How Dangerous Is Scuba Diving? A Guide For Beginners

Scuba Diving
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Today, we’re going to answer one of the most common questions: Is scuba diving safe? how dangerous is scuba diving?

Both adults and children enjoy the easy accessibility of scuba diving. It enables you to breathe underwater while exploring vibrant coral reefs, historic wrecks, and viewing some amazing creatures that you won’t find on land! Prior to a dive, you should be aware of the very real risks associated with scuba diving, as with any activity. To safely partake in this well-liked sport, you should also learn how to avoid them.

Is Scuba Diving Dangerous?

There are risks and hazards to think about when engaging in any activity. Scuba diving is regarded as an “extreme sport” because of this.’

But there are millions of certified scuba divers who engage in this activity every year, and millions more who become certified each year through a variety of diving organizations.

Divers as young as eight years old use scuba equipment for a dive in a swimming pool, and there are divers over 90 years old who are still diving shipwrecks.

Scuba Diving Risks

The risks of SCUBA diving are numerous. These can include operational difficulties like decompression sickness or nitrogen narcosis as well as environmental dangers like currents, predators, and entanglement. They can also include health risks like entanglement, decompression sickness, and other conditions. Bring a dive knife in case you need to cut any stray fishing line that might tangle with equipment.


Although DCS is the most frequently reported cause of death, it is also the most typical cause of death in this group.

Diver panic or falling unconscious as a result of other, non-diving-related health issues are the two factors that lead to a diver drowning most frequently.

When there is an emergency or there is not enough air, divers may become panicked. With the right instruction and the use of a buddy system, among other things, diver panic and, as a result, drowning can be avoided.

Without a negative medical examination, you shouldn’t dive. Consult a doctor who specializes in diving medicine if you have any heart or respiratory conditions, or if you have any other illness that could prevent you from diving.

You will be given a medical checklist to complete prior to diving when you receive your dive certification. Being completely honest with yourself while making this list is crucial; not all of the issues will prevent you from being able to dive, and it’s crucial that you discuss any of these worries with your instructor.

Decompression Sickness

Bubbles made of dissolved gases, known as The Bends or decompression sickness, can appear anywhere on the body. Divers who have spent some time submerged may experience this if they don’t ascend to the surface slowly enough. To avoid going over a set time limit at a particular depth, it is crucial to plan out every dive in advance. The pressure on your body and the air increases the deeper you go under water. Because you run out of air faster as you descend deeper, deeper dives do not last as long as dives that remain close to the surface. According to where the bubbles form, the bends may result in serious issues. Any body part, such as the brain, heart, lungs, ears, skin, or joints, may be affected. Extreme pain, harm, or even death, can be brought on by these bubbles. Hospitalization and access to a hyperbaric chamber may be necessary for treatment.

Nitrogen Narcosis

Nitrogen narcosis is a possible risk for divers. This problem typically manifests itself during deeper dives that approach 30 meters or 100 feet of depth. Around that time, some pressurized gases start to have the potential to affect a diver’s consciousness. Nitrogen narcosis can cause fatal decision-making errors, so SCUBA divers need to be aware of its effects. Dizziness, euphoria, memory loss, confusion, anxiety, and even death can be symptoms. Every diver and every dive are different from one another, so it is important to proceed with caution and receive the right instruction from knowledgeable coaches.

When a diver dives to 100 feet, it’s possible for them to forget something as basic as how much time they have at that depth. This can result in frantic ascents that can result in the bends and other complications. Your instructor might bring you down to that depth while you’re pursuing a diving certification so you can experience the symptoms in a more controlled setting.

Arterial Air Embolism

A type of blood clot that develops in the arteries is called an arterial air embolism. A blockage of an artery that occurs within the body is known as an arterial embolism.

If bubbles develop in an artery during ascent and block the flow of blood through it, divers may experience this.

Pulmonary barotrauma, an injury to the lungs brought on by pressure differences between the environment and inside the lungs, is a frequent cause of this.

If a diver holds their breath while ascending, the air in their lungs will expand, potentially resulting in fatal or catastrophic lung damage. Despite being a rare occurrence, it can be prevented by receiving adequate training and exercising caution when diving.


