Swimming underwater can be an amazing experience, but there are risks involved with diving and snorkeling.
Negligence by the dive master, dive instructor, tour operator, boat owner, fellow divers, or other boaters, in addition to negligent maintenance of dive equipment, can results in catastrophic injuries while diving. Based on the nature of scuba and freediving, accidents can lead to significant injuries or death. These include traumatic brain injuries, shark bites, drowning and near-drowning, arterial gas embolism, decompression sickness, hypoxia, and coral poisoning, to name a few. Even if you signed a liability waiver, you may be able to pursue compensation for your diving injuries.
Most diving accidents can be prevented if the diving company exercises reasonable safety precautions. Unfortunately, sometimes they do not. These are the most common reasons that diving accidents occur:
Improper training or instruction
The dive company may be liable if they failed to properly train you how to dive and how to use the equipment, or if they fail to hire instructors who are properly trained.
Failing to monitor ascents and decompression
Ascending slowly and safely is critical in diving. If divers exceed a safe ascent rate, nitrogen absorbed in the bloodstream will form bubbles, leading to decompression sickness. Divers should not ascend more than 30 feet per minute to avoid decompression sickness, and the dive company should be monitoring this ascent.
Diving in an area with currents or heavy boat traffic
Dive instructors must know whether the sea conditions are safe for diving. They must also know whether there is an unsafe risk of boat traffic in the area. If the dive company leaves you in a dangerous area and you are injured, they may be liable.
Failing to comply with Florida’s Diver Down law
Florida law has requirements when using a “Diver Down” flag. The flag has requirements for its display, divers are expected to stay within a certain safe distance from the dive boat, and other boats are required to stay a certain safe distance from where divers are in the water.
Click here to learn more about Florida’s diver down law
Dive partner negligence
For safety, divers usually dive in groups. While this often helps divers avoid injury, you can get injured if another diver in your group is negligent. If this happens, the negligent diver may be liable. Some dive companies pair inexperienced divers or leave them alone in open water or without a dive buddy. If you are injured in a situation like this, the dive company may be liable.
The dive company is required to keep its equipment in good working order. If you sustain a diving injury because of a faulty piece of equipment, the dive company and/or equipment rental company may be liable.
While there are inherent dangers involved with all types of diving, these safety tips should make sure you are doing everything possible to have a fun and safe dive:
- Use and maintain quality equipment
- Never hold your breath
- Perform safe ascents
- Dive with a buddy
- Plan your dive
- Practice, practice, practice
- Stay physically fit