Are Britain's divers getting out of their depth?
Saturday 30 May 1998
The diver, a 34-year-old married man from south London, drowned eight miles out in the Channel, off Littlehampton, West Sussex. Four of the eight other divers in the party were rushed to hospital suffering from the bends after surfacing too fast without decompression stops. They were diving at a depth of 90 feet.
An increasing number of Britons are going on diving holidays abroad. When they return home many decide to explore the UK waters. What some fail to realise is that diving in Britain is often far more demanding than on a coral reef. Visibility is poorer, the temperatures are lower, and the currents are worse. Inexperienced divers are failing to take account of these factors and are going beyond their skill levels and diving without adequate support.
Graeme Gourlay, who set up the magazine Dive International two years ago, said: "If you're trained in the Red Sea it will be made crystal clear to you that you are trained to dive in similar circumstances, not in a cold water gravel pit in England." However, the certification card which many divers gain after a course abroad involving around 10 dives - two of which take place in a swimming pool - allows the holder to dive in any waters.
"Maybe the rules should be changed and people who have learnt to dive in more benign environments shouldn't be allowed to dive in the UK on their own -- or even with a buddy - until they have done more supervised dives," suggested Mr Gourlay.
Diving does not feature in the top 10 list of risk sports. Last year there were 16 deaths from diving in Britain. However, this figure could be reduced if more divers were to join the British Sub-Aqua Club, the UK's governing body for sports diving, believes the club's vice-chairman, David Roberts.
He said: "What tends to happen is people who have diving experience in only one site walk away with a ticket that allows them to dive anywhere in the world. Our training programme requires people to experience a range of conditions before being certified."
One of the deaths at Leicestershire's Stoney Cove inland site last year involved a diver with only four open water dives in his logbook and those had been undertaken in Malta.
A spokesman for the HSE, which is investigating whether in Wednesday's accident the instructors breached the Diving At Work Regulations 1997, said: "Diving is a growing sport, along with windsurfing and paragliding. Just as with other adventure sports, when you get into difficulties and you aren't prepared things can go wrong quite rapidly and have disastrous consequences."
- 1 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 2 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
Top 20 misconceptions people believe are true
Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...