Coast Guard assists divers over weekend off Florida Keys

Guard Station Key West 45-foot Response Boat-Medium file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen.

Guard Station Key West 45-foot Response Boat-Medium file photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen.

MIAMI — Coast Guard assisted two divers Sunday after they became unresponsive in the water off the Florida Keys and needed emergency medical services to go to the hospital.

Sector Key West watchstanders were alerted by the dive boat operator of the Sea Star at approximately 10:30 a.m. that a 21 year-old diver came to the surface unconscious and not breathing, but became conscious and responsive when brought into the boat. The watchstanders coordinated to have EMS waiting for the Sea Star at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo and the woman was transported to Mariners Hospital. She is reported to be responsive and remaining in the hospital under observation.

Sector Key West watchstanders received a separate alert from the operator of the Pacific Fury, reporting a 61 year-old snorkeler became unresponsive and the crew was doing CPR approximately eight miles east of Tavernier Key. A Station Key West rescue crew arrived on scene and transferred the individual and a family member to awaiting EMS at the Coast Guard pier. She was transported to Lower Keys Hospital and later pronounced deceased.

“Diving is a popular sport in the keys, but it can come at a price,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Steven Evans, watchstander, Sector Key West. “It is important to check your dive equipment, follow all dive precautions, and if going out on a charter, communicate any medical concerns with the operator.”

The Coast Guard recommends that divers:

  • Get certified.
  • Check in with your doctor before diving.
  • Check the weather.
  • Check your gear.
  • Review and practice emergency procedures for situations such as free flow, mask flooding, and uncontrolled inflation of buoyancy compensator.
  • Don’t dive beyond your certification level.
  • Pay close attention to air usage and decompression time remaining.
  • Don’t enter wrecks without proper training and equipment.
  • Don’t dive alone.

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