Support for Newly Certified Divers

New divers often feel confident in their abilities and their new certification — and rightly so. But as you know, they’re still subject to mishaps and dive accidents. As divers ease into the sport, encouragement and support can go a long way. Let your new divers know that Divers Alert Network exists to help them out — during emergencies of course, but also with coverage for the potentially high costs of dive accidents. DAN membership and dive accident insurance is valuable for divers of all levels of experience.

Twenty-six-year-old diver Fran got her introduction to the sport during an extended stay in Aruba. By the time she returned to the U.S., she was a certified diver. In the years that followed she dove only sporadically, however, and all her dives were shallow.

About 20 years after her initial certification, Fran returned to Aruba and was excited to dive. She took a three-hour refresher course and felt confident that her skills and muscle memory would return, and everything would be second nature. But Fran’s skills were rustier than she realized.

On her last dive of the trip, Fran accompanied two more-experienced divers. Not wanting to slow anyone down, she descended quickly, trying to keep up, and failed to equalize properly. As she went deeper — ultimately to about 100 feet — she experienced discomfort. The sensations eventually passed and the dive ended uneventfully.

The next day, however, Fran’s ears felt “full” and she felt like she had a head cold. The following day, Fran headed home — more than 24 hours after her last dive. During a layover, she had more discomfort in her ears. By the time she got home, Fran felt pressure in both ears, and her hearing was muffled. She really hoped the symptoms would pass.

After two more days of symptoms, Fran finally contacted DAN. Her initial hesitancy in calling was based on a misconception that her injury “wasn’t important enough.” And, although Fran had heard about DAN from her instructor during her certification course, she never joined. She didn’t think membership was for her — she was just a novice diver, not a seasoned pro. But her problem was worsening, and she could no longer ignore it.

Fran sent an email to DAN detailing her symptoms and received a prompt response from a medic. The medic asked specific questions to learn more about Fran’s symptoms, and in a later email suggested that Fran might have some bleeding on the insides of both eardrums, and she should see a specialist.

But Fran had no idea how to find a doctor who could help with her problem. She was not familiar with local doctors and did not have many connections in the dive community. Fran did not feel comfortable simply finding a doctor on the internet.

The DAN medic assured Fran they could find the right specialist. About an hour later, Fran received an email with the name and phone number of an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) in the area who also had experience treating divers. The medic even called the doctor to tell them to expect Fran’s call.

Fran saw the doctor, and the diagnosis matched the medic’s assessment. After a successful treatment, Fran received an unexpected call from the medic checking in. Fran was so surprised, as she wasn’t even a DAN member.

Now Fran’s mentality toward DAN has changed. She fully understands that DAN helps all divers of all abilities. And Fran’s dive injury has not squelched her zest for diving. In fact, she has completed several specialty courses — after becoming a DAN member, of course.

Fran knows what it’s like to be both a new diver and one who returned to the sport after a hiatus. In both situations, she believes, DAN membership and insurance are incredibly important. “Diving every year in the Caribbean, I’m often on boats with folks who are newly certified or returning to diving after a long hiatus. I always recommend DAN membership and insurance to novice divers,” said Fran.

As you work with your students, make sure they understand that DAN insurance is intended for divers of all levels. It can be easy for a new diver to embark on dives with their new certification, forgetting about the costs and complications associated with mishaps, but it is important to be prepared, and that’s what DAN dive accident insurance is for.

Not sure how to get the conversation about DAN started? Check out these tips about how to talk to your students about DAN membership and dive accident insurance.