perhaps, the main problem is training. Divers must be certified diving. Of course, there are many divers who have not received certification, but they are a minority. Major manufacturers and distributors of hook systems recommend training and some even have online training programs. Some scuba certification agencies have water training for hook divers.However, there is no compulsory vocational training.
Here are some interesting statistics from Tasmania. A recent report showed that the number of decompression sickness visits was roughly equal for scuba divers and hook divers. Despite the fact that, according to estimates, scuba divers have fifteen times more such cases. After the survey, it turned out that more than 90% of hook divers did not know anything about the risks of deep diving and did not know what decompression sickness was. None of the 90% received any training.It should be remembered that the amount of air that the hook diver receives at depth is controlled by the compressor fuel. Thus, dives for 2-3 hours are possible. Hookah divers who follow the same procedures as scuba divers who plan to dive and have a dive computer can reduce the risk of decompression sickness.
The second major concern is equipment suitability. The concept of the hook system is very simple, not much different from what it was in the 1700s.Of course, improvements have been made to the compressors, and the regulators, which are also used in scuba diving, help. However, there are many people making them on their own. They assemble systems that have fatal flaws. You can also find people on the internet making their own systems and selling them. They are not always safe. Some use a poor quality hose to supply air, while others do not protect against carbon monoxide entering the air intakes.
The Australian Diver Accreditation System (ADAS) is the government agency that administers commercial diving in this country. Here’s what they have to say on the topic:
“Some divers may use the Hookah system, a primitive apparatus for supplying air from the surface. Hookah diving is heavily represented in diving mortality statistics, both at recreational and professional levels, with carbon monoxide poisoning from suction being the main cause. exhaust gas into the air intakes of a compressor left unattended on the surface. “
Scuba diving gives you more freedom underwater as you are not tied to the float. But for some divers, this limitation is not a problem, so the hook system may be their choice. If you do decide to try this system, just remember that moving the air position does not eliminate the risk. Some Hookah dealers recommend that those using deep dive configurations use a dive computer and a strap with a small gas cylinder.
90,000 Reasons to go diving in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is the world’s epicenter of marine diversity.
75% coral species, over 1,500 coral fish species and a chance of encountering 388 different species in one dive! Looking at these numbers, it is easy to guess that Raja Ampat is undoubtedly a place with the most diverse underwater life.
Dr. Mark Erdman of the International Society for Conservation of Nature and Dr. Garry Allen recorded their observations of various species even when the archipelago was known only to a handful of researchers and documentary filmmakers.After new calculations made in 2018, the number of species of individuals living in coral reefs found here by these scientists exceeded 1,500 and now there are 1,577 of them, including 8 completely new ones. Thus, if you are looking for variety in 2019, Raja Ampat is the place for you.
These same scientists broke another record, counting 388 different species encountered in one dive! The previous record holder was Cape Kri, where Allen recorded 374 species on a single dive over a decade ago.Cape Kri is an incredibly interesting dive site and must be visited if you are heading here on a diving trip. This can be done, for example, during a safari on the Coralia yacht on the “Triton Bay trip”.
One of the few places to see the Bird of Paradise
In addition to the 35 marine species that are endemic to Raja Ampat, there are also land animals that live exclusively on these islands. If you are thinking about what to do here for someone who does not dive, believe me, rainbow birds will captivate you.According to the International Program for the Protection of Indonesian Flora and Fauna, two species of Bird of Paradise, the Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) and the Blue-headed magnificent bird of paradise (Respublica diphyllodes), live exclusively here.
In addition to the Birds of Paradise, there are many other tropical birds, ranging from colorful cockatoos, hornbills and nectarine birds to wild eagles and seabirds. Raja Ampat is a real paradise for amateur and professional bird watchers!
The cultural diversity of East Papua will amaze you
The richness and diversity of Indonesian culture in Raja Ampat will amaze you.The culture of Papua is unique and you can tell the difference between even small islands located close to each other. One indicator of these differences is language. Despite the fact that the population of the archipelago is so small, more than 10 languages and dialects are spoken in Raja Ampat. The islands were so isolated that even the smallest populations developed their own languages. You can visit villages, mingle with a local and learn traditional dance as you travel through the archipelago.
When to go?
Raja Ampat has a lot to offer divers, snorkelers and birdwatchers all year round.However, unlike many other places, the seasonal changes in Raja Ampat depend on the movement of plankton and winds, not the weather.
