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Responding to dive emergencies

Concise step-by-step for responding to three dive emergencies

Responding to dive emergencies

The following is a guideline of procedures for a variety of diver emergencies.

Panicked and or Distressed Diver on the Surface

  • If possible, using your boat, approach the diver and throw them a life ring or any other form of flotation device. If the situation dictates and is safe to do so, enter the water and carry a flotation device to the diver.
  • Beware, it is common for panicked divers and swimmers to attempt to grab the rescuer in a manner that may threaten both person's lives. Position a flotation device between you and the diver to minimise the risk.
  • Always ensure they drop their weight belt and catch bag if they have one.
  • Calm the diver while assisting them back to the vessel.

Missing Diver Procedure

If Possible:

  • Determine the direction and strength of the current.
  • Review the dive plan.
  • Note the place last seen.
  • Note the time last seen.
  • Record any information that may indicate the status of the diver’s air.
  • Note the maximum depth planned and reached.
  • Estimate the physical condition of the lost diver.
  • Estimate the missing diver’s possible actions in an emergency.
  • Immediately recall any other divers by either revving the engine in neutral or banging on the side of the boat using a solid object. Be careful not to damage the boat.
  • Immediately contact emergency services using your VHF radio on Channel 16 or by telephone.

Unconscious Diver on the Surface

  • Bring your boat alongside the victim.
  • Use other divers, if possible, to help bring the victim onboard.
  • Perform the standard assessments and actions described in your First Aid and CPR course.
  • Call DES (Divers Emergency Services)on 0800 4 DES 111 (0800 4337111)

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