Divers Alert Network® (DAN®) has been monitoring dive injuries and fatalities for more than 30 years. In a recent paper in the prestigious British medical journal Public Health, DAN researchers Petar Denoble and Peter Buzzacott, along with two co-authors, estimated the current risk of dying while scuba diving at slightly less than two deaths per million recreational scuba dives.
This estimate was based on more than 380,000 American sports-participation surveys and 563 U.S. diving deaths during a 10-year period. Using data available through National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the researchers also estimated an annual average of 1,400 diving-related U.S. emergency-department visits during the period, with the number exceeding 2,000 some years.
To the millions of U.S. residents who will scuba dive this year, these figures may be reassuring. As always, however, DAN’s commitment to making diving safer is unwavering. President and CEO Bill Ziefle noted, “DAN’s vision is for every dive to be accident- and injury-free. We will continue to monitor dive fatalities and dive safety in general, and we will keep working to promote safe practices in communities of divers worldwide.”
The researchers found that one of every 10,000 emergency-department visits was due to a scuba injury. Buzzacott, DAN’s director of injury monitoring and prevention, said, “This is an important reason why DAN operates a 24/7 emergency medical hotline: to assist not only injured divers but medical professionals who rarely see diving injuries and may not have the expertise that our medical team has.”
The full paper, “Epidemiology of morbidity and mortality in US and Canadian recreational scuba diving,” is available free of charge until February 24 at https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1WKse7bKBieiu.