Divers Alert Network Supports Safety in Saba

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA – 16 August 2017 – In pursuit of pristine reefs and untouched dive sites, many scuba divers are venturing out to more remote, less populated destinations. One such destination is Saba, fondly known as “The Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean” and offering some of the world’s most diverse dive sites. However, with sparse population and limited lift – only one airline offers daily flights to Saba – comes challenges in maintaining the level of onsite emergency...

Boy Scouts Embrace DAN CPR Challenge at National Jamboree

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA — 30 August 2017 – Widespread CPR training has been shown to increase survival rates in certain types of cardiac arrest by as much as 22 percent, and evidence shows that hands-on training is the most effective way of ensuring long-term skills retention. Which is why, when asked to support the 2017 National Scout Jamboree with CPR training and safety outreach initiatives, Divers Alert Network enthusiastically answered the call of duty. With more than 40,000 Boy Scouts, leaders, and parents in attendance the ...

2017 Academy Award Bestowed Upon International DAN

13 September 2017 – Durham, North Carolina – In 1980, DAN was formed with the single goal of establishing a 24-hour emergency hotline manned by knowledgeable dive physicians to help divers in need. Since then, this 24-hour hotline has grown into an international organization dedicated to dive safety and injury prevention. Recognizing DAN’s research, medical services and safety outreach contributions to diving for more than 35 years, the International Academy of Underwater Sciences and Techniques recently awarded the organization with...

DAN Champions Dive Operators and Professionals at 2017 DEMA Show

Durham, North Carolina – 4 October 2017 – Along with the many perks of being a dive professional – including opportunities to explore new dive sites, meet new people and experience new destinations – comes the ultimate responsibility of safeguarding lives. Every day, dive professionals around the globe act as dive safety champions protecting the divers in their care; which is why DAN is taking a stand to champion and protect dive professionals. Join DAN November 1 - 4 at the 2017 DEMA Show in...

DAN Calls for R.W. Hamilton Grant Applications

Durham, NC (12 October 2017) – Applications are now open for the 2018 Divers Alert Network (DAN)/R.W. “Bill” Hamilton Dive Medicine Research Grant. The year-long, US$10,000 grant supports new or ongoing research projects in one or more of the following areas: Development of decompression procedure techniques for commercial, military, technical and/or recreational divers; Development of new decompression models; probability of risk or probabilistic modeling; ...

Travel Confidently with Enhanced DAN Travel Insurance

Durham, NC – 24 October 2017 – Scuba diving gives travelers the opportunity to explore new destinations more fully, and in ways non-diving travelers can’t. Unfortunately, traveling in general is often fraught with challenges: According to the U.S. Travel Association, one in six U.S. adults reported having to cut a trip short or change travel plans – and only 22 percent of those impacted had travel insurance. DAN, the industry leader in dive safety and risk mitigation, has now expanded its Travel Insurance...

Call for Applications: DAN is Looking for a Future Dive Safety Educator

Durham, North Carolina – 13 November 2017 – DAN is launching its new internship program aimed at certified divers currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs in education. The DAN Diver Safety Education Internship is a fully funded, 8-12-week placement in Durham, North Carolina, that gives the recipient the opportunity to work side-by-side with key DAN training department staff while gaining valuable professional – and industry – knowledge and experience. It also includes...

Holiday Safety Quick Quiz

Question: Do you know what’s red and green, just like the holidays, but can also save lives? Answer: The DAN Soft-Sided DC Rescue Extended Care Pack! What is it? The DAN Soft-Sided DC Rescue Extended Care Pack is a lightweight, portable emergency oxygen kit designed for dive professionals on the go. DAN’s medical experts and product designers put a lot of thought into this ultimate grab ‘n go emergency oxygen kit. Inside, you’ll find the things you need to quickly respond to a dive...

Time to Make a Difference in a Diver’s Life

Nominations Open for the 2018 DAN Rolex Diver of the Year Award Durham, NC (06 December 2017) – DAN is calling for nominations for the 2018 DAN Rolex Diver of the Year Award. Nominations open today, 6 December, and close 31 December. "DAN's mission is to help divers who need emergency medical assistance and to promote dive safety through research, education, products and services," said Bill Ziefle, President and CEO of...

