Advice on selecting and using drysuits added to this site.


Advice on avoiding free flowing regulators and concerning equipment handling after an incident added to this site. LINK


The 2005 figures for open water diving accidents reported by HM Coastguard reveal that while fatalities are down from 2004, the overall number of accidents has risen slightly. During 2005, HM Coastguard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres reported a total of 254 open water diving related accidents, and these incidents ranged from cases of decompression illness and medical emergencies to broken down vessels.

Thirteen fatalities have been recorded, with one case reported 'previously missing' (body found of a previously missing person). The greatest single incident category remains decompression illness (DCI) which accounts for 70 incidents alone, with a further 45 attributed to rapid ascent, which may have developed into DCI. Medical emergencies also accounted for 27 which may not have been diving related but arose from a pre-supposing medical conditions.

The south coast of the UK again saw the highest number of accidents reported reflecting its popularity and accessibility as one of the premier diving areas in the country.

Peter Brown of the MCA said:

''Open water diving is an exhilarating and healthy sport enjoyed by many millions of recreational divers around the world. Some 2 million dives take place each year in the UK mostly during our warmer water periods. In comparison to the numbers of people actually diving, our Coastguard Search & Rescue accident statistics are relatively small, which is a credit to the agencies and organisations who manage and deliver training within the sport.

However, as diving carries such high inherent risk, if something does go wrong whilst diving, the consequences can be quite severe both in terms of the urgent need for search & rescue assistance, and the subsequent need for intensive, specialist and perhaps long-term medical care.

Together with our colleagues in the British Diving Safety Group, we strongly urge divers to maintain their personal fitness and to make sure that their training and equipment is to the required standard.

If something does go wrong when diving, please alert the Coastguard as early as possible, so we can take preparatory or immediate action.

If you have any medical concerns, we can connect you within minutes to a diving medical doctor for advice.

With regards to obtaining medical assistance and advice, it should also be noted that the contact telephone number for divers in Scotland has changed. The new number is 0845 4086008. For all other UK regions the Institute of Naval Medicine (telephone number 07831151523) remains the first point of contact.


This afternoon Solent Coastguard have co-ordinated two simultaneous search and rescues with regards to diving incidents on the south coast.

The first incident was just after midday, seven miles south of Littlehampton, where a diver had resurfaced and was found to be unconscious; he was airlifted by Coastguard rescue helicopter to Queen Alexandra Hospital. The second incident was twenty-five minutes later when two divers were reported missing at Outer Mulberries dive site (off Pagham Harbour, east of Selsey Bill) and were due to have resurfaced at 12:10 hours. The casualties were subsequently recovered by a pleasure craft which had responded to an emergency broadcast put out by Solent Coastguard. The casualties were taken ashore by the Selsey RNLI lifeboat crew, where they then received medical attention.

Mike O’Sullivan, Watch Manager, Solent Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, says:

“The diving incidents that we have assisted with today have all followed best practise and we would like to pass on our sympathy to the family and friends of the diver who we believe to have experienced a cardiac arrest whilst diving south of Littlehampton.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind the divers of best practise before setting out:

1. Be physically and medically fit, and have in date medical certification.
2. Practise all procedures, including emergencies in shallow water.
3. Have equipment regularly serviced as recommended by manufactures’ and check equipment in shallow water before full dive.
4. Carry surface location aids.
5. Insure your equipment against loss of theft.
6. Boat and engine(s) should be regularly serviced.
7. Boat engines to have propeller guards
8. Boat checks to include correct kit on board.
9. Ensure VHF radio is in good working order.
10. Oxygen bottles are full. Most importantly is to know how to contact the COASTGUARD, and be prepared for helicopter evacuation.”


Earlier this afternoon Humber Coastguard coordinated a search for two missing wreck divers following a Mayday distress call.

An RAF Rescue Helicopter and the warship 'Severn' proceeded at speed to the area south of Flamborough Head in Bridlington Bay from where the distress call emanated. RNLI lifeboats from Flamborough and Bridlington and local vessels also joined the search.

The fishing vessel 'Moyall', one of first craft to the search area located the divers waving identification flags and the divers were recovered to their dive boat `Leeds Diver 1' and were escorted back to the launching site.

Humber Coastguard Watch Manager Tony Ellis said: "From the initial distress call to recovery was only 37 minutes, partially due to the prompt communication from the dive marshal to the Coastguard and the swift response of the search units. Our thanks to one and all.!


