Although scuba diving is a low-risk sport, accidents can happen. In fact, in 2018, 169 people died in scuba-related accidents, which was a 33% increase from previous years.

Of the accidents, most (86%) occurred while the diver was alone, either because they separated from their party or because they purposely dove alone. These are the common scuba diving dangers and how to avoid them.

What can go wrong

Divers can lose consciousness, leading to drowning, during a dive due to panic or health conditions. Divers can also receive an atrial embolism, which results from holding air in the lungs during an ascent. Powerful currents, marine life, boats and entrapment are also dangerous.

When divers hit 80 feet below the surface in salt water, they can contract nitrogen narcosis. Divers may also experience decompression sickness when ascending too fast and saltwater aspiration by inhaling salt water.

You can experience barotrauma, oxygen toxicity at extreme depths and hypothermia due to water temperature. Finally, you could run out of oxygen or experience equipment malfunctions.

How to prevent accidents

Most of the dangers you can encounter during a dive can be overcome by increased education and training as well as the use of a dive computer. You should also dive with others. End any dive in which you feel symptoms of any of these dangers.

Remain calm throughout your scuba experience. Watch your oxygen supply and ascend before you hit the 50 Bar mark. Wear appropriate gear. Always watch your surroundings and learn about the marine life in the areas you plan to dive. Test and maintain your equipment.

If you suffer from a medical condition, always consult your physician before a dive. Then, get treatment immediately if you experience any of the dive-related symptoms.