Happy Holidays from your friends at DAN

Our office will be briefly closed for the December holidays.  From December 22nd  at 3:00 PM EST to January 2nd  at 8:30 AM EST, non-emergent DAN staff will be out of the office. Team members will be on call to address urgent membership and insurance requests and orders will be fulfilled once the office reopens. As always, if you are experiencing symptoms following a dive, please call 911, and then contact the 24/7 DAN Emergency Hotline  +1-919-684-9111. Happy...

Divers Alert Network Honors Lee Selisky

Industry Pioneer Receives Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award Durham, NC (20 December 2017) – Lee Selisky, founder and CEO of Sea Pearls, Inc., a company that produces and manufactures weights for scuba diving, has received DAN’s newest honor: the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to the recreational dive industry. “Lee Selisky has devoted his life to diving. Though most people know him as the founder and CEO of Sea Pearls, Lee...

DAN Celebrates 20th Year of Prestigious Research Internship Program

Building a Foundation for Success DURHAM, NC (January 10, 2018) – Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States once said, “The expert at anything was once a beginner.” While it’s unclear if Rutherford ever worked as an intern, some of the world’s best minds attribute their success to internships that gave them the chance to pursue their interests, and learn new skills. Founded in 1999, the DAN Research Internship Program is a highly competitive and uniquely progressive program,...

Fitness for Diving

There are moments when scuba diving feels effortless: drifting over a shallow reef or descending through clear water toward a sandy bottom. But diving can also be strenuous — when swimming against a current or trudging to a dive site loaded down with gear, for example. In these situations divers must be physically able to both handle themselves and assist their dive buddies if necessary. What Does Fitness for Diving Mean? When determining fitness to dive, a physician may weigh several factors, ...

Jarrod Jablonski Selected as 2018 DAN Rolex Diver of the Year

DURHAM, NC (May 16) – Explorer adventurer, and pioneering cave and technical diver Jarrod Jablonski is the recipient of the 2018 DAN Rolex Diver of the Year Award.   “DAN Rolex Diver of the Year Award winners — and nominees — are among the industry’s most committed and passionate members,” said Bill Ziefle, DAN President and CEO. “We received nominations from around the world, and Jarrod stood out because of his outstanding contributions to diver training and safety. It is our great pleasure to recognize Jarrod’s important...

DAN Launches Spring Fundraising Campaign

The organization seeks donations to support future dive safety researchers. Durham, NC (May 30) – DAN is dedicating its spring campaign to raising funds in support of the next generation of dive safety leaders.     Celebrating its 100th research intern in 2018, the DAN Research Internship Program provides education and experiences that encourage young people to take up careers in dive-related fields and scientific endeavors while supporting DAN's research...

The 8 Best Places to Learn to Scuba Dive in 2020

Is scuba diving something you’ve always wanted to try? Why wait?

Our ocean planet is full of beautiful places to learn to dive – even for people with limited time and money. Start your adventure and become a certified diver and you’ll enjoy:

Become a Certified Diver in Just a Few Days

Here’s a quick overview of what’s involved in learning to scuba dive. You’ll start your adventure by learning diving fundamentals – via an online course or using a book and DVD. Next you’ll learn how to set up scuba gear and practice basic diving skills with your instructor in a pool (or pool-like environment). Lastly, you’ll make at least four dives in the ocean, local lake, or other body of water suited to beginner divers. If you’re not sure whether scuba certification is for you, ask your local PADI® dive shop about a Discover Scuba® Diving experience.

A PADI Open Water Diver card is the most-recognized scuba certification in the world. With more than 6,000 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts worldwide, it can be hard to choose where to start, so here are a few of the best places to begin your scuba diving journey in 2020.

The Top 8 Places to Get Scuba Certified in 2020

The Bahamas
Clear water and shallow reefs make The Bahamas an ideal place to learn to dive – especially if your partner is already certified. Most of the dive sites are shallow, so you can enjoy the islands’ diverse marine life and historic wrecks together. The Bahamas include more than 700 islands spread out across 800 km/500 miles of ocean. Only two of the island chain’s 16 major destinations were affected by Hurricane Dorian. Read this Sport Diver article about diving in The Bahamas two weeks after the hurricane. By starting your scuba journey in The Bahamas, you can support this beautiful nation’s efforts to rebuild devastated areas.

