DAN Safety Tips

DiversAlertNetworkBy John Lippmann. Founder, Chairman & Director of Research, Divers Alert Network Asia-Pacific.

The following email was recently received by DAN AP about a 25 year-old diver who was diving in “a developing country”. The names and location has been withheld.

Case Study

I am Sally’s mother Anny and not a DAN member but desperate to find some information about my daughter’s decompression sickness. Sally was diving in “a developing country” with “Operator X “. She had completed a couple of courses then briefly lost consciousness after surfacing on a dive. She was totally disorientated. Sally was given oxygen therapy but the staff at the diving centre said it wasn’t decompression sickness and let her dive two days later – a “fun dive”.

After this dive, Sally became paralysed from the waist down. She was subsequently given oxygen and admitted to the local International hospital. She has already had five recompression chamber treatments and now is starting five more. She is also having daily physiotherapy. Sally now has some sensation in one leg but none in the other and no feeling around her waist.

I would really appreciate any information as to how long recovery might take and if we can hope for total recovery. Has the diving centre been negligent in not diagnosing the first episode? Thank you so much for anything you can tell me.

As you have just read, this was obviously a tragic accident. It is important to review any such accident and to try to determine what, if anything, could have been done to prevent it, or to manage it in the best possible manner. In doing so, it’s useful to ask yourself, what would I have done in similar circumstances?

A few thoughts have occurred to me and I’ll share these. Maybe many readers would have had similar thoughts.

Making decisions about the severity of a problem.

I have often mentioned in talks and articles how important it is for dive professionals not to try to diagnose whether a diver in their care has suffered a significant diving injury. Unless medically qualified and trained or adequately orientated in diving medicine, most dive professionals simply don’t have the expertise and experience to diagnose a medical problem.

There are a variety of first aid-related courses available through diver training agencies as well as general first aid training organisations, and DAN. Although these are valuable for all divers and essential for dive professionals, they are focussed on the provision of first-line care, which is by definition first aid. They do not provide sufficient knowledge or training to diagnose anything but a very basic illness or injury with certainty. That is why, unless the problem is very minor and it is blatantly obvious what the issue is, it is important to contact a diving medical specialist for advice for any medical problems that have developed during or after scuba diving.

You might wonder why advice from a diving doctor is usually preferred …?

The diving environment exposes a diver to a variety of physical and physiological changes as a result of increased pressure, the effects of immersion, breathing compressed gas, and certain other factors. Most medical training includes little or no education on diving medicine and, as a result, the vast majority of doctors have little idea of the impact of these changes, especially in divers with certain pre-existing medical conditions (e.g. epilepsy, diabetes, heart disease, among others).

Sally’s mother later told me that the dive operator did not seek medical advice. I have no idea whether or not this was the case. However, it seems unlikely that they had, given the fact that Sally was diving again two days after becoming unconscious. In such circumstances, it is essential that the diver be properly examined and assessed. Unconsciousness soon after diving is often associated with decompression illness, but can also result from a variety of other factors, including non-diving-specific medical conditions. All of these need proper medical investigation, especially before further diving is contemplated.

DAN Asia-Pacific funds a Diving Emergency Hotline which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide advice to divers, dive professionals and medical professionals in a situation where a diver has symptoms after diving. The call is directed to a diving medical specialist (who is usually a diver themselves) who will give advice on the appropriate first aid and appropriate follow-up assessment and treatment. The injured diver or caller doesn’t need to be a DAN member to get advice – it is available to anyone for free. The difference is that with a DAN Member, DAN will then become involved in the management of the situation.

It is certainly wise for dive professionals to use this service to help achieve the best outcome for divers in their care. It also transfers the decision-making from the dive professional to the doctor, removing the opportunity for the dive professional to make a bad decision and reducing potential liability.

Calls to the hotline are toll-free within Australia by dialling 1800-088200. The hotline can be reached from outside Australia by dialling +618-8212 9242 although these calls aren’t toll-free. There is no charge for the service as the doctor provided their services for free.

The importance of good oxygen first aid.

The administration of as near as possible to 100% oxygen is the cornerstone of first aid for decompression illness. Prompt and appropriate oxygen first aid will likely reduce the number of required treatments and accelerate recovery from DCI.

The only encouraging thing to read in Anny’s email was that oxygen first aid was available and that Sally was given oxygen. However, no details are provided to determine the adequacy of this.

After many treatments, Sally can manage to “hobble a few steps at a time” and is currently waiting to be repatriated to her home country for on-going treatment and likely many months of constant physiotherapy. It is far too early to know to what level she will recover.

I sincerely hope that this case report provides some good “food for thought” and discussion and will serve to reduce the chances of a problem like this re-occurring.


danEngage with DAN on Facebook for insights into various dive-related and medical issues. Search ‘DAN Asia Pacific’ or scan here.