The temperature of the water and air here is stable throughout the year, which opens up incredible opportunities for planning your trip. The water temperature throughout the year is around 28-29C, and the air warms up to 30C during the day, and cools down to 24C in the evening.
Two seasons are separated here, again based on the direction of the wind rather than on the rains.Like many other tropical places, Raja Ampat is subject to rain all year round, and often the sun and tropical downpour have time to replace each other within one day.
The Northwest Monsoon begins around October and ends in May. The influx of nutrients from deep within this season triggers the plankton bloom. As a result, all plankton lovers, mantas and whales, for example, come here.
Since the waters are rich in nutrients, many animals begin their mating season. However, in contrast to the raging sea life, poor visibility can make life a little difficult for underwater photographers.
Historically, from November to January there is the highest humidity here.
Southeast trade winds
Southeast trade winds begin in June and end in September. These winds bring waves with them. During this period, there is much less plankton, which means excellent visibility.The crystal-clear water delights divers and snorkelers, compensating for more rare encounters with manta rays and whales. As Raja Ampat boasts incredible reef life, as previously mentioned, this is the perfect time for underwater photographers. Well, Dampier Strait is protected from waves and bad weather.
In conclusion, I would like to say that Raja Ampat is available for wonderful diving and not only, throughout the year. An incredible variety of animals, amazing species and unique culture await you in this fabulous archipelago.
90,000 14 diving safaris in Australia – LiveAboard.com
The most attractive, of course, is the BBR, however diving and certainly diving safaris in Australia are not limited to this corner of the country. Many divers flock to Western Australia, where the diving opportunities are also nearly endless. Here, diving safaris offer the opportunity to dive into the lesser-known and more distant Mermaid and Clerk Reefs at Rowley Reefs and provide access to some of the most pristine and exciting marine parks in the country.
Diving safari in Australia
LiveAboard.com offers a wide variety of dive yachts in Australia, from modern diving yachts to elegant, fast catamarans. Each vessel is unique, ranging in length from 24 to 37 meters, and can accommodate 20 to 48 passengers. All are equipped with air conditioning and electricity, and some even have internet access, please inquire before booking.
Itineraries range from 3 day / 2 night tours of the Outer Great Barrier Reef to all-inclusive 8 days / 7 nights tours that take you to much of what Queensland has to offer.Some tours even include a scenic return flight, which will allow you to see the entire route traveled from the air.
Tours start early in the morning on the first day and most tour operators offer free pick-up from your hotel. For maximum safety and comfort, the first dive is usually a check-dive, which allows the crew to define the group and individual dive levels and thus tailor the trip to suit everyone’s needs.Don’t worry, even this first dive will be on a beautiful unspoiled reef to get a feel for what awaits you in the next few days! A diving safari in Australia will introduce you to a biodiversity not found closer to shore: the potato grouper families, gray and silver narrow-toothed sharks, hammerhead sharks, manta rays, humpback whales and Maiori wrasses, as well as an amazing array of hard and soft corals. Depending on the diving safari you choose, you will have the opportunity to observe minke whales!
Every effort is made to cater to individual needs and often routes can be adapted to include additional dive sites.However, the crew members always adhere to strict safety standards, so each trip will depend on the weather conditions and the experience of the divers.
Best Diving Spots in Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system and the largest living organism in the world, stretching 2,300 kilometers along the coast of Queensland. It consists of more than 2,900 reefs and 900 islands, such as amazing dive sites such as Osprey Reef, Ribbon Reef, Millne Reef, Flynn Reef, Code Hole, Lizard Island, Bougainville Reef, North Horn, and SS Yongala Wreck …Most of these sites are only accessible from diving yachts departing from the Port of Cairns.
Osprey Reef is located in the BBR Coral Sea area and can be reached by diving yachts from the port of Cairns. Known for its 40+ meter visibility, the reef includes many small caves and passages, and the sighting of several shark species in North Horn is almost guaranteed.
Ribbon Reef is located north of Cairns and is actually a 175 km line of 10 different reefs, which are quite isolated so that only a few dive yachts can get there.These reefs offer secluded warm waters and, due to their remoteness, are in pristine condition.
Mill Reef is located 60 kilometers from Cairns and contains three huge coral pillars known as the “three sisters”. This is a great spot for snorkeling and diving. Wherever possible, the crew will arrange night dives for you, where you are most likely to see sleeping turtles and crabs.
Reef Flynn offers diving for all levels of divers.It is known for its coral garden, one of the finest in Australia, with a stunning array of hard and soft corals.
