It is important to note that scuba diving, while a very enjoyable sport and hobby, comes with risks and dangers.
Scuba diving is a popular sport and hobby for people who want to experience a world which is different from our daily environment. It is an underwater activity that lets you enjoy the beauty of the coral reefs, the majesty of great shipwrecks and the spectacular views of the teeming life under the sea. As in any sport, however, there are still dangers that we must know about and avoid. Most dangers of scuba diving are effects of the increased water pressure under the sea, faulty equipment or the marine life.
One of the dangers that people can experience when scuba diving is barotrauma. Barotrauma is damage done on the air pocket in the middle ear caused by the increased underwater pressure. A trick that divers do to prevent this from happening is pinching the nose shut and blowing, chewing or swallowing. Doing these things is called “equalizing” and equalizing can push air into the middle ear quite effectively. However, if the descent is too rapid, a diver’s ability to equalize can be greatly decreased. Barotrauma is an injury that causes severe pain in the middle ear.
Increased underwater pressure causes the body tissues to absorb more nitrogen, causing what is called “the bends” or decompression sickness. When the pressure suddenly drops, the extra nitrogen forms bubbles that are potentially harmful. This is the reason why deep sea divers gradually and carefully return to the surface in stages in order to control the rate of the release of this absorbed nitrogen. The bends can potentially cause effects from aching joints or skin rash to paralysis or death depending on how much nitrogen was absorbed and the rate of its release.
Deep sea divers who venture to depths below 135 feet are usually the victims of oxygen toxicity. Similar to the case of decompression sickness, oxygen is also absorbed under increased underwater pressure. While we know that oxygen is not really a problem since it is what we need to breathe, extreme depths may cause too much oxygen to be absorbed. This can potentially turn the life-giving gas into a toxic one. Effects such as tunnel vision, nausea, twitching, loss of consciousness or seizures may be experienced when this happens.
As the world under the sea is teeming with life, it is sure to hold some untamed or territorial creatures. Attacks under the sea are extremely rare; however, divers cannot afford to forget that they have wild animals surrounding them whenever they dive. Great care and respect should always be given to the sea and to the animals in it.
Since most hobbyists often do not have their own equipment, they rely on rentals. Before doing so, a diver should always inspect the equipment and look for reliable rental shops or operators who let divers rent their equipment. Never hesitate to ask for a new piece of gear if it seems faulty or defective.