Coast Guard presents award for commitment to diver safety

Pacific Southwest Coast Guard News
SAN DIEGO – The U.S. Coast Guard presented a San Diego County deputy medical examiner with a public service award for his contributions to diver safety in Southern California during a ceremony at the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, Thursday.

Capt. Sean Mahoney, Commander of Coast Guard Sector San Diego, presented the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation to Dr. Craig Nelson in recognition for his efforts from 2008 to January 2014 to further the Coast Guard’s marine safety mission in marine casualty investigations.

(Left to right) Cmdr. Monica Rochester, Dr. Craig Nelson, Capt. Sean Mahoney and Lt. John Downing pose for a photo following an award presentation at the San Diego County Medical Examiners Office, Jan. 9, 2014. Mahoney, the commander of Coast Guard Sector San Diego, presented Nelson, the San Diego deputy medical examiner, with the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation for his contributions to diver safety. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Capt. Sean Mahoney, the commander of Coast Guard Sector San Diego, presented Dr. Craig Nelson, the San Diego deputy medical examiner, with the Coast Guard Public Service Commendation for his contributions to diver safety. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

As chairman of the San Diego Diver Death Review Committee, Nelson worked with the Coast Guard, San Diego Police, San Diego Lifeguards and specialists from the University of California, San Diego, to investigate 16 diver deaths and identify ways to improve safety for recreational divers.

With extensive expertise in scuba diving and dive medicine Nelson assisted Coast Guard marine casualty investigators to gather more accurate, detailed, and credible evidence for the diver deaths. This included scientific review of dive equipment and a more comprehensive forensic study into the manner in which recreational divers died.

By effectively determining the root cause of the diver’s death, Nelson’s expertise helped the committee develop safety recommendations with the goal of preventing dive injuries and deaths.

Nelson also worked with the Coast Guard for a public outreach campaign focused on the safety of recreational divers by providing safety recommendations via public signage and informational brochures.

“Dr. Nelson’s contributions and expertise have been invaluable to the Coast Guard and are critical to our efforts in preventing more diver deaths,” said Mahoney. “His dedication to diver safety has been instrumental to our public outreach and a vital part of our marine casualty investigations.”

In the past year, there were six reported cases of recreational diving deaths and two diving related injuries off the San Diego coast, and more than 25 recreational SCUBA diving deaths and injuries throughout California.

For more information on diving safety, visit Survive The Dive.

 

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