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Is Diving Safe?

There are few if any sports that present the challenge and potential risks to human life as that of scuba diving and snorkelling. No other sport requires the participants to completely immerse themselves in an environment that is not designed to support human life without assistance. To be able to do this safely we rely on specialised equipment and even more importantly specialised training in the use of that equipment.

Participation in the sport continues to grow in the UK and although there are no definitive numbers for the extent of participation in our sport, estimates made by different agencies all put a conservative figure for the UK at around 2 million dives per year. (See Information Sheet Membership Trends for BSAC estimates). From this a significantly small number of fatal diving incidents, averaging around 14 per year, occur given the nature of the environment. Each and every one of these incidents is of course a tragedy and all diving Associations and emergency services are working to continue to promote safe and responsible diving.

BSAC have a comprehensive and cohesive Diver Training Programme developed in the UK for the prevailing UK conditions over the last 50 years. The training programme integrates relevant skills throughout rather than adding them on (for example inclusion of nitrox training in Ocean and Sports Diver and drysuit competence where relevant at all levels.
This Training Programme is delivered by Instructors who have received the same training themselves and in addition have received a comprehensive training and assessment in Instructional Technique through the Instructor Training Scheme. Diving development further supports this through the provision of Short Courses including a comprehensive range of Rescue Skills some of which (Oxygen Administration and Practical Rescue Management) are an integral part of Diver Training.

A BSAC Publication 'Safe Diving' collects together Guidance on safe diving practices which supports and enhances the messages contained within the Diver Training Programme. In addition to this specific initiatives such as the BSAC Safety First and CDA Guidance for the Safe Operation of Member Club Boats promote continuing and refresher training and facilitate safer diving. In addition 2006 saw the introduction of 'Safety Talk' a monthly bulletin where key safety issues are reviewed and discussed to raise awareness of relevant issues. We continue to revise and review this information based on all possible information.

Within the UK there are a number of Fora where All Diving Associations, UK based (BSAC, SAA & SSAC) and US based commercial operations (PADI, SSI, TDI, IANTD), and related rescue agencies (MCA, RNLI, HSE, DDRC) meet to discuss diving safety and develop and promote initiatives to improve the safety of the sport.

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