Hole Code allows you to get close to the huge but friendly and meek potato groupers who have a habit of posing for the camera! Notable marjoram wrasses and moray eels are also found here. This dive site is located in the very north of the Ribbon Reef and is often part of the Reef Ribbon diving safari.
Lizard Island is an island in an unspoiled national park and the northernmost resort of the BBR.Often our dive safaris include a scenic flight over the reefs either starting from Cairns or back to Cairns from Lizard Island.
Diving in Western Australia is perhaps as spectacular as the East Coast and may be of interest to those divers who are attracted to the less visited area of the planet. To reach the truly pristine reefs of Mermaid and Clerk Rowley Reefs, diving safaris depart from Broome in the northwestern state.
Rowley Reef , located 250 kilometers west of the city of Broome, consists of 3 coral shelf atolls and attracts divers from everywhere with its uniqueness.Along with their delightful coral gardens, there are over 650 species of fish, many of which do not live in coastal areas, so the luxury of seeing them is only available when diving from a yacht.
When To Go
Water temperatures ranging from 24 ° C in winter (July / August) to 30 ° C in summer (December / January) make BBR a great place for diving all year round. Minke and humpback whales can be seen between June and November, while the summer months offer better visibility and higher water temperatures to take advantage of the diversity of reef life.
The best time to visit Rowley Reefs is from September to December. And since the only way to explore these pristine reefs is on a diving safari, we recommend booking in advance.
Useful Information for Travelers
- The native language of Australia is English, however a significant number of tour operators have crew members who speak many common languages.
- The Australian dollar is the national currency, is widely accepted by most major international credit cards, and ATMs are readily available (but not on board!).
- The electrical sockets have three flat plugs, voltage – 230 volts (50 Hz) – make sure you get the correct adapter!
- Equipment rental is available on most safari yachts, but you need to bring your diving certificate and dive logbook as part of your safety protocol.
How to get there and ports of departure
Most BBR and Coral Sea diving safaris depart from and return to Cairns.Cairns has an international airport that is served by most airlines offering direct flights to a huge number of international destinations. In case you cannot fly directly to Cairns, there are regular daily domestic flights from major cities such as Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
Broome is the main port on the west coast for diving cruises to Rowley Reef. Due to its remoteness, direct international flights are not frequent here. There is an international airport, but most likely you will arrive in the state capital, Perth, from where you can easily transfer to a connecting flight to Broome.
Both Cairns and Broome are destinations in their own right with world-class hotels and resorts. From Cairns, it is easy to reach the Daintree Rainforest and the Falls in the Atherton Plains (this is where Peter André filmed the famous Mystery Girl movie!).
Broome is located on the outskirts of the world famous Kimberley County, one of the most remote and impressive regions in the world.
Good to know
Diving safaris in Australia cater to any type of travel from budget to luxury.On average, prices range from $ 150 to $ 300 per day. Please check with the tour operator of your choice for possible additional costs, as some areas of Australia have national park and reef taxes, port dues, gasoline and environmental taxes.
Most foreign tourists require a passport valid for 6 months and a valid visa to travel to Australia. Please visit https://www.border.gov.au to find out how to obtain a proper visa.
A suitable travel insurance must be purchased before traveling.
90,000 Artificial reef in Cyprus: 10 dive sites on the island
In order to attract more tourists to Cyprus from among amateur and professional divers, it is planned to establish a network of dive centers on the island. On the basis of these centers, diving enthusiasts could hone their skills. One of these places is the Big Turtle diving center.
The most attractive underwater structures in Cyprus are artificial reefs . Most of them are created by human hands. These man-made objects provide shelter for marine life and are excellent diving sites. Fishing for marine life is prohibited near artificial reefs.
Zenobia is the most popular artificial reef in Cyprus
Zenobia is an ideal diving wreck located near the city of Larnaca.Perches, barracudas, moray eels, stingrays, sea turtles and octopuses are found here. The reef is located at a depth of 17 to 43 m. The Zenobia Ferry, a popular dive site for divers around the world, is one of the ten most popular wrecks in the world.
Atlantis Reef, crafted from clay amphorae and pots, is ideal for beginners. Located at a depth of about 15 meters in the harbor of Larnaca, it allows you to easily observe the life of fish and octopuses, which liked the pottery “apartments”.
