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The vast majority of scuba diving accidents are caused by divers who are untrained or who were poorly trained. Divers who have taken all of the recommended classes from licensed, qualified instructors have far fewer accidents than those who “dive in on their own.”  In fact, scuba diving is one sport in which participants are encouraged to be retrained after a prolonged absence, and to renew their skills on a regular basis.  Training and knowledge are the most important factors when it comes to diving safely.
With all the horror stories that you hear concerning scuba diving deaths, the fact is that there are only approximately 100 deaths world wide each year that can be attributed to scuba diving.  Why does it seem as if there are so many more than that?  One explanation could lie in the rarity of scuba deaths – which causes each one to be reported by the media and played up until it seems as if they happen every day of the week. Still, no matter how rare scuba diving deaths are, you don’t want yourself or a loved one to become a grim statistic.

Causes of Scuba Diving Accidents

Overconfidence and a failure to observe local conditions are probably the biggest cause of scuba diving accidents.  Experience is vital and it is imperative that divers start out by making small dives in safe water until they know and understand their equipment and their own limitations. It is important to be experienced before venturing out into deep, uncharted water where unknown situations can crop up without notice.  Keep in mind, too, that each dive can be a unique experience – currents, water temperature, underwater structures and new and potentially dangerous aquatic life are all different in each different location and can require specialized knowledge and experience for a safe dive.

How to Avoid Scuba Diving Accidents

First and foremost: never dive alone. Never.  Even if you are diving in a place you have explored a hundred times before you still need a diving companion.  Conditions can change at a moment’s notice and accidents and equipment malfunctions cannot be foreseen.  Having a diving companion adds a layer of protection and insurance that helps make each diving experience not only more enjoyable but more safe as well.
Check your gear before each dive.  Saltwater can be hard on certain pieces of gear, and time and normal wear and tear can also affect your gear’s performance. You don’t want to find out that a piece of equipment is not functioning correctly when you’re 40 feet down.  A thorough safety inspection of all gear is essential before every dive in order to minimize accidents.
As mentioned before, always dive with a buddy no matter how safe or routine you feel a dive is.  When diving in unfamiliar water it is imperative that you listen carefully to any instructions provided for diving in the area.  Also learn to run “what if” scenarios through your mind before each dive, going over possible problems and their solutions. In this way, if a dangerous situation should arise, you will be better prepared to deal with it in a calm and rational manner, rather than in a state of panic.

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