Diver Fight Club

Reported Story


  • A guide and another diver got into an underwater altercation 
  • A group of divers on an 80’ ocean drift dive witnessed the event 

Reported Incident 

On a beautiful day of diving, a group of divers embarked on what was supposed to be a fun adventure to see some sharks and other sea-life. After descending, two separate groups of divers began to position themselves along the reef edge, intending to hook in to observe creatures passing by. One group got settled first while the other swam past them to find their spots. The dive guide found a suitable area and hooked themselves to the reef.  

Seeing the guide hook themselves in, a buddy pair set their hooks and got settled. When they looked up, they saw another diver swim over and punch their guide in the face. The blow was quickly followed by grabbing, with the attacker ripping off the guide’s mask and regulator in the struggle.  

The buddy pair, unsure of what to do, promptly ended their dive and returned to the boat without incident. The pair learned after that the attacker continued, inflating the guide’s BC causing a rapid ascent. The guide was quick thinking and grabbed hold of the attacker so the two both shot to the surface.  

Back on the boat, the guide appeared to be ok and explained to the divers that after hooking into the reef, the attacker signaled for the guide to move. Having already established his place, the guide communicated this, but the attacker became more earnest and more animated. As the attacker came closer, the guide pushed them out of the way and that was when the fight broke out.  


The reporting diver who witnessed the event noted in their report that they were still in shock and unsure of what to do when something like this happens. The causes of these types of altercations are unknown but are likely due to a mixture of stress and other emotions one may feel during a dive. DAN does not condone violence, especially during something that is supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable. It is lucky that this incident did not end up in a more dangerous outcome. The buddy pair chose to abort the dive, which also helped to avoid any other dangerous scenarios ranging from individual panic amongst the divers to creating a much larger brawl.  


Should one find themselves involved in an underwater dust-up as a victim, the best course of action would be to treat the attacker as a panicked diver and implement similar diversion tactics taught during Rescue Diver courses. Try to push the diver away from you. Duck below the diver so that you may get away safely. Do not turn your back on the diver. Try to signal for help, using a rattle or other noise making device. End your dive safely and as soon as possible.  

If you witness such an event, do not interfere or try to break up the fight, as divers carry knives, and this may escalate the situation. Wait until the fight is over and then try to assist the victim in whatever form is needed and you are capable and comfortable with. You may be able to help recover any lost equipment, slow a rapid ascent, donate air, or even help with a safe ascent to the surface. When the fight is over, evaluate if you and your buddy feel comfortable continuing with the dive, if not then proceed to end the dive safely. Once back on the boat/shore, alert the dive operator to the situation. If you are trained in first aid, be ready to assist with any care the individuals may need. You may be asked by the dive operator to give a statement for an incident report. We ask that you submit your account of the incident in our Diving Incident Reporting System (DIRS).