Period Of Inactivity

Personal obligations and commitments, illnesses and injuries, global health and travel hazards, and many other reasons and circumstances may keep divers out of the water. The main steps for returning to diving will be the same regardless of the reasons for not diving, but the focus may vary.

What Kept You Away From Diving?

If your absence was due to twists and turns in your life journey, and you are still healthy and fit, you will want to focus on your skills and equipment. If you were out because of illness or injury, a review of your health will be important. If you couldn’t dive because of the pandemic, focus on public health and travel guidance from the proper authorities. 

doctor in waiting room

Did illness or injury keep you away?

While acute illnesses are not compatible with diving and even the common cold could keep you out of the water temporarily, some illnesses may affect your physical activity for a prolonged period or even permanently. If you were severely ill, had COVID-19 or have a chronic illness, consult your physician about your plan to return to diving. DAN is available to consult with your physician about the health requirements of diving, or we can refer you to a doctor trained in diving medicine. 


How does inactivity affect your return to diving?

Diving requires special skills learned during training and maintained through practice. “Use it or lose it” is especially true in diving. While skills will degrade somewhat with as little six months of inactivity, most dive educators and instructors consider inactivity of one to two years sufficient to warrant refresher training. 

Return-To-Diving Tips For Specific Periods Of Inactivity

If you have not been diving in a long time, consider how much you may have changed and what changes may have occurred in the diving world. You may need to take action in multiple areas and should thus devise a personalized return-to-diving plan. Even if you are an experienced diver, you should not skip these steps. And keep in mind there’s more to this than just diving skills; you may need to refresh your first aid skills, too.


* If your physical fitness is not optimal, you should devise a plan and begin exercising to achieve adequate fitness for diving.

Additional Resources

DAN Customer Service

Mon–Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET

+1 (919) 684-2948

+1 (800) 446-2671

Fax: +1 (919) 490-6630


24/7 Emergency Hotline

In event of a dive accident or injury, call local EMS first, then call DAN.

24/7 Emergency Hotline:

+1 (919) 684-9111

(Collect calls accepted)

DAN must arrange transportation for covered emergency medical evacuation fees to be paid.

Medical Information Line

Get answers to your nonemergency health and diving questions.

Mon–Fri, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET

+1 (919) 684-2948, Option 4

Online: Ask A Medic

(Allow 24-48 hours for a response.)