What other artificial reefs are there in Cyprus
The Laboe was built in 1940 in Germany. The cruise ship was brought to Cyprus in 2006 and was sunk off Geroskipou (Paphos) in 2014 as an artificial reef. The vessel is located 2 km offshore at a depth of 27 meters. Self-diving without proper permits or without an instructor’s assistance is strictly prohibited. Most of the artificial reefs in Cyprus require special qualifications for open water diving (AOW).
The Pyramids Artificial Reef was created in the Amathus Marine Reserve (Limassol). According to the Cyprus Divers’ Association, this reef was chosen by octopuses. It is a construction of large hollow blocks at a depth of about 18 m.Also in June 2018, a reef appeared in the waters of Limassol, entirely consisting of earthenware. The project was funded by 75% of the EU, and students from several local schools took part in the laying of the reef.
Trawler “Costandis” – a former Soviet fishing vessel.In 1997, the vessel was registered in the State Register of Shipping of Cyprus and entered into short-term service. On February 22, 2014, in the Dasoudi area (Limassol), the trawler was sunk near the Crowne Plaza hotel to a depth of 23 meters. This event was made possible with the support of the European Fisheries Fund in cooperation with the municipalities of Agios Athanasios and Yermasoyia.
Passenger ship “Lady Thetis” – was built in Hamburg (Germany) in 1953.This vessel was sunk to a depth of 18 meters at the same time, with the nearby trawler Kostandis. Inhabitants of this artificial reef: grouper, bream, swallow fish, parrot fish. There are very few marine life in the Dasoudi area (Limassol). And the construction of artificial shelters creates conditions for an increase in the number of representatives of the marine fauna.
The Amathuntas Artificial Reef is the first and largest reef created on the island. It appeared in 2009.The dive site is built of concrete blocks and includes four pyramids forming a square. About 100 more concrete blocks are located nearby. The difference in depth on the reef is from 18 to 35 meters. Now it is one of the most inhabited reefs in the waters of Cyprus. It is inhabited by sea bass, moray eels, bream, as well as octopuses. If you’re lucky, you might see a green sea turtle.
Refrigerator “Liberty” – originally from Russia, was flooded off the coast of Paralimni in 2009.A 226-ton cargo ship, which was delivered from the port of Limassol, lies on a sandy bottom. The 37-meter ship was once on fire. Now it is gradually overgrown with corals and attracts small marine animals. The length of the wreck is 26 meters, the maximum depth is 27 meters. A cross was erected next to the wreck by the Russian traveler Fyodor Konyukhov.
Kyrenia is an old Greek naval ship located at a depth of about 20 meters. A variety of marine life can be seen here, including moray eels and sea bass.The warship was donated to the Cyprus Ministry of Defense. It was sunk off the coast of Ayia Napa on 28 February 2015 to create an artificial reef. The maximum depth is 20 meters. Diving is possible with air and nitrox mixtures.
Nemesis III is a fishing vessel named after the goddess of retribution. It was built in France in 1956 and ended up in Cyprus in 1987. On December 20, 2013, the ship was delivered to the shores of Protaras and sunk to a depth of 24 meters.This reef is considered ideal for the AOW qualification. Moray eels, perches, groupers, cranks and other fish immediately took a fancy to the French ship and actively populate it.
Green Bay is a great place for beginner divers. The maximum depth is 11 meters. If you are staying in Ayia Napa or Protaras, there is no better place to swim around the antique statues. Flocks of small fish flash nearby. Now you can saddle a stone horse or take a picture with Aphrodite, Apollo and other statues of the ancient Greek gods.The dive takes place on the beach, so snorkelling is also fun in Green Bay.
Limassol Underwater Attractions
The Limassol authorities pay special attention to the creation of artificial reefs. It is no secret that there are very few marine life in this area. The creation of artificial shelters entails an increase in the number of marine animals. This, in turn, attracts tourists and divers who will dive with interest to the underwater reefs.
The first Amathuntas wreck was built in 2009. Later, in the Dasudi area, the Fisheries Department organized the sinking of two decommissioned ships: “Lady Thetis” and “Costantis”. This event was the result of three years of preparation and was supported by the European Fisheries Fund in cooperation with the municipalities of Agios Athanasios and Yermasogeia. The Cyprus Association of Diving Centers and the Cyprus Tourism Organization also took an active part in the event.
Paphos Underwater Attractions
There are also wrecks off the coast of Paphos where regular deep dives are held.One sunken ship is at the bottom near the village of Chloraka, and the other is in the area of the caves.
Wine at the bottom of the sea.