British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) figures show that 8 of the 14 diving deaths (57%) that occurred in the UK during this time period were divers aged 50 or over**.
In addition, over the past two years, all 9 diving fatalities attributed to medical causes were of divers in this same age range***. As a result, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is running a campaign to encourage divers aged over 50 to make sure they are fit enough to cope with the rigours of diving.
Nick Fecher, diving safety lead at the RNLI, said: ‘Divers in this age range are likely to be experienced, safety-conscious divers who are aware of the risks involved in diving. However, the greatest risk they face is their health being able to cope with the demands of diving.
‘I would encourage all divers, especially those aged over 50, to carry out a realistic and honest self-assessment of their health. Diving can be demanding on the body and if you have a medical emergency when you’re mid-dive, the consequences could be fatal. Don’t be afraid to say no to a dive if you have any concerns about your health, even if you’re just about to enter the water.’
As part of this campaign, the RNLI has created a dedicated webpage containing key information for divers in this age bracket. Targeted adverts will be running on Facebook in April, as well as in diving magazines and online encouraging these divers to visit the dedicated webpage.
This campaign aims to save lives by encouraging divers to consider their health in relation to their diving activities. The RNLI is encouraging all divers aged over 50 to consult their GP for a general health check. If the health check reveals any medical concerns, they should go and see an approved, registered diving doctor.
In 2014, RNLI lifeboats launched 90 times to diving-related incidents, rescuing 106 people and saving 5 lives.
For more information, including details on how to book an NHS health check and to see a list of UK sport diving medical committee referees, please visit the campaign webpage RNLI.org/divesafe.
The RNLI is aiming to halve the number of UK coastal deaths by 2024. The diving safety campaign is one of a number of targeted safety programmes the charity is running, under the umbrella of its national campaign Respect the Water, to try and save lives by giving water users tailored safety information specific to their sport or activity.
*The BSAC incident year ran from 1 October 2012 to 30 September 2013
**Source: BSAC Diving Incident Report 2013
***Source: BSAC Diving Incident Report 2014
Notes to editors
• Nick Fecher, diving safety lead at the RNLI, is available for interviews. To request an interview, please contact Luke Blissett using the below details.
• The artwork used in the campaign’s adverts is attached. Please credit RNLI.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Luke Blissett, RNLI PR Officer, on 01202 663184 or email luke_blissett@RNLI.org.uk. Alternatively, call the RNLI Press Office on 01202 336789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.