Be a Healthy & Safer Scuba Diver

By Dr. Ronson Chi Tang LI M.B. Dip.Fam.Med(C.U.H.K.) Dip.Occup.Med(C.U.H.K.)

Honorary Assistant Professor in Family Medicine The Chinese University of Hong Kong


The origins of diving are firmly rooted in the needs and desires of men to engage in underwater commerce, to conduct salvage and military operation, and to expand the frontiers of knowledge through exploration, research, and development.

More than 1.4 million amateur scuba divers in the United States, similar number of scuba divers in Australia, U.K. and countless number in other countries they are more or less facing the effects of diving hazards. Although scuba diving is fun, exciting, happy and enjoyable, scuba diving is not a major recreational activity compared to competitive athletes, cycling and many others. Therefore, public awareness of the related hazardous factors and resource for general and specific knowledge are not adequate.


General Structure of Professional & Recreational Divers in Hong Kong

Currently, under the Hong Kong Underwater Association (HKUA) there are over 20 clubs or shop members in Hong Kong. They are all sport-diving (Recreational diving) related and a number of them provide sport-diving training ranging from basic, advanced and instructor to instructor trainer level of different systems. These clubs can issue their own certificates of training and assist the trainees to obtain memberships or qualifications of different classes in a number of international sport-diving associations. However, the number of so called °•freelance°¶ small diving groups or clubs, instructors and divers are not known and unqualified or untrained divers in Hong Kong are not uncommon especially those practicing fish harvesting. According to sites and shops visit and a short survey on local divers, there are over 62.3 percent of Hong Kong sport-divers obtained their international qualification from PADI system (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and other major training systems including NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) 16.8%, NASDS (National Association of Skin Diving Schools), BSAC (British Sub-Agua Club) 7.8%, CMAS (Confederation Mondiale Des Activties Subaquatiques) 7.8% and ANDL/IANTD/TDI, SSI (Scuba Schools International) accounts for the remaining trained sport-divers.

In Hong Kong, the number of sport or recreational divers are estimated to be over twenty thousands. Majority of these divers obtained their diving qualification locally in these dive shops and clubs. The working instructors and dive masters are actively involved in the training of sport-divers. In fact, they are the most important workforces of the industry and more frequently exposure to the health effect of diving. According to information gather from sites visit, there are over 3000 qualified scuba diving instructors and about 1000 dive masters exiting in Hong Kong. Within the limited data of our survey, the actual active working instructors and dive masters account for about 17.6% of the sport diving population in Hong Kong.

DANs database for diving accident reviewed that basic or open water diver made up to 47% of the accident cases reported, while up to 26.7% of divers were certified advanced divers, and 21.5% were certified as instructor or divemaster.


Problem in Using Common Diving equipment

Health Hazards In SCUBA Diving

Physical Hazards of diving

Problems of increasing pressure during descent

Hazards at any stage underwater

Problems of reducing pressure during ascent

Chemical & Biological Hazards of diving

Method and measures to be a happy diver