[abstract] INEXPERIENCE KILLS: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LACK OF DIVING EXPERIENCE AND FATAL DIVING MISHAPS

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[abstract] INEXPERIENCE KILLS: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LACK OF DIVING EXPERIENCE AND FATAL DIVING MISHAPS

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Title: [abstract] INEXPERIENCE KILLS: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LACK OF DIVING EXPERIENCE AND FATAL DIVING MISHAPS
Author: Caruso, JL; Hobgood, JA; Uguccioni, DM; Bennett, PB
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Most initial dive certification courses require considerable time spent both in the classroom and in the water before the individual is certified as an open-water diver. Initial certification does not confer a mastery of the skills necessary for safe diving. Common sense dictates that a novice diver will continue to improve his or her diving techniques and gain confidence and a greater level of comfort in the water during the dives that follow initial training. The Divers Alert Network (DAN) diving fatality data base was examined to see if novice divers were over-represented among individuals involved in fatal diving mishaps. METHODS: The Divers Alert Network attempts to collect all available information related to recreational diving fatalities that occur in the United States and those tha involve U.S. citizens diving abroad. Sources of information include DAN Accident Report Forms, eyewitness accounts, investigative reports, newspaper articles, and autopsy findings. All cases are reviewed by a physician with experience both in diving medicine and forensic pathology. A synopsis of each fatality and a review of the most common causes of mortality associated with recreational diving are published in an annual report. In the DAN data base, a novice diver is defined as a certified diver with twenty or fewer open-water dives. Of the 747 recreational diving fatalities that were reported during the years 1989-1996, certification level and diving experience were recorded in 664 cases. RESULTS: Thirty-six (5.4percent) of the fatalities reviewed involved students in initial open water training. Another 54 (8.1percent) fatalities involved certified divers who had made five or fewer open-water dives and an additional 124 (18.7percent) diving fatalities involved divers who had made from six to twenty open-water dives. Meaningful statistical analysis cannot be performed without knowing how many dives are being made by the divers within ech experience level group. CONCLUSIONS: Over 30percent of all fatal diving mishaps involve divers who have made twenty or fewer open-water dives. While a true incidence cannot be calculated without knowing what fraction of all dives are performed by this novice group, it is safe to assume that novice divers do not account for 30percent of all diving activity. Project Dive Exploration will attempt to identify the distribution of diving activity and record safe dives as well as dive-related accidents. Conservative diving habits by novice divers and increased training prior to undertaking more challenging dives should result in a decrease in diving-related fatalities.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc. (http://www.uhms.org )
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/665
Date: 1998

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  • UHMS Meeting Abstracts
    This is a collection of the published abstracts from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) annual meetings.

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