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Scuba Health & Safety
Scuba Health & Safety
- Medical Requirements for Diving
- The Potential Perils of Diving and How to Avoid them
- Dive Safety Tips
- Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine in the Yucatan Peninsula
Diving in the Yucatan Peninsula
Choosing a Dive Operator
When choosing a dive operator, ask for customer references and check their affiliation with international certifying agencies (PADI, NAUI, IANTD, NACD, NSS-CDS and others), local operator associations (such as ANOATT and APSA) and DAN affiliated hyperbaric chambers. A guide for open water diving should be at least dive master qualified but preferably instructor rated. For cavern or cave diving, the guide must hold a full cave diver certification from NACD, NSS-CDS or IANTD and at least dive master qualification from an international certifying agency. The ratio of divers to guide in the cavern/cave is four to one. The federal agency SECTUR makes safety recommendations, inspects, monitors and keeps a census of all area dive operators. Compliant operators are awarded a SECTUR certificate. Maritime safety is monitored by the SCT (Secretary of Communications and Transportation). When weather is foul, smaller vessels (less than 40 ft) may be prohibited from operating. If you choose to dive in foul weather, you should be appropriately skilled and under these conditions, bigger is better as far as boats are concerned.
Dive boats safety features:
Bonus safety features:
Some Basic Water Safety Suggestions
Snorkelers, unless very strong swimmers, should use a snorkely vest. Divers should dive conservatively and stay within their confort zones. Pay attention to the dive briefing; it could save your life! When cenote diving, DO NOT GO BEYOND YOUR LEVEL OF TRAINING! Open water divers (including instructors) have an abysmal survival record in the overhead environment. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate – dehydrated or hung over divers are predisposed to decompression illness.
All international certifying agencies share fairly similar standards and procedures based on Recreational Scuba Training Council (RSTC) guidelines; however, there is some variation amongst them as to the order and protocol in which their safety and requisite performance are achieved. Levels of distinction within the agencies, i.e. IANTD Platinum Facility, NAUI Gold Facility, PADI Five Star Facility, etc. denote dive centers that provide instructor training and the highest professional standards. It is worth noting at this point that it is the instructor that will train you, not the agency, so ascertain that the instructor is in current standing with the agency with which he/she is affiliated. Again, ask for references, talk to the instructors, ask questions up front and voice your concerns if you have any. For certification a participant must read the material, participate in the corresponding lectures, learn and practice water skills in confined water, perform these skills in open water within four separate dives, review quizzes and pass a final exam. A traveler can accomplish this in a period of three to four days.
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