From our regular columnists

But I can't be bent

October 21, 2014 - 20:03
The story is found: 
on page 82

One might be forgiven for assuming that as a certified diver, one would understand the science and common-sense behind the basic guidelines governing our approach to decompression stress. After all, a good part of a diver’s initial training (and, hopefully, much of the curriculum for more complex programs), explained the vagaries of breathing compressed gas underwater.

The issue with diving—­at least for this discussion­—is that as a diver descends in the water column, he or she has no option but to breathe compressed gas. Because of this, the inert gas contained in whatever is being breathed is stored in the diver’s body.

Reporting culture

October 21, 2014 - 19:33
The story is found: 
on page 53

“…The real reasons people don’t provide a higher level of detail are two fold: privacy and legal culpability” was the response recently when I posted a blog ( about the need to collect more detail when looking at diving incidents so that the community, the agencies and academia c

We need to be able to raise the awareness and knowledge of those involved in the sport so that they can truly take responsibility for their own actions.

Thermal stress

October 07, 2014 - 17:25
The story is found: 
on page 39

Thermal issues affect the comfort, performance and decompression stress experienced by divers. The impact varies with the timing, direction and magnitude of the thermal stress. Thermal protection can be provided by a variety of passive and active systems. Active systems should be used with particular care since they can markedly alter inert gas exchange and decompression risk.

Diving is conducted in thermal environments ranging from tropical through polar. While physical comfort and concentration and performance issues are often perceived as the top priorities, thermal status can also play a critical role in decompression risk.

Solo Divers and Risk Management

August 31, 2014 - 14:05
The story is found: 
on page 81

Diving is risky business. Just how risky depends on a whole shopping list of factors and influences, but let’s agree that there are more risks involved with diving than, say, sitting in your basement watching Olympic curling on TV.

Now if we were to apply similar logic and argument, we could go further and make the point that Solo Diving carries an additional level of risk over and above the “run of the mill” stuff associated with regular diving.

Just Culture

August 31, 2014 - 13:13
The story is found: 
on page 61

A diver had an oxygen toxicity seizure because an incorrect gas was filled in a cylinder by a dive centre. A baby died because the wrong dose of medication was injected. Who is to blame for the error and how do we try to make sure that these types of incidents aren’t repeated?

Some of the readers may remember an article I wrote on this subject a couple of years ago, but this one will go into much more depth and give examples of the issues faced in both the scuba diving community and other environments, which have more established safety management system programmes and

What if diving was new?

August 31, 2014 - 13:06
The story is found: 
on page 55

Imagine scuba diving is a brand new sport. You hear about it for the first time when one of your friends tells you about a scuba experience she had recently on holiday and you think this sounds incredibly exciting. After thinking about it for a long time, you decide you want to learn. You take lessons to improve your swimming and then you look online for a dive instructor. There are no dive centres in your town.

You are the first person you know who has signed up for a scuba diving course. For the people of your parents’ generation, even if they were aware that scuba diving existed, they would never have considered it even remotely possible that they could learn to dive.

Kimbe Bay

August 31, 2014 - 12:56
The story is found: 
on page 35

There is a line of thought in the scientific community that this is where it all began and the first corals originated… a large sheltered bay, roughly one third along the north coast of the island now called New Britain.

There can be no doubt regarding the profound fecundity of Kimbe Bay because the numbers, as they say, cannot lie and surveys by some of the best known names in marine biology, such as Professor Charles Veron and Dr Jerry Allen, and respected organizations like The Nature Conservancy, have helped

How Did That Get in There? —Water in the Tank Mystery

June 30, 2014 - 16:04
The story is found: 
on page 54

Anna’s story: “I was on my eighth or ninth dive, about five minutes in and at a depth of around 13 metres when I realized that my air was not coming out smoothly. I couldn’t think why this should be. I had checked my pressure gauge on descent and it had shown 190 bar. I switched to my octopus, but there was no difference. Soon the air became very thin. I tried to stay calm and thought for a few seconds.

Checklists - a tick in the box

June 30, 2014 - 15:27

At the Rebreather Forum 3 conference held in Florida in May 2012, a number of presentations were made which advocated the use of checklists as a means to prevent diving incidents from occurring, or at least reducing the likelihood of occurrence.

The reason why the presentations and consensus statement arrived at this position was because there is considerable evidence from aviation, medicine and other fields and disciplines that shows the proper use of checklists reduces the probability of incidents occurring.