You should generally stay away from sharks and other sea creatures, despite the fact that they can seem frightening and have a bad reputation. To know what to look for, you might want to learn about the harmful and dangerous animals. The last thing you want is to become distracted by taking photos of attractive fish and fail to realize that they are actually scorpionfish or a dangerous barracuda. In addition to sharks, barracuda, and scorpionfish, other sea creatures you might want to stay away from include lionfish, sea snakes, octopi, jellyfish, stingrays, cone snails, and more. Keep your distance, avoid provoking them, and treat all animals, fish, and other submerged sea creatures with respect and caution.

Accidents And Equipment Failure

Equipment malfunctions or accidents are two major SCUBA diving risks. A safe dive requires thorough pre-dive inspections of all equipment. Running out of air is fatal, but it can also lead to buoyancy problems. With the help of weights and air pumped into the buoyancy control device (BCD), you can regulate your buoyancy. Additionally, you can regulate your buoyancy by breathing. More air or different equipment are needed for deeper dives.

In order to prevent the bends and other serious problems, you should also schedule extra time to relax at specific points throughout your ascent. Dive sites can be littered with hazards such as caves, submerged objects, sunken ships, fishing wire and nets, and more. These pose a risk to divers because they might become stuck, get stuck themselves, hit their heads, or run out of air while looking for a way out. Another risk of lung damage is trying to ascend too quickly, as panicked divers might do. The oxygen will expand as the diver moves upward and upward toward the surface. To prevent their lungs from over-expanding, divers must make sure to exhale as they ascend.

Scuba Diving

Health Issues

SCUBA diving can be enjoyable and relaxing, but it can also be physically demanding or taxing. SCUBA diving may need to be avoided by people with certain medical conditions. You may need to consult a doctor before diving if you have any heart, lung, breathing, blood pressure, or other problems. Remember that flying and other altitude changes can make the effects of SCUBA diving more challenging. In addition, taking medication while diving can be problematic. To reduce your risk of experiencing dive-related issues, avoid drinking or using drugs before diving.

Do Scuba Divers Ever Perish?

Unfortunately, diving has inherent risks that cannot be completely eliminated, just like any activity performed in a natural setting. However, with proper training and when following sound diving practices, the likelihood of a fatal accident is low.

According to the Divers Alert Network’s (DAN) study on diver fatalities, there were only 71 reported diver fatalities in the US in 2017 (the most recent year for which data is available). The estimated 2.85 million divers in the US translate to a fatality rate of about 2 per 100,000 participants, which is lower than that of other popular sports like horseback riding (est. 128 deaths per 100,000 participants).

In terms of diving fatalities in general, the most recent Annual Diving Report from DAN indicates that roughly 50% of scuba diving fatalities are related to an acute cardiac event. Furthermore, “two-thirds of the reported fatalities in 2017 were between 50 and 80 years of age” (source). Pre-existing conditions are frequently present in combination: hypertensive heart disease, cardiomegaly, diabetes, obesity, in addition to advanced age and other risk factors like smoking.

* The DAN Annual Diving Report is released annually by Divers Alert Network (DAN). It includes information and analysis on dive-related incidents, accidents, and fatalities for a specific year, as well as suggestions for maintaining scuba diving safety in light of new developments.

Tips For Keeping Scuba Diving Safe

Divers can take many steps to dive safely and prevent scuba-related incidents, in addition to completing (and adhering to) the appropriate training and keeping their skills current. For example:

  • Keep your equipment well-maintained and check it before every dive
  • Listen to the brief so you know the plan – and any local hazards
  • Always do your buddy check. While you’re on the surface, problems are simpler to fix.
  • Don’t dive alone. A buddy isn’t just good company, but a partner in safety
  • Be fit to dive. Both in general health, but also how you’re feeling on the day
  • Don’t touch! Many creatures can be dangerous when provoked
  • Travel safely, from sun protection to storing gear on boats
  • Respect your boundaries by being aware of them.

Each diver, from novices to the most seasoned instructors, must abide by these rules. Additionally, all PADI Professionals and Rescue Divers have undergone training to handle emergencies relating to diving, and the Emergency First Response course is open to all levels of divers (and non-divers!).


Is scuba diving dangerous, yes, it is when you don’t follow the basic rules. You do not have the same experience when you are swimming in a lake, an ocean, or diving with other divers.

The most crucial safety measure is to dive with a group of divers who are well-known in the field. There are other precautions that will make the dive simpler. This will guarantee that you are taking all the necessary safety measures to make your time in the water enjoyable.

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