At two o'clock this afternoon, Humber Coastguard received a call from the leisure dive boat 'Providence' approximately 20 miles off Bridlington, East Yorkshire, reporting one of their divers missing.

The diver had been seen to surface but looked distressed, and as the 'Providence' proceeded towards him he submerged and was lost from sight. RNLI lifeboats from Humber and Bridlington and Hornsea Independent Rescue boat were requested to launch to search for the missing man.

Rescue Helicopter 131 was scrambled from RAF Boulmer and is also searching the area under the coordination of Humber Coastguard. In response to a VHF radio broadcast from Humber Coastguard, the warship 'Ledbury' was diverted from her operations and is now proceeding at full speed to assist. She is equipped with divers and also has decompression facilities should they be required.

The weather conditions on scene are good with 10 miles visibility, and the search is continuing at this time. Fred Caygill, from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: "It is unknown at this stage as to the reasons for this diver to disappear from the surface after ascending from his dive. All efforts are being made to try and locate him. It is recommended that vessels inform the Coastguard when departing and returning form their trip, where they are diving, and the duration of their activity."


At the National Conference of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on 24 October 2006, Sir David Rowlands KCB Permanent Secretary, Department for Transport announced that the Auxiliary Coastguard Service would officially be renamed the 'Coastguard Rescue Service'.

The Auxiliary Coastguards of Her Majesty's Coastguard would also now be known as 'Coastguard Rescue Officers'.

Peter Dymond, Chief Coastguard, Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: "This is very much welcomed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and is a reflection of the Search and Rescue professionalism and capability of the Coastguard Rescue Service which provides a front line Search and Rescue response around the coast of the United Kingdom .

It also enhances the profile of the service, not just to our colleagues in the other three Emergency services, but also to the public.

We will continue to provide a first class service to the people of the United Kingdom in the delivery of search and rescue.

For further information please contact: Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press Office (023) 8032 9401

The new British Diving Safety Group 'Advice to Divers Chartering Dive Boats' have been released.

Advice to Divers Chartering Dive Boats


Portland Coastguard assisted a female paraglider this afternoon after she crashed into cliffs at Ringstead Bay and fell into the sea.

The Coastguard received a number of 999 calls at 2.30 pm today reporting the incident. Lulworth and Wyke Coastguard Rescue Teams and the Coastguard Rescue helicopter Whiskey Bravo were requested to attend the scene. Dorset ambulance and the Dorset police boat also attended.

A diving group who happened to be in the vicinity at the time saw the incident occurring and rushed to the aid of the paraglider. They managed to assist her out of the water, despite the fact that she had fairly serious injuries. Once on the beach she was stabilized by a house doctor and paramedic who also happened to be on scene.

Once the helicopter arrived on scene the woman was transferred to a stretcher, then airlifted to Dorchester Hospital.

Nigel Robson Watch Manager says: "This was an unusual incident with a positive outcome in that the woman was found quickly and transferred to Dorchester Hospital with serious but not life threatening injuries. We would like to thank the six divers who came very quickly to her assistance and helped her to the shore, where the helicopter was able to safely transfer her on board and take her to hospital. Our thanks also to the doctor and paramedic who stabilized her."

The British Diving Safety Group published general guidelines for the use of Surface Marker Buoys, with particular reference to the use of Delayed Surface Marker Buoys in routine and emergency situations. The advice is intended to help standardise UK diving practices in this respect.

BDSG Advice Regarding DSMBs


Copies of the popular Diving Safely pack are still available and can be obtained from any of the member organisations of the BDSG, if you have any difficulty, contact the RNLI on 0800 328 0600. The pack contains a comprehensive range of free safety information published and endorsed by the diving- related member organisations of the BDSG.

Each Organisation involved in the BDSG is committed to ensuring the best possible advice and safety information is available to all those who dive - from the organisations who train divers to those organisations who help in the life saving process during diving emergencies, both at sea and on dry land.

As the popularity of recreational diving increases, it is crucial to raise awareness of the importance of safe diving practice. The British Diving Safety Group promote accident prevention points such as dive planning, fitness, training, rescue skills and resuscitation. We hope that the free Diving Safely pack will help divers to stay safe.

(The Diving Safely Pack can also be downloaded from Safety Info section of this site).



Copyright © 2005 British Diving Safety Group.