By Stephen Phillips
It’s that time of the year when divers plan holidays or expeditions to many diving destinations all over the world. For many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime dream. It shouldn’t be a nightmare.
The whole experience revolves around diving and of course the social interaction with like-minded people, but we need to be responsible. As the old saying goes, “First drink/last dive.” It seems harsh, but would you drink and drive or use complicated machinery in your job under the influence of alcohol? Of course not. Diving is no different. There are a number of effects that can lead to bad consequences, both underwater and when we surface.
Really diving and consuming alcohol before after and during surface intervals do not go together. Alcohol affects the central nervous system. It impairs judgment and coordination. This reduces the ability to react and coordinate many skills and tasks we try to perform during our excursions underwater.
Diving whether Recreational or Tech we are exerting ourselves physically and mentally.
If an emergency happens, we need to act quickly. Studies looking at the effects of alcohol and performance have shown that a high percentage of all drowning incidents in adult males are associated with alcohol (Diving and Subaquatic Medicine, Edmunds C, et al.,2002)
Alcohol takes time for effects to subside and the body to metabolize alcohol and its effects to subside. Performing skills and thinking processes can be impaired by as little as a blood alcohol (BAC) of 0.04%. Put in laymen’s terms, this would be the BAC of an average 82 kg/180 lb adult male who drinks two, 12-ounce beers in a short period of time on an empty stomach. This was highlighted in a study by M.W.Perrine and colleagues. The study also found that, at lower levels, situational awareness and problem solving were impaired. Remember that, in a diving environment were awareness and problem solving are critical if an emergency occurs
In many of the courses we teach, dehydration, when severe, is most likely a major factor in decompression sickness (DCS). This may be caused by recent alcohol intake as well as seasickness, excessive sweating, the fact we are breathing dry air and diuresis from immersion. It has not been conclusively answered whether alcohol causes diver’s susceptibility to DCS due to only a few studies out there but that’s for another day and personally, I do not want to be that statistic.
Tech diving, in particular, is a section of diving where meticulous planning and skills are required given the depths sometimes attained. So it is in our interest and safety that we think carefully about alcohol consumption before and after these formal activities. Trimix lessens the effects of nitrogen narcosis on some deeper dives. However, this benefit can be offset by a high BAC. High blood alcohol levels may enhance the effects of nitrogen narcosis along with dehydration. This could lead to accidents because of poor problem-solving.
The bottom line is that diving and drinking alcohol do not go together.
The central nervous system is affected in such a way that judgment is impaired. Plus in fact, reaction times and coordination are reduced. This is not the best recipe for sport or tech diving. How many risk assessments do we see with alcohol consumption highlighted?
As divers we need to take a responsible approach to alcohol consumption. Not only before diving but afterward. Following a few simple rules will leave us with good memories, not ones we regret.
These rules are:
- Get a good night’s sleep. Anything up to eight hours or more.
- Limit alcohol consumption the night before to two or three, with a non-alcoholic drink between them.
- Drink plenty of water or sports drinks the morning of your dive. Being well-hydrated helps.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach. A good meal helps slow the flow of alcohol into your system.
- Don’t forget to have a healthy breakfast on the morning of your dive.
I have covered only the tip of the iceberg here. There is a lot more information out there. They say knowledge helps us make the right decisions, so let’s be safe.
To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.
Should I Switch Scuba Diving Training Agencies For 2021? (Watch Video)
Thousands of Dive Instructors are out of work, due to Covid-19. Many will not return to scuba diving. And this has the dive training agencies very worried.
For the first time in my career, instead of the usual ‘don’t forget to re-new your membership!’ emails, the main Dive training agencies are aggressively pursuing dive instructors and trying to convince them that life will be better if they cross over to their agency.
I decided to pick up the phone and call around the different agencies to get their best offers. It didn’t go well….
Thanks for watching! D.S.D.O, James
Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady
Jeff chats to… Matt Slater of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust (Watch Video)
In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Matt Slater, Marine Awareness Officer with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust about their Diving and Snorkeling programmes.
Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.
For more information, visit www.cornwallwildlifetrust.org.uk.
WIN a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive Torch!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Bigblue AL-1200NP Dive...
WIN a Tovatec T3500S Rechargeable Dive Light!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at CPS Partnership to give away a Tovatec T3500S Rechargeable Dive Light...
WIN a Fourth Element Arctic Hoodie!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at fourth element to give away one of their NEW Arctic...
WIN a Northern Diver NDB5 Holdall Bag!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Northern Diver to give away one of their NDB5 Holdall...
Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.More Less
- Competitions4 weeks ago
WIN a Northern Diver NDB5 Holdall Bag!!!
- Competitions1 month ago
WIN one of the NEW Momentum M20 Dive Watches!!!
- News2 months ago
SeaLife launches new underwater housing for iPhone
- Gear News1 month ago
Breaking News: Garmin Descent Mk2 & Mk2i Launch & Review (Watch Video)
- Competitions2 months ago
Another chance to WIN a Sharkskin 90L Performance Bag!!!
- Marine Life & Conservation2 months ago
Review: My Octopus Teacher
- Competitions3 months ago
WIN a Sea Dragon Mini 900 Dive Light from SeaLife!!!
- News2 months ago
Escape to Zanzibar this Autumn