San Diego Coast Guard, public service agencies to host diver safety outreach event

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SAN DIEGO — Divers are invited to attend a diver safety event hosted by the Coast Guard and other public service agencies at La Jolla Shores Beach, Saturday.

The event will be at Kellogg Park from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“The rise in tragic diving accidents this season is alarming,” said Capt. Jonathan Spaner, Coast Guard Sector San Diego commander. “Southern California is a perfect place for many types of diving. The Coast Guard is responsible for maritime safety, security and environmental stewardship, and we encourage everyone to take the necessary steps to make sure they have a safe dive.”

Since lobster season opened on Sept. 28, there have been five dive related deaths and two injuries in Southern California.

All divers are urged to exercise caution and remember the following safety tips before diving.

FIVE TOP DIVE SAFETY TIPS

1. Have a medical assessment by a doctor before diving.

2. Always dive with a buddy, and leave details of your dive trip with someone ashore who will report you overdue if you run into trouble.

3. Plan your dive, follow your plan, and provide your emergency plan to someone on shore.

4. Choose dives that match your training, experience and fitness level.

5. Practice emergency procedures, like dropping your weight belt and inflating your buoyancy compensator, in a controlled environment.

The normal hazards of water sports and recreation are more dangerous for those spending time below the surface. Strong ocean and rip currents can occur at any time of year. Water temperatures, limited air supply, reliance on equipment for survival, and the lack of underwater rescue capabilities all make it essential that divers are fully aware of their own limits and prepared for all possible problems.

Diving safety experts report that many accidents stem from people underestimating the hazards associated with diving, and overestimating their own physical fitness and skill levels. They stress the importance of the buddy system, planning, fitness and medical issues, and awareness of weather and sea conditions.

Divers should not let schedules, peer pressure or costs push them beyond their capabilities. People who have invested time and money to plan a dive trip, or sport fishers anxious to harvest fish during a set season, may be tempted to dive in unsafe conditions or overexert themselves. It’s a good idea to have an alternate activity planned in case a dive trip has to be cancelled for weather, equipment, or health problems.

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