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There are few experiences in the world better than exploring underwater. Whether embarking on your hundredth dive or your very first, interacting with marine life in the deep is an incomparable experience.

No one knows this better than professionals in the marine and scuba industry. Every dive is different and awe-inspiring, but also potentially dangerous. No matter a diver’s skill level, many issues that occur underwater are out of your hands. Business owners in this industry understand this all too well, which is why they require rigorous training programs to protect their divers, and secure comprehensive insurance coverage to protect their business.

Of the many types of diving accidents that can occur, only a small percentage can’t be explained. The vast majority are identifiable, and avoidable, including:

  • Low or no oxygen in a tank
  • A diver’s inability to control buoyancy
  • Getting entangled or entrapped
  • Rough waters (under tow)
  • Equipment misuse
  • Inappropriate ascent or descent can cause health risks
  • Emotional distress

Let’s take a closer look at a few of these issues.

We’ve already talked about how it is critical for marine and scuba business owners to provide pre-dive training programs. Often these can be multi-day programs, beginning with an underwater experience in a pool, as this is a good way for divers to get comfortable with the mask. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to effectively replicate the ascent and descent process, and when either of these are done incorrectly, health issues can arise immediately.

Ascent Issues

Decompression Sickness (DCS), also referred to as “the bends”, occurs when a scuba diver ascends too quickly. “The bends” might sound like a funny name, but it is anything but. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention because when you have “the bends” nitrogen bubbles form in the tissue of the body and it can be fatal.

Descent Issues

A result of increased pressure underwater, barotrauma is commonly caused when divers neglect to equalize their middle ear pressure during descent. Barotrauma is not as dangerous of a condition as DCS, as a diver can equalize the pressure by swallowing or pinching his or her nose and blowing simultaneously.

Emotional Distress

Scuba diving is thrilling, of course, but it can also induce anxiety – something that a diver may not realize until they are underwater. Mask clearing is something that divers are taught to do when water seeps into the mask and impedes vision. But when water seeps in, it creates a sensation of drowning, which unsurprisingly causes panic and anxiety, resulting in potentially dangerous disorientation.

While training programs are important in preparing divers for their underwater experience, there is never a guarantee about how the diver will truly respond in a stressful situation. These examples are not meant to frighten, but rather to highlight a few of the risks that marine and scuba business owners must protect themselves from with insurance solutions.

Scuba diving is thrilling because it gives divers the chance to discover the unknown (and the chance to share it with others!). But before diving headfirst into a whole new world (pun intended), professionals in the scuba industry who own vessels, dive centers and resorts must ensure that adrenaline junkies are protected, and they are protected, for the next adventure that awaits.

Johnson Kendall & Johnson Insurance and Risk Management offers risk management and insurance solutions for the Scuba and Marine industry.

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