The Maldives
When leaving the Maldives’ main airport, you’ll see more boats than taxis. That’s because the country is made up of more than 1,100 small coral islands. After landing in the capital, Malé, visitors typically leave straightaway on a boat bound for a tiny island or atoll. If you’re looking to unplug from the wired world and immerse yourself in calm, clear, tropical waters, The Maldives is a beautiful, relaxing place to learn to dive. The only downside? The Maldives may spoil you forever.

Malaysia
Easy access and incredible biodiversity make Malaysia a top destination for animal lovers. Many airlines have direct flights to the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. From there you can encounter some of the world’s most interesting wildlife – above and below the water.

Many resorts in Malaysia have an on-site dive shop and great shore diving, making learning to dive easy and convenient. If you’re traveling with kiddos, holiday resorts typically have activities to keep kids busy while their parents to go diving.



Egypt
Aspiring divers have plenty of options in Egypt. Many resorts in Hurghada have dive shops onsite and offer convenient diving packages. In Dahab, numerous shore diving sites give you the convenience to dive as much as you want after being certified (within safety limits).

 

The Canary Islands
For travelers based in Europe, The Canaries offer sunny days and warm, clear water closer to home. If you live elsewhere, The Canary Islands are an intriguing answer to the question, “where did you learn to dive?”

Expect 30 m/100 ft visibility and encounters with bucket list marine life such as rays, cuttlefish and octopus. The Gulf Stream keeps water temps around 17-18° C/63-64° F year-round.

Mexico
If your diving dreams include schools of colorful fish and a party on the beach, head to the Caribbean side of Mexico. If you’re looking for something bigger such as a manta ray, or friendly seal, set a course for the Pacific side. Can’t decide? Visit both, your PADI certification is a passport to never-ending underwater adventure.

Thailand
If you’re keen on learning to dive, but don’t have a lot of money to spend, Thailand is a great choice. Koh Tao and Koh Chang are a haven for budget travelers. Both have inexpensive lodging and numerous dive operators offering group and private classes.

If you discover the diving life is for you, Thailand is an affordable place to linger while you level up to Advanced Open Water Diver or take specialty diving courses such as underwater photography and videography.

 

Learn to Dive Locally or Start Your Scuba Training at Home

Earning your scuba certification close to home can be more convenient and less stressful than trying to squeeze a 3-4 day scuba course into your vacation. Also, if you plan to dive locally once certified, it makes sense to complete your training at home. The friendly and helpful people at your local dive shop can help you choose the right equipment, introduce you to local marine life, and give you the confidence and skills to explore the underwater world – wherever you choose to dive.

Can’t decide between doing your scuba training at home or on holiday? Good news, you don’t have to choose.

Ask your local PADI Dive Center for a referral and maximize your warm water diving time. Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: Start your “classroom” studies online with PADI eLearning® and do your pool training locally.
  • Step 2: Complete your certification by making four open water training dives with a PADI Instructor anywhere in the world.

With a referral, you can take as much time as you need to get comfortable with your in-water skills. You’ll also get to enjoy more of your vacation exploring and relaxing rather than studying or stressing.

With more than 6,000 PADI dive shops around the world, you can start your adventure and become a PADI Diver just about anywhere there’s water. If you don’t have a dive shop near you, contact the experts at PADI Travel®  at +1 786 220 3482, or start a chat at travel.padi.com and find the best scuba diving destination for your interests and budget.

Further Reading
How to Prepare for Your Open Water course
Frequently Asked Questions About Learning to Scuba Dive
What’s the Difference Between Scuba Diver and Open Water Diver

Getting PADI Certified off the Beaten Track in Padre Burgos, Philippines

Written by guest blogger Claire Ullah. All images provided by Remote + Afloat.

Completing a scuba diving certification had always been a life-long ambition for my partner and I, but we chose to postpone our PADI until we found somewhere extra special to take the course. While island-hopping through the Philippines, we discovered a mysterious destination which promised pristine reefs on a path less traveled. It sounded perfect!

