When most people think about scuba diving dangers, they imagine large sharks closing in like in some of the popular horror movies they may have seen. The world of scuba diving, however, has far more prevalent and subtle hazards that have to be kept into account by everyone – and most especially beginners – attempting a dive. From decompression sickness to nitrogen retention and drowning, there are many dangers other than hungry sharks you need to be aware of.
The Diving Dangers Posed by Bad Equipment
One of the most serious scuba diving dangers has to do with attempting a dive without proper equipment. Whether your gear is damaged, impaired or old, there are fissures in your oxygen tanks or any other element of your equipment is weakened, further problems can arise, especially when diving in deeper waters. Subtle issues, such as a broken depth gauge, can also lead to health issues caused by decompression sickness, while a bad regulator can even lead to drowning during deeper dives. It’s extremely important, therefore, for divers to check their gear before attempting a dive and replace any malfunctioning equipment.
Water-Related Dangers of Scuba Diving
Water itself can be quite dangerous during a dive. When spending too much time underwater, divers can expose themselves to a number of debilitating hazards, such as asphyxia, near drowning, loss of consciousness due to reduced oxygen and suffocation caused by water entering the lungs – often caused by equipment malfunction. Another hazard has to do with the various nitrogen-related dangers, such as decompression sickness and nitrogen narcosis. These dangers are brought about by factors such as increased underwater pressure and the narcotic effect of the extra nitrogen your body may take in through your tissues. Excess nitrogen taken in during deep dives has to be monitored carefully, and released at a gradual rate as the diver returns to the surface. Failure to take all the proper precautions is among the most serious scuba diving dangers and may result in anything from mild joint pains to partial paralysis, complete paralysis, and death.
Hypothermia: A Serious Scuba Diving Danger
Hypothermia can set in when divers swim through extremely cold water for a longer period of time without proper protection. Exposure to cold water over a longer period of time can lead to reduced core temperature, weakness and shivering. Reduced level of consciousness and eventual loss of consciousness may also ensue, and death is also a possibility if the diver remains underwater for far too long. This is one of the most unpredictable scuba diving dangers, since it can set in even before or after a dive, if the environment is cold enough.