Seven Tips for Preventing COVID-19 While Diving

1. Stay Healthy & Fit

Staying healthy and fit is not only crucial for diving safely, it’s also an excellent way to ensure your body’s natural defenses are fully effective. Among the easiest ways to maintain your fitness are to eat a balanced diet, sleep enough and exercise regularly. If you smoke or vape, stop.

2. Don’t Dive If You’re Sick

Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary widely but include headache, weakness, shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, fever, chills, muscle aches, loss of smell or taste, chest pain, poor concentration, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If you are experiencing any symptoms, stay home until your physician determines you are no longer contagious. Return to diving only after you have fully recovered, gotten your doctor’s approval, returned to baseline exercise capacity and, if needed, completed refresher training.

3. Practice Good Personal Hygiene

Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, when hand-washing is not possible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. (When using hand sanitizer, be sure to let your hands dry naturally.) Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet, and avoid direct contact with people outside of your household. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth. If you need to cough or sneeze, do so into your elbow or a tissue, and dispose of the tissue right away. When out in public or in areas where social distancing measures are difficult to adhere to, wear a mask to avoid infecting others. 

4. Maintain & Disinfect Your Gear

If you haven’t been diving in a while, be sure to have any gear you plan to use serviced according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. If it is not time to service your equipment, inspect it for signs of wear and tear, and test its functionality in a controlled setting. Be sure to disinfect your equipment, too.

5. Heed Travel Warning

If healthcare systems become overwhelmed and are unable to accommodate travelers’ emergency needs, outcomes can be dire. Air evacuations may be delayed or impossible in the current circumstances. If you travel despite warnings, you might be required to shelter in place for an extended period in your destination or even contribute to the overwhelming of a healthcare system. Restricting your travel during this time keeps everyone safer and allows for restrictions to be lifted sooner.

6. Obey Local Orders 

Once travel restrictions are lifted, it is important to research your destination to learn about local laws and customs in that area, especially those related to the pandemic. Once you arrive, be sure to respect any quarantine and distancing requirements and wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Remember that hotel and dive center staff are only enforcing these measures to keep you safe. 

In addition to being aware of local laws and customs, understand what emergency services are available to you in your destination should you need them. While DAN maintains a database of medical services available in key diving destinations, rapidly changing government regulations limit our ability to provide real-time information in non-emergency situations. Allot time in advance of travel for preventive medicine interventions such as health screenings, airport screenings, immunization record reviews, testing and even extended quarantines as part of your travel plans.

7. Manage Your Risk  

When you assess the risks you may face when travelling, consider risks that you and your entire group are likely to face. In light of this pandemic, it is also important to assess how your travels could affect those around you, possibly including an entire community. Before engaging in any risky activity, use multiple, high-quality sources to assess the risks and determine if you and your buddies are equipped to manage them. Diving more conservatively, taking a refresher course, restocking your first aid kit or going through the motions more deliberately than you normally would might just be the smartest moves you can make in these unusual circumstances. 

For the latest COVID-19 information from DAN, click here.

Join DAN