Nestled between the lush hillsides and azure waters of Sogod Bay in Southern Leyte, the little-known town Padre Burgos is a true hidden gem. There is barely any tourism here except for a handful of low-key dive centers. After a flight from Manila, a ferry from Cebu and a very long bus ride from a town called Ormoc, we arrived at our secluded beach side accommodation – Peters Dive Resort.

We couldn’t wait to get stuck in after touring the immaculate dive center and found ourselves signing up for the PADI Open Water Diver course before we’d even unpacked our bags!

Padre Burgos - Philippines - Scuba Diving

I’d always dreaded training in a group for fear of not being able to take things at my own pace, but thanks to our remote location we received one-to-one tuition with Dive Master Klaus – a German instructor with over 40 years of experience. Although his approach was firm, he had a great sense of humour and gave us plenty of positive feedback, which helped me to relax and combat any initial struggles… such as clearing my mask.

Once we completed our confined water training, it was time to hit the ocean. I didn’t feel ready to leave the safe confines of the dive centre pool, but as it turns out, Padre Burgos is the perfect location for divers in the making.

Padre Burgos - Philippines - Scuba Diving

Jumping in a rusty van and driving a just few meters along the coast to a long and deserted beach, we kitted up excitedly for our first proper dive.

As we made entry from the shore and submerged into the ocean, we were greeted by vibrant coral bommies and pinnacles dotted across a sandy seabed. These shallows offered ideal conditions for newbie divers, allowing plenty of space to master our buoyancy.

After successfully accomplishing our Open Water Diver training, we decided to brave the Advanced Open Water Diver course and began with a day of boat diving at the neighbouring island of Limasawa, a marine protected area.

Here, I could practise my giant stride, plunging into the clearest turquoise waters and floating across a deep wall covered in dense black corals, sweeping fans and thousands of colorful anthias fish. The current was strong, which gave us a rather exhilarating opportunity to practise more advanced techniques.

Padre Burgos - Philippines - Scuba Diving

Later, we would set out on our chosen specialty at one of Padre Burgos’ top dive sites – the pier. This famous night dive attracts serious underwater photographers on the hunt for rare critters, which lurk after sundown.

Before embarking on this thrilling dive, our instructor tasked us with one final exercise. Wading in anxiously from the slippery steps of the harbor, a torch in one hand and a compass in the other, we sank into the dark and put our navigation know-how to the test.

At last, we were free to explore! Corals emerged from the shadows while a freak show of creatures danced before our eyes. From stargazers to giant frogfish, seahorses to stingrays, this had to be the perfect end to our course.

Completing our PADI Open Water Diver and Advanced Open Water Diver certifications in the diverse underwater world of Padre Burgos helped us become the competent divers we are today. What a privilege it was to develop our skills in such a unique diving destination.

Padre Burgos - Philippines - Scuba Diving

Learn more about the PADI Open Water Diver course and start your eLearning to become a certified diver just-like Claire!


Author Bio 

Claire Ullah is the co-founder of Remote + Afloat, alongside her online store Citrus Reef which gives a portion of profits back to ocean conservation. Her combined passion for travel, snorkeling and diving has taken her on a unique journey to some of the world’s richest coral reefs and remote islands. Follow Claire as she charts her experiences both over and under the water

7 Ways to Bring Romance to Your Valentine’s Day Dive

There’s pretty much a script for Valentine’s Day, and it’s limited to flowers, candy and dinners out, right? Nope. Far from it.  If your honey is a diver, he or she is going to be much more stoked about a gesture connected to the water. For suggestions on ways to bring the romance to your next dive, read on.

Give a Gift

Underwater proposals are only gaining in popularity—but a diamond isn’t the only gift you can present underwater. Sure, jewelry or the like is nice, but you can also bring down lots of other gifts on a dive. If you’re ready to take the next step and give her or him a key to your place, you can certainly do so underwater. Or, if your present is too big, you can snap a photo of it and carry the photo in a plastic bag for a big reveal during your bottom time.

