The 2017 edition of DAN’s Annual Diving Report, which examines dive incidents, injuries and fatalities from 2015, is now available. The 2017 report is a significant achievement that represents 30 years of injury surveillance and highlights the important work DAN has done and continues to do in keeping divers safe.
DAN published its first annual report in 1988 to raise awareness about the risks and hazards involved in diving, to help make divers and dive professionals better informed about how and why injuries happen and to suggest specific ways to improve divers’ in-water safety.
“The incidents and issues we identify through these reports have changed a lot over the past 30 years, although some of what we’re seeing isn’t new,” said Bill Ziefle, DAN President and CEO. “The first reports were important because they defined the types of injuries that divers could incur. At the time, interest in diving was exploding, and there were record numbers of both divers and injuries. Diver training was still evolving, and knowledge of the injuries and proper first aid for them was not yet widespread.”
Over the past 30 years DAN has collected information on thousands of diving incidents and fatalities from across the globe that serve as the basis for the report. DAN researchers verify and analyze reports from eyewitnesses, community reporting systems, local news, police, hospitals and coroners around the world. Because authorities often don’t release this information for more than a year after an incident, the annual report is typically based on data from incidents that occurred two years prior to publication.
The 30th anniversary edition of the report shows that between 1981 and 2016 DAN medical staff answered 86,336 emergency calls, 269,290 informational calls and 64,830 emails for a total of 420,456 inquires. The report also shows that the average annual number of recreational dive fatalities in the U.S. and Canada, or involving U.S. or Canadian citizens overseas, has declined from about 90 per year to about 80 per year. It identifies drowning and heart attack as the leading causes of death between 1992 and 2015, and it reveals two notable trends: as a community, divers are getting older and heavier.
“A thirtieth anniversary is an important landmark — a good time to look back and see how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go,” said Ziefle. “As the DAN Annual Diving Report enters its fourth decade, it will continue to be a defining factor in new dive safety and training initiatives and the best resource available for understanding the risks that divers actually face. Moving forward we will continue to provide the industry’s best look at the hazards of diving, and recent innovations in data-collection techniques and technology will allow us to delve in greater detail into the risks posed by age, type of training and type of diving. This report is an important aspect of the work we do to make diving safer.”
For more information, download the full 2017 DAN Annual Diving Report, 30th Anniversary Edition, at https://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/report/index.asp.