Scuba Center Asia upgrades to PADI Dive Resort

scuba-center-asiaCongratulations to Scuba Center Asia who become a PADI Dive Resort in July 2015.

“As from the 1st of July 2015 we are opening our Dive Center on Nusa Lembongan, Bali! Nusa Lembongan is part of the three island Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida located southwest of ‘main’ island Bali and is only 25 minute speedboat ride away. If you have enough with the busy and cultivated tourism on Bali, looking for a unique, fascinated, tranquil surrounding, Nusa Lembongan is the place to be. It’s a diver’s paradise and one of the undiscovered pearls of Indonesia! For recent updates please visit and like our Facebook page: Scuba Center Asia. For booking your PADI dive course or fun dives please contact us at info@scubacenterasia.com” – Scuba Center Asia – About Us

PADI Dive Resorts are businesses that primarily cater to traveling recreational scuba divers and snorkelers, and offer activities such as recreational scuba and snorkeling instruction, Discover Scuba Diving experiences, guided recreational scuba dives and snorkeling excursions from the shore or a boat, and dive equipment rentals. Other services may include dive equipment sales as well as various watersport activities in addition to scuba diving. Dive Resorts are typically, but not exclusively, located in vacation areas and may be directly affiliated with facilities offering accommodations to the traveling diver.

Find out more about Scuba Center Asia;

Website: www.scubacenterasia.com/en
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ScubaCenterAsia

For information about upgrading your PADI Dive Centre, contact PADI Retail and Resort Association Manager, Mark Cummins – mark.cummins@padi.com.au

PADI YouTube Videos Exceed 1 Million Views

The PADI Go Dive, Keep Diving & Go Pro videos have now reached over a million views on the PADI YouTube channel!

Continuing in popularity, these videos demonstrate the opportunities and experiences available for scuba divers, from a recreational to professional level.

View these videos and utilise for your own content purposes via the below.

PADI Go Dive

PADI Keep Diving


For further information on these videos or how to get the most out of them, feel free to contact your PADI Regional Manager for assistance.

You can also access these from the Marketing Toolbox on the PADI Pros Site.

No Gravity Dive Centre upgrades to PADI Dive Centre

No Gravity Diving PhuketCongratulations to No Gravity Dive Centre who become a PADI Dive Centre in July 2015.

“No Gravity Dive Center was established in 2007 in Phuket Island, Thailand. We are an authorized PADI Dive Center located in Chalong close to Chalong Pier. Our main focus is scuba diving activities such as Phuket diving trips, Similan liveaboards and PADI dive courses from the beginner to the professional level. Besides the diving we offer accommodation in the Title Resort in Rawai Beach.” No Gravity – About Us

PADI Dive Centers are professional businesses that engage in the retail sale of recreational scuba diving equipment and instruction. PADI Dive Centers demonstrate a commitment to the PADI system of diver education by offering PADI certification courses and experience programs. Other services they provide include recreational scuba equipment rental and repair, compressed air sales, recreational scuba diving and snorkeling activities, and travel opportunities.

Find out more about No Gravity Dive Centre;

Website: www.bestdivingphuket.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/bestdivingphuket

For information about upgrading your PADI Dive Centre, contact PADI Retail and Resort Association Manager, Mark Cummins – mark.cummins@padi.com.au

Clement Lee appointed as Tourism Advisor of Malaysia

Industry pioneer, icon and distinguished PADI Course Director, Clement Lee has been appointed as a Tourism Advisor of Malaysia to represent and help promote the diving industry in Malaysia.

In recent press announcements, Tourism Malaysia described Clement Lee as, “the embodiment of the entrepreneurial dive industry pioneer, a staunch conservationist with unrelenting views on the importance of protecting and conserving the region’s unique marine attractions. Clement has had a profound influence on the growth and development of recreational diving and dive tourism in this part of the world.”

The Tourism Advisor Programme is an initiative by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture through Tourism Malaysia to engage a list of who’s who in various fields to help promote the country’s tourism and boost its arrivals and receipts. In 2015, nine famous personalities were selected as Malaysia’s Tourism Advisors.

Clement Lee

(Centre Right) Clement receiving his award from The Minister of Tourism and Culture (centre left) Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

A High Tea Reception was organised on 12th June, 2015 at the famous Carcosa Seri Negara in Kuala Lumpur where The Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato’ Seri Mohammed Nazri Abdul Aziz personally presented the certificate of appointment of Tourism Advisor of Malaysia  to ‘diving ambassador and conservationist’ Clement Lee and the eight other selected recipients.