Say it Underwater

We’ve all used underwater slates or etch-a-sketches. But, have you used them for romance? One option is to write on the slate whatever you’d write on a Valentine’s Day card. Or write a poem. Or simply ask him or her to dinner—you’re guaranteed to get a smile when you ask in such a creative way.

Say it With Music

This one doesn’t cost anything! If your dive boat has a sound system (and many do), ask the captain if he or she will play ‘your song’ after the dive. It’s a nice touch to let your person know that you’ve been thinking about them and wanted to make the day special.

Book an Underwater Photo Session

Underwater photographers are increasingly offering underwater photoshoots. This could mean heading to a pool and doing a couple’s shoot in a flowy dress or other fancy garb, or it could mean bringing a shooter along on your next dive to document the two of you sharing what you love most.

Bring Your Partner’s Favorite Treat

After the dive, you may want to bring a special snack for the two of you. Maybe cheese and crackers. Maybe his or her favorite dessert—cannoli? Brownies? You could also be a hit with everyone on the dive boat and bring enough to share.

This also works after a shore dive: Set up a picnic and blanket and stay for lunch or watch the sunset. (tip: if you need to rinse off first, keep a few gallons of fresh water in your car for a super fast shower).

Treat Him to New Gear

If your loved one is a diver, of course he or she will geek out over a new piece of gear. You could gift it on the boat—but better still, swap it out with their old gear if it’s something like a regulator. Or, if it’s a new knife, compass, rash guard or fins, you could simply hide it in their dive bag and wait for their reaction.

Get Closer

When in doubt, keep it simple and just hold hands. Taking a dive with hands clasped is really no different than doing the same on the sidewalk—just different scenery. And, the result is the same: We let our friend or partner know the simple truth that we enjoy their company and like keeping them close.

Or take them to a heart shaped sculpture underwater. Photo: Jack Fishman

Pregnancy and Diving: What You Need to Know

In the PADI Open Water Diver course, divers learn that pregnant women should not dive. Avoiding diving while pregnant or while trying to get pregnant is also included in the guidelines of the RSTC medical form. Understandably, many people want to understand the reasoning behind these limitations.

To determine the impact of diving during pregnancy, here’s a look at some of the facts.

What we know about pregnancy and diving

Though there has been no human testing conducted to determine the effect of diving on the fetus; similar to avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, a mother needs to be mindful that what she does affects her baby. If a pregnant woman suffers from decompression sickness (DCI), there is no guarantee that it won’t harm the fetus as well.

Effects of decompression sickness

It’s not just open water dives that pose as problematic. Pool dives and freediving also have the potential to affect a fetus. Dive injuries such as pulmonary barotrauma or arterial gas embolism (AGE) can occur in water as shallow as four feet/1.2 meters deep. AGE, when air bubbles in the blood vessels or heart block the supply of blood, is a DCI that can harm a fetus even if the mother isn’t experiencing symptoms. According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), animal studies suggested the possibility of fetal harm from DCI and hyperbaric oxygen exposure.

According to DAN, AGE (which can occur with or without pulmonary barotrauma) is characterized by the presence of gas bubbles in the arterial circulation. These bubbles are distributed throughout the body and may interrupt circulation or cause direct tissue trauma to the fetus.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

If a pregnant diver has DCI, the usual hyperbaric oxygen treatment therapy can cause further risks, by exposing the fetus to decompression stress as well as to varying pressures and depths.

DAN states that “Fully functional lungs are extremely effective in filtering bubbles from the circulation. In the fetus, however, most blood bypasses the lungs, and gas exchange occurs through the placenta. Thus, pulmonary filtration of bubbles does not occur within the fetus. This may increase the risk of arterial gas embolism (AGE), with potentially devastating consequences.”

Pregnancy and Diving

Bottom line

As with any activity during pregnancy, the best advice is to consult your physician before any physical activity.

Whether you are trying to conceive or already pregnant, avoid all types of diving to ensure your baby is born healthy and free of complications. Snorkelling and swimming are great ways to enjoy the water while pregnant. Once the baby is born, and with a physician’s go ahead, diving can resume.

Further Reading

DAN Medics Answer Your Questions About Dive Medicine

The Risks of Pregnancy and Diving