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Sub-aqua diving is a popular sport, enjoyed by a lot of people of all ages all over the world. Exploring the fascinating underwater world with its beautiful reefs, interesting marine life and mystic wrecks gives great joy to many. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that sub-aqua diving is a sport with very specific risks and dangers.

What is the risk?

Between 2011 and 2015, there were 50 scuba fatalities in UK waters*. Sadly, many of these losses could have been prevented with improved diving preparation and personal diving skills.

Knowing what to do if something goes wrong at sea can make the vital difference between life and death. You could be rescued more quickly – or may not even need rescuing at all – if you have the right skills and kit.


Risks include decompression illness (DCI, the “bends”), arterial air embolism, and of course drowning. There are also effects of diving, such as nitrogen narcosis, that can contribute to the cause of these problems.

Diving Safety Guidance sheet download

Minimising the risk


  • Be fit to dive - Prepare yourself by being fit to dive – cold water will put extra strain on your body. Always consider your cardiac health before diving and get any concerns checked out.
  • Check your diving equipment - At the start of the season make sure all your diving gear is in service and ready for another year’s diving.
  • Plan your dives - Check the weather and tides. Find specific tide tables and sea conditions for the UK and Ireland at
  • Always complete a buddy check - no matter how experienced you are, or however many times you have dived with your buddy, don’t skip the buddy check. It could save your life, and theirs.
  • Be spotted - All divers should carry a surface marker buoy (SMB) or delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB) on every dive to aid their visibility to all surface craft.
  • Carry a means of calling for help. Consider carrying a personal locator beacon (PLB) or similar device in a waterproof canister
Sub Acqu Diving in murky waters
Sub Acqu Diving in murky waters



Further information



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