Scuba diving is often a very social affair although for some it might be quite solitary. The peace and quiet that the underwater offers can be seen as a opportunity for re-juvination of the body, mind and soul. Entering this special and magic world is one place where we can be at peace with one another. So, having said all this, the preparation to Scuba Dive is imperative in that we ‘get it right’.

As part of a new campaign from Northumberland Police, divers are being urged not to drink and dive in order to encourage safe diving. The policing team has launched the campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of the effects of alcohol, drugs and even smoking can have on scuba divers. The campaign is in conjunction with and supports the Royal Lifeboat Institute’s (RNLI) national downing campaign ‘Respect the Water’.

“Divers will know that Scuba Diving requires information processing, recall, reasoning, decision making, attention and ability to take control of a situation and alcohol, drugs and smoking can have a massive impact on this and the consequences of not taking responsibility for avoiding the hazards could potentially be life-threatening”

PC Cullen from Northumbria’s Police’s Marine Neighborhood Policing Team added: “Alcohol and hangovers can impair cardiac function and cognitive ability as well as reaction times and judgement. It can also cause dehydration which increases the risk of decompression illness.”

Some of the dangers of alcohol and drugs affecting diving include:

– Dehydration increases risk in decompression illness (DCI) can lead to muscle cramps, dizziness and fainting

– Impaired judgement and problem solving ability

– Increase in susceptibility to hypothermia underwater

– Increased heart rate

– Decreased co-ordination

– Panic attacks

– Distortion of colour and changes in sense of time and movement

– Light-headedness

– Depressed respiratory function

– Decreased mental acuity

Dangers of smoking include pulmonary barotrauma (burst lungs) – normal, well-functioning lungs are essential for safe diving to minimise the chance of pulmonary barotrauma.

Lots of research is also available if you are a member of DAN Europe (Diver Alert Network), you will read that there line to diver safety is:
“In our vision, it is trying to make any dive accident and injury free. This includes a variety of elements, such as education and scientific research”.

A very useful place for every Scuba Diver to visit
The DAN Europe flow chart of comprehensive services

More information can be found by visiting the DDRC Healthcare website DDRC Healthcare is a UK registered charity specialising in diving and hyperbaric medicine.