Diving Medicine and Safety

Diving-related Emergencies

  • In case of emergency at a dive site contact the Coastguard - VHF Channel 16 or dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
  • The Coastguard will co-ordinate the other emergency services needed to help you.
  • If you are at home following a dive and suspect you may have decompression illness contact the Hyperbaric Medicine Unit in Aberdeen on 0845 408 6008, out of hours ask for the hyperbaric consultant, they will tell you what to do next.
  • If the patient is seriously unwell or deteriorating rapidly, inform the ambulance service promptly by dialling 999.
  • Don't turn up at a chamber unannounced, most are not manned 24-hours a day.

Decompression Illness (DCI) Guidance

  • The British Hyperbaric Association provides flowcharts for treatment of DCI on their Diving Emergencies page and a lot of useful information across their site.
  • Scottish Diving Medicine is the official NHS Scotland site for information for the public and other healthcare professionals on Diving Medicine. This includes the location of the current hyperbaric chambers in Scotland.

Medicals Advice/Guidance

  • UK Diving Medical Committee – The UKDMC advises the Scottish Sub-Aqua Club, British Sub-Aqua Club and Sub-Aqua Association on diving medicine issues, providing a national network of medical referees with accredited diving medicine expertise.  If you need to answer “Yes” to any of the conditions on your medical form, this is the best place to go for advice and guidance.
  • Diving Diseases Research Centre – DDRC Healthcare is a not-for-profit organisation and a registered UK charity in Plymouth. It is a worldwide specialist in diving medicine, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and medical training with a range of highly specialised staff, facilities and knowledge.
  • ScubaDoc – Another site providing a wide range of respected and professional diving medicine advice online

Diving Safety

  • The British Diving Safety Group (BDSG) is made up of organisations which regularly meet in order to work towards a common goal; to make diving safer.  Chaired by the RNLI, it covers all the main UK Amateur and Professional diving organisations and supporting industry bodies.  They provide a large number of guidance documents in their on-line library.
  • The RNLI is well known to seafarers for their work saving lives at sea.  They may also be called on to assist the Coastguard with diving emergencies and are an invaluable source of advice and guidance for safe operation of club or private boats.
  • Not only does the Coastguard coordinate incidents requiring medical attention for divers, it also provides useful advice and guidance.
  • Perhaps the world’s most recognised dive safety organisation, Divers Alert Network (DAN) has been committed to the health and well-being of divers for 40 years and provides a large amount of useful help and guidance.  It is a member of the BDSG, so some of the guidance documents are common across both organisations.