Ascending to the surface - perform it properly and in a safe, risk-free manner Mastering your open water skills. Follow the rules.
In March 2007 there were news about Missouri man who died while scuba diving with a friend on a Florida Keys shipwreck. According to the unfortunate scuba diver's dive buddy, the man was a frequent diver and they'd been diving many times together before the fatal incident took place. Investigation by the police revealed the diver's death was due to decompression illness combined with barotrauma.
This can serve a very eloquent example of scuba diver knowing the safety rules, but failing to follow them, which ultimately resulted in severe barotrauma leading to fatality. The autopsy showed that the stubborn diver got disoriented due to unbalanced pressures in the inner ear he didn't manage to cope with because he went to dive with the common cold thus breaking scuba diving safety rules. Silly death that was, indeed.
When the dive is finished, it is very important to ascend at a rate no greater than 30 feet a minute, using one's depth gauge and watch or computer to keep the control of the entire process and perform a safety stop at the depth of 15 feet, if needed. If the equipment fails, a diver can measure his acsent speed looking at the bubbles and trying to resurface slower than your slowest bubbles. Too fast ascent pose real danger for divers life.
Normally a diver would dive within the parameters of his or her dive tables or their dive computer, and would never hold his breath while ascending. Every dive will end with the need to ascend to the surface and it's important to make sure that every ascent is a safe ascent. You should always ascend slowly while breathing normally, it's that simple. But that can't be done, of course, if you are loosing consciousness.
Read more on time of ascending from a dive.
Read how physical exercise 24 hours before scuba diving can prevent the risk of developing decompression sickness.
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Related: Fast emergency ascending and re-surfacing from depth due to the lack of air may result in air embolism, while scuba diving. This is a very dangeous condition needing surgery of the burst lungs.