How Dangerous Is Scuba Diving?

July 30, 2022 4 min read

Before you start your diving trip, make sure you know the risks of Scuba diving. In this article, you'll learn about Pre-dive equipment safety checks, how to deal with malfunctioning equipment, and what to do if you have an equipment malfunction. In addition, we'll talk about what to do if you are experiencing any of these problems: Air or gas embolism, and Barotrauma.

Pre-Dive Equipment Safety Checks

A study published in the Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society examined the safety of scuba diving equipment. Researchers asked 55 recreational scuba divers to perform pre-dive equipment safety checks on pre-assembled scuba sets. The divers were instructed to test each piece of equipment without referring to a written checklist. The researchers intentionally left nine equipment faults undiscovered, but two divers did find all of them. Pre-dive medical checks are equally important in order to eliminate possible health damaging situation.   

Equipment Malfunctions

Scuba divers can experience equipment malfunctions in the water at any time. A study of 1000 incidents revealed that 105 were pure equipment failures, a rate comparable to those in medicine, aviation, and industry. While the causes of equipment failures may be varied, most of these incidents can be avoided or minimized by proper maintenance and periodic inspection. Similarly, diving equipment failures can be avoided if the manufacturer designs and manufactures their products with proper safety in mind.

Air or Gas Embolism

The treatment for air or gas embolism when diving consists of receiving high-flow oxygen in the emergency room. The diver will be transferred to a hyperbaric chamber to be treated. The treatment is effective if the diver receives oxygen therapy immediately. An air or gas embolism can result in fatality if it is not treated promptly. A diver may suffer from gas embolism during medical procedures, surgical operations, or during ascent to high altitudes. The treatments for an air or gas embolism in diving are complex and often require a multidisciplinary approach.


One of the most common health hazards of scuba diving is middle ear barotrauma (MEB). In a prospective incidence study, 28 divers underwent otoscopic examinations before and after a single dive. Participants performed a Valsalva maneuver and reported any dive-related complaints. The most common presenting symptoms were difficulty clearing the ears during descent, ear pressure, and pain. The study found a significant correlation between middle ear barotrauma and poor underwater visibility.


There are several ways to prevent hypothermia in SCUBA divers. If a diver experiences this condition, he should immediately exit the water and cover himself with dry clothing. Heat packs or a warm room environment should be applied to the body. Drinking warm liquids will correct dehydration. Immediately seek medical assistance if hypothermia is suspected. If a diver begins to shiver, it may indicate a more severe problem.

Shark Attacks

While shark attacks are a serious concern, the number of these incidents is relatively low. Most shark attacks are mistaken for seals and end after one bite, although they can be fatal. Even so, the number of shark attacks on SCUBA divers remains relatively high. Here are some common mistakes to avoid to minimize your risk of a shark attack. First, know the types of shark attacks. If you've never been attacked by a shark, here are some tips to avoid them.


Scuba and narcosis go hand-in-hand, as both narcotic and non-narcotic divers suffer from the same condition. Divers suffering from narcosis need to be acutely aware of numerous variables and switch to alternate plans in an instant. Unfortunately, narcosis impairs a diver's perception of danger, limiting his or her options in dealing with dangerous situations. Additionally, narcotic divers are prone to forgetting tasks they had completed before they came down, and they often forget the most recent skills and techniques they used while diving.

Strong Currents

If you've ever dived, you've likely encountered strong currents. There are two schools of thought when it comes to strong currents - some fear them and avoid them at all costs, while others enjoy the sensation of gliding in them. Regardless of which camp you fall into, there are a few things you should know about strong currents to keep you safe. Listed below are some tips for diving in strong currents.

Diver Complacency

The word 'complacency' has recently become a popular term to describe the death of a scuba diver. In 2010, we saw a case study where a diver died on a rebreather dive. This tragedy brought to light a simple fact: 'complacency' kills. This deadly condition is a result of lack of awareness and complacency, and can easily be prevented by following a dive plan and checklist. For example, a checklist can remind a diver to check their diluent bottles. Oftentimes, a diver will fail to check their diluent bottles.

Diver Panic

If you have ever experienced a panic attack while diving, you know that it's not something that you want to have happen. In fact, it can cause serious harm and even result in death. Fortunately, there are ways to combat your panic so that you don't end up drowning! In this article, I'm going to outline some of my tips for dealing with panic while diving. Remember, this article is not a substitute for medical or dive instructor advice!

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