With Florida’s Spiny Lobster Sport Season (“mini season”) beginning next week, the folks at the Divers Alert Network have identified the most important factors to keep divers safe.
The annual two-day event, which will take place on July 27 and 28, is eagerly anticipated by divers each year and draws participants from throughout the Southeast US and beyond.
While it’s a fun, challenging and tasty experience for most, more than 20 divers have died during mini season in the last decade, according to DAN.
To prevent future deaths, DAN has released four tips which, while they probably won’t be a surprise, sometimes the most basic precautions are the most likely to save a life.
If you’re planning to hunt for lobsters this mini season, DAN says to keep the following in mind:
* Check your air often! It’s easy to become distracted and ignore your air supply. Running out of gas is extremely dangerous, so keep an eye on it, and return to the surface with plenty in reserve.
* Stay close to your buddy. A dive buddy can provide an alternate air source in an emergency and help free you from entanglement.
* Know your limits. Between 20 and 30 percent of dive fatalities are caused by heart attacks. Make an honest and thorough assessment of your fitness before you get in the water. Consider your ability to perform a long surface swim against a strong current if needed.
* Plan your dive and dive your plan. Pay close attention to current, depth, marine life, entry and exit points, and overhead boat traffic.
DAN president and CEO Bill Ziefle says:
“The best thing you can do to avoid incidents during mini season is to remember the fundamentals of safe diving. And of course, DAN is here to help any diver who needs us.”