HM Coastguard responded to 66 decompression illness and 32 rapid ascent incidents in 2010 according to the MCAs newly published diving report. Medical emergencies accounted for 32 incidents. The total number of incidents has increased in the last two years, sadly, including 12 fatalities.
Buoyancy remains a problem with many incidents of divers losing control of buoyancy, whilst at depth, on ascent and on the surface. The deployment of delayed marker buoys at depth and loss of buoyancy control whilst wearing a dry suit were significant causes of loss of buoyancy control. The report advises that divers familiarise themselves with new or different gear before planning deep dives and that they always dive within their limits.
Coastguard diving liaison officers based all over the UK support local diving and organise events in their own areas, to prevent accidents and support safe diving practices. Divers are welcome to visit or contact coastguard stations to obtain the latest safety advice.
Ken Bazeley the Maritime and Coastguard Agency national diving liaison officer offers this advice to divers:
Make sure that you’re adequately qualified and experienced for your diving plan, keeping a close eye on weather and sea conditions, and making your personal fitness a top priority for safe diving.
You can view the report at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/2010_diving_report.pdf