Until we succeed in making every dive accident- and injury-free, Divers Alert Network will continue to collect and analyze information about dive fatalities. The purpose of this database is to monitor trends in fatal injuries and identify risk factors associated with fatal diving accidents. This data is then used to inform decisions about how to make diving safer for all.
In 1970, John McAniff of the National Underwater Accident Data Center (NUADC) at the University of Rhode Island began collecting information about recreational diving fatalities. DAN joined the collection process in 1989, working with McAniff until his retirement in 1995. DAN has continued to collect information about scuba diving fatalities, especially those involving U.S. and Canadian divers (excluding commercial diving).
The process of data collection starts with active monitoring of news media and performing internet searches for publicly available reports on fatal dive injuries. DAN also receives unsolicited reports from divers and dive operators worldwide who witness fatal accidents. After the publicly available data is compiled, DAN researchers obtain further information from next of kin and investigative agencies to create more robust case reports. Each case is reviewed, de-identified and analyzed by a team of researchers and physicians at DAN.
Completed and analyzed cases are included in DAN’s Annual Dive Report, which is available online to the public at no cost in the DAN Publication Library.
If you witnessed or have information about a diving fatality involving any type of diving, including freediving, please download the Diving Fatality Reporting Form and return your report to or mail it to:
c/o Jeanette Moore
6 West Colony Place
Durham, NC 27705
You may also report a fatality or request a physical copy of the reporting form via mail, email or phone through the DAN Medical Information Line at +1 (800) 446-2671.
If you are requesting information about a fatality, please read our Policy for Release of Medical Information.
Q: How do I report a fatality to DAN?
If you witnessed or have information about a diving fatality, please download or request a physical copy of the Diving Fatality Reporting Form and return your report to DAN Research. You can notify DAN about a fatality by:
– calling the DAN Medical Information Line at +1 (919) 684-2948,
– sending an email to , or
– via mail to DAN Research, c/o Jeanette Moore, 6 West Colony Place, Durham, NC 27705
Q: How can I get a copy of a fatality reporting form?
Q: Where are diving fatalities published?
DAN publishes an overview and analysis of diving fatalities every year as part of the Annual Diving Report. Multi-year analyses are presented at scientific conferences and dive shows or are published in peer-reviewed journals. A list of publications can be found on this page.
Q: How can I obtain a copy of the Annual Diving Report?
Copies of the Annual Diving Report can be downloaded from the DAN Publication Library at no charge.
Q: How can I obtain a copy of a fatality report from DAN?
Valid legal authorization is required to obtain records from DAN. In the case of a fatality, a subpoena from North Carolina District 14 or the Middle District of North Carolina is required. If you are the executor of the decedent’s estate, you must show legal proof of this to DAN. Please read DAN’s policy for release of medical information. All legal requests should be submitted to DAN’s Custodian of Records, and all must be approved by the DAN legal counsel.
Additional Reading and References
- You can download the DAN Annual Diving Reports and the Proceedings of the 2010 Recreational Diving Fatalities Workshop and the Diving for Science 2007. Proceedings of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences 26th Symposium in the DAN Publication Library
- Autopsy Protocol for Recreational Scuba Diving Fatalities
- Rebreather Evaluation Protocol
- Open-Circuit Scuba Equipment Evaluation Forms
- Personal Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk for Diving
- On-Site Fatality Investigation Checklists
- Dive Safety IQ
Peer Reviewed Publications
- Buzzacott P, Denoble PJ. Possible central nervous system oxygen toxicity seizures among US recreational air or enriched air nitrox open circuit diving fatalities 2004-2013. Brain Injury. 2017 Jan 27:1-4.
- Buzzacott P, Zeigler E, Denoble P, Vann R. American cave diving fatalities 1969-2007. Int J Aquatic Res Educ. 2009; 3(2): 162-77.
- Caruso JL, Uguccioni DM, Ellis JE, Dovenbarger JA, Bennett PB. Buddy versus solo diving in fatal recreational diving accidents. Undersea and Hyperb Med. 2003; 30(3): 210.
- Caruso JL, Uguccioni DM, Ellis JE, Dovenbarger JA, Bennett PB. Diving fatalities involving children and adolescents: 1989-2002. Undersea and Hyperb Med. 2004; 31(3): 329.
- Denoble PJ, Caruso JL, Dear GdL, Pieper CF, Vann RD. Common causes of open-circuit recreational diving fatalities. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2008; 35(6): 393-406.
- Denoble PJ, Pollock NW, Dear GdeL, Uguccioni DM, Vann RD. Diving fatalities involving divers with diabetes mellitus. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2006; 33(5): 364-365.
- Denoble PJ, Richardson D, Cumming B, Lippmann J, Marroni A, Vann RD. Fatality rates in recreational scuba diving: a summary of statistics presented at DAN Fatality Workshop 2010. Undersea and Hyperbaric Med. 2011; 38(5):465.
- Denoble PJ. Training Workshop: Common Causes of Fatalities in Technical Diving. Technical Diving: Conference Proceedings. 2009; : 302-9.
- Jennings S, Heyboer M, Wojcik S, Denoble P. Dive fatalities in freshwater environment in the great lakes. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2013; 40(6):573. (Scientific Conference Contribution)
- Pollock NW, Vann RD, Denoble PJ. Response to Sqn Ldr Gareth Lock re letter concerning: “More information on diving fatalities is needed: an appeal for publication of comprehensive investigation of case series by qualified personnel.” Undersea Hyperb Med. 2013; 40(2): 213-4. (This story contains 4 pieces, the initial article and 3 responses – need to find those)
- Potts L, Buzzacott P, Denoble PJ. Thirty years of American cave diving fatalities. Diving Hyperb Med. 2016; 46(3): 150-4.
- Rowley BM, Buzzacott P, Denoble PJ. Ten years of recreational diving fatalities in the United States and Canada: harvesters vs non-harvesters.Journal of Travel Medicine 2016 24 (1): taw068.doi: 10.1093/jtm/taw068.
- Shreeves K, Buzzacott P, Hornsby A, Caney M. Violations of safe diving practices among 122 diver fatalities. Int Mart Health. 2018; 69, 2:94-98.
- Zeigler E, Buzzacott P, Denoble PJ, Vann RD. Characteristics of cave diving fatalities before and after 1980. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2008; 35(4): 255-6.