Everyone knows that scuba diving is a risky sport, but few know the hazards that divers must contend with. To be safe while scuba diving, a diver must be familiar with these hazards and know how to prevent them.
Everyone knows that scuba diving is a risky sport,
but few know the hazards that divers must contend
with. To be safe while scuba diving, a diver must be
familiar with these hazards and know how to
prevent them. Here are some of the risks that every
diver must know how to deal with:
1) Too little oxygen in the tank.
When the breathing apparatus is faulty or the tank
doesn’t contain enough oxygen, the diver may suffer
from hypoxia or lack of oxygen in the tissues. This
could lead to loss of consciousness, coma, or even
death. To prevent this from happening, proper
maintenance of diving equipment and routine
inspection of cylinders are crucial.
2) Salt water aspiration syndrome.
This occurs when the diver inhales some saltwater
spray through a faulty demand valve. Symptoms
include coughing after diving (which may be with or
without sputum), shivering, headaches, nausea or
vomiting, and difficulty in breathing. In serious cases,
the sputum may even be tinged with blood.
To prevent salt water aspiration syndrome, proper
maintenance of the demand valve is a must. It is also
important to test the valve before using it. There is a
breathing technique that you can use if the valve
malfunctions while using it. This technique requires
you to inhale slowly and use your tongue to ward off
3) Burst or stretched eardrum
When the diver fails to clear his or her Eustachian
tube, he or she could suffer from a burst or
stretched eardrum. This happens when the pressure
in the middle ear is not equal to the external
pressure. You can prevent this from happening by
clearing your ears before and during the descent.
There are various ways to clear the ears such as
yawning, swallowing, and the Toynbee maneuver
(swallowing while pinching the nose).
4) Pulmonary barotrauma (lung injury due to
This is a condition where the lung tissue ruptures,
letting air into the blood vessels, tissues, or cavities.
This could result in serious medical conditions such
as pneumothorax (air in the pleural cavity) and
arterial gas embolism (the presence of air in the
bloodstream which blocks small blood vessels). This
occurs when the diver fails to release expanding air
while he or she ascends. To prevent this lung injury,
never hold their breath while ascending with their
5) "The Bends" (decompression sickness)
This occurs when gas bubbles expand and injure
tissues or when gas bubbles cause emboli and cut off
blood supply. This is caused by a decrease in
ambient pressure when a diver ascends from a highpressure environment.
You can prevent decompression sickness by not
going beyond the ascent rate of 10 meters per
minute and by following a decompression schedule.
Such a schedule tells you when to ascend and at
what particular depth and to stay there until enough
gas has been eliminated so you can safely continue
to ascend to the surface.
Scuba Diving Hazards