Air Embolism and Decompression Sickness

Ascending too quickly from a dive is not something unusual in scuba diving, even if every scuba diver knows the rule to never exceed the rate of the ascent of 30 ft per minute. In fact this is the reason why in all scuba diving training facilities beginner scuba divers should start from practicing repeated dives/resurfacing at shallow depths never exceeding 30 ft. Unless you you rush in learning the rules and follow them strictly, then scuba diving will be a very beginner friendly sport for you. Remember well: ascent from dive is the most hazard risky and dangerous phase of each dive. This should never be forgotten.

Emergency ascents are most often due to running out of air. Statistics prove that even experienced divers sometimes have incidents of running out of air. Surprisingly this often is explained by the reliability features available in modern air tanks and regulator systems where an emergency reserve of air is incorporated, for exactly this emergency reserve of air tempts experienced scuba diver into trying to extend the sheduled time of starting to resurface. When you come across something so thrilling and interesting underwater you have to make effort not to stay that just a little bit longer viewing it.

Try to breath from your regulator normally while moving towards the surface. Best of all switch to the buddy breathing and ascend at normal rate. Otherwize do everything within your capabilities to ascend as close to the normal rate as possible. The water pressure drops while pressure of the air or nitrox in your air tank grows stronger as you rise towards the surface, so you can count for still few more breaths. Never hold your breath while ascending, especially if you are forced to andertake emergency rapid ascent. If you do, this will directly result in an air embolism. This is a very dangerous condition, as with approaching closer to the surface the environmental pressure drops causing the expanding air in your lungs to burst them. This is even worse than the bends.

As for the bends, if too quick an ascent has resulted in the bends (decompression disease), the condition needs to be treated as quickly as possible in hospital in decompression chamber to hopefully neutralize the effects of the decompression sickness. In some cases decompression sickness can develop after a while, when already aboard dive boat or ashore.

It is wise to know the phone number of the Divers Alert Network (DAN) emergency hotline in the area you dive. Should the emergency occur, effective rescue and treatment can be saught trough it (to be paid for afterwards, if your insurance doesn't cover scuba diving accidents).

Related topics: scuba diving safety, scuba dive tables, scuba dive computer, dive master scuba, the bends scuba, scuba diving equipment, scuba dive flag, scuba embolism, pulmonary embolism, arterial gas embolism, compressed air embolism, fitness and scuba diving.

Review coming soon: Learn to scuba dive with PADI in Puerto Vallarta

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Ukrainian Society of Professional Scuba Diving Instructors
Ukrainian professional diving instructors UDIP