Tank diving (or more commonly known as scuba diving) is an exhilarating experience, especially when you experience it for the first time. But, like most outdoor activities, it carries a certain amount of risk with it. If done safely and with proper training, tank diving is perfectly safe, but there are some dangers that people need to watch out for; we’ll be highlighting 3 specific dangers that divers need to watch out for.
Narcosis is one of the top dangers every tank diver needs to watch out for. Narcosis refers to a condition that occurs after prolonged breathing of the gasses found inside a dive tank. What makes narcosis so dangerous is that it has a diverse range of effects, all of which are pretty dangerous on their own, but they are even more dangerous underwater. The most extreme effect of narcosis is unconsciousness, but other dangerous effects include hallucinations, dizziness, and impaired reflexes. Thankfully, avoiding narcosis is rather simple. If you are ever on a dive, and you start any symptoms associated with narcosis (early symptoms include headaches, mildly reduced reaction time, and a feeling of euphoria), immediately stop diving and move up towards the surface. The reduce pressure will lead to the narcosis dissipating within minutes. As long as you recognize the early symptoms of narcosis, you will be absolutely fine.
This is another major issue that anyone diving will need to be wary of. Basically, as you dive the pressure gets greater. The pressure makes oxygen in your body denser, which means your body can inhale more oxygen than it normally would. As you rise back up to the surface, the pressure disappears and the oxygen starts to expand. Why is this dangerous? Well, imagine you held your breath as you were diving, your lungs would be full of air, now think about all that air suddenly expanding as you rise up to the surface. In order to scare first time divers, some diving instructors will say that your lungs will burst; this is unlikely, but your lungs will be greatly damaged. Thankfully, pulmonary barotrauma is easy to avoid if you know what to do. Firstly, never hold your breath when you are diving and you have a diving tank. If you hold your breath, the air gets held in your lungs instead of being exhaled. Secondly, don’t rush up to the surface, slowly ascend so that you have time to exhale the expanding oxygen.
Malfunctioning dive tank
Unless you are a serious diver, chances are you are going to be renting or borrowing someone else’s dive tank when you go diving. This is a big risk because you have no idea how well the tank has been looked after. Dive tanks aren’t fragile by any means, but they can be damaged in a number of ways. Before you go diving, do a thorough check of the tank, make sure it isn’t corroding, and make sure it isn’t making any noises when its moved (if a dive tank makes a noise when its moved, that’s a big red flag). Don’t dive unless you are 100% confident in your equipment.