The Tourism and Culture Minister said “We are confident that their role as Tourism Advisor will further enhance Malaysia’s tourism brand overseas and bring great value and meaning to our promotional efforts. We trust that the experience will also be a personally fulfilling and rewarding one for them”.

From its inception in 2009 until now, a total of fourteen (14) luminaries, each notable in their own fields, have been appointed as Tourism Advisors. These individuals have been carefully selected from a pool of outstanding people to help Tourism Malaysia propel the country’s tourism industry to greater heights.

On receiving the prestigious appointment, Clement announced, “I am actually very pleased that even in my retirement, I have this excellent opportunity to continue contributing to my country, Malaysia – and on top of that – continue to pursue my passion in scuba diving.”

Clement became a PADI Instructor in 1985 and in 1991 was one of the first of two Malaysians to become a PADI Course Director. He and his fellow partners then set up the Borneo Divers Training Institute to begin PADI Professional certifications.

Having extensive diving experience in Sabah’s waters, Clement was one of the pioneers to introduce professionalism in recreational diving, as well as dive resort management in Sipadan.  As a Tourism Board Dive Committee member for Sabah, he has also worked tirelessly to promote the dive tourism industry there.

Actively promoting conservation and environmental initiatives including Project AWARE, Clement has been the recipient of numerous PADI awards over the years. These awards include; the PADI Certificate of Recognition for Excellence Award USA, a number of PADI Instructor Development Awards that recognised his contributions to the PADI Course Director Training Course in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007, as well as awards for Excellence in Dive Resort Operation, Outstanding Contribution to the Diving Industry and Outstanding Customer Service and Professionalism in PADI Scuba Instruction.

Other honours include the Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) Life Time Achievement Award in 2014, Emirate Diving Association (EDA) Life Time Membership in 2014, the Malaysia International Dive Expo (MIDE) Achievement Award in 2009, and induction into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF), Cayman Island in 2011. Clement was the first Asian to receive the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) Reaching Out Award (2008) in Las Vegas, USA and was awarded by Malaysia Tourism in 2000 for Outstanding Contribution to the Tourism Industry (Private Sector).

On hearing the news of Clement’s appointment, PADI CEO & President Dr. Drew Richardson said, “All your friends and colleagues from PADI are so proud of your accomplishments regarding this prestigious appointment. Your goodwill, unbridled and endless energy and collaborative spirit continue to inspire. You are a selfless professional and have remained true to furthering the growth of diving and diving tourism throughout many years. On behalf of everyone at PADI, congratulations on this distinguished appointment”.

Clement, PADI would like to take this opportunity to thank you unconditionally for your outstanding and steadfast efforts in the diving and tourism industries. What you have achieved over the years is truly inspirational and we look forward to working with you to help promote tourism in Malaysia.

Clement Lee

(Far right) Clement pictured with the other Malaysia Tourism Advisor 2015 appointees and The Minister of Tourism and Culture (front left) Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

PADI Women’s Dive Day Events – 18 July, 2015

PADI Asia Pacific would like to say Thank You to all PADI Dive Centres and Resorts who participated in the first ever annual PADI Women’s Dive Day.

Over 80 events took place in 13 countries around Asia Pacific. This was a great day for everyone to support and acknowledge women in diving at all levels. We want to acknowledge all those that put in the time and effort to host an event. We hope you all had a great time on the day!

Here is a small selection of photos from Women’s Dive Day events that took place around Asia Pacific, feel free to add any photos from your event.

Hashtag your images and videos or search #PADIWomensDiveDay to take a look at all the great events from around your region.

Orca Dive Club - India

Are you the best diving professional you can be?

PADI logoAs a PADI Instructor, you have been trained and qualified with the largest and most recognised scuba diving training organisation in the world. Having completed the PADI Instructor Development Course and Examination, you enter the world of teaching scuba diving with the responsibility to continue the high level of training standards throughout your career. There is, however, more to being a PADI Instructor than just abiding by standards.

Being qualified as a PADI Instructor is the first step to becoming an exceptional scuba diving professional. There are several attributes to becoming a great diving professional, some of which include:

  • Teaching within the highest of standards
  • Facilitating an enjoyable and safe dive experience for students
  • Offering support to students who experience difficulties in and out of the water
  • Operating yourself with the highest of professionalism
  • Staying up to date on industry developments

An important factor that will determine your ongoing success is – do your students enjoy themselves and will they return to you to continue their diving education? Do they write to PADI or your Dive Centre to leave positive feedback, refer friends or family, leave you tips or stay in touch via social media?

If yes to these, then great, you are on a right track. If not, we encourage you to review your training practices and work ethic to become a better diving professional.

As always, your PADI Regional Manager is available to assist where possible. Feel free to contact them to learn more about how you can improve.