How Safe Are Diving Holidays?

If you have been on a diving holiday or are planning one, have you ever thought about how safe you really are? You may be a very experienced diver, but things can still go wrong. It's good to know before you plan your trip whether the destination you are heading to has local facilities, like a decompression chamber and clean hospitals in the case of an emergency. Its not just in-experienced divers that suffer from the bends, there are several factors which could cause decompression illness. It can often be caused by tiredness or dehydration (possibly the largest contributing factor) when diving, not just by ascending too quickly. So if you or your buddy were to suffer a decompression injury whilst on your diving adventure, wouldn't you want to know that there are local facilities close by to help you recover? Insurance is great but only if the medical facilities are staffed and operating. We take this for granted in the UK but do you know the standards where you’re heading on holiday? In 2008, an experienced diver, Jayne Bloom, 38 of Stockport died from decompression illness whilst on holiday with her fiancé in the Federated States of Micronesia. Jayne suffered from decompression illness after doing a 47 metre dive. She was taken to the local decompression chamber, and at the time there was nobody there qualified to operate it. Mr Keep, Jayne's fiancé also said that the hospital was dirty, lacked facilities and that the doctors did not seem to be qualified to deal with a incident as serious as this. So bearing this story in mind, would you think twice about your diving holiday if you knew the local facilities to deal with such incidents wasn't up to scratch? Next time you book your dive trip or holiday ask the tour operator the distance to the nearest chamber and hospital and are they staffed 24 hours a day?   Alex Brylske famously said in his book Beating the Bends – “there are no guarantees you won’t get bent, if you want a guarantee, buy a washing machine..!”  With this lack of guarantee and the inherent risk of a bend from the most tranquil of dives, would you think twice about the local emergency facilities?

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