Amid the possible risk of fishermen and other divers succumbing to water-related disorders, calls have been issued for these individuals to be properly trained in diving.
“Knowledge is the key” said Diana Craig, an experienced diving instructor with the Antigua Scuba School as she explained the risks that accompany scuba diving, and the issues that many of these individuals seem to face from diving improperly.
“There are two main risks involved. One of them has to do with nitrogen which we have in our normal air which we breathe; and one has to do with what we call lung overexpansion which results from holding your breath and then coming to the surface. What we seem to be seeing with the fishermen is related to nitrogen, and it’s something called ‘the bends’ or ‘decompression sickness,’ and its usually as a result of diving deep too long, or a combination of both,” she explained.
She urged fishermen and other divers to ensure that they acquire proper certification, regardless of their experience in the water. Additionally, she said that anyone who experiences decompression sickness, should immediately seek emergency medical attention.
“We would highly recommend that all the fishermen get certified so that they can obtain the knowledge as to how to avoid decompression sickness or what they call ‘the bends.’
“They are free to contact Antigua Scuba school; we’d be happy to certify them. Even if they don’t want to be certified, we’d be happy to give them the information on decompression sickness,” Craig urged.
According to the diving instructor, who has about 30 years of experience in the field, inappropriate diving practices leading to decompression syndrome can only be treated using a recompression chamber. “This is something that needs medical attention so it’s important that if they find themselves in a situation, they contact EMS, but if they want to learn to avoid it, we are happy to help them,” she concluded.