Scuba Diving Dangers

Scuba Diving is a popular recreational activity for cruise ship passengers and adventure seekers on cruise expeditions. Many of the largest cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Disney Cruises frequent oases in the Caribbean or Mediterranean where Scuba Diving is a most common amusement. According to Scubanomics, over 2.7 million Americans went scuba diving in the last year. While these activities can provide unforgettable experiences, unfortunate incidents may occur, leading to serious injuries or even fatalities. According to Diver Magazine, approximately 100 Americans die every year directly from scuba diving accidents. 

  • Equipment Malfunctions: Defective or poorly maintained scuba diving equipment can lead to accidents underwater.
  • Running out of Breathing Gas: this point is almost entirely predicated on poor training, preparation, and inadequate maintenance. 
  • Inadequate Training: Insufficient or improper training provided by cruise companies can contribute to accidents and injuries.
  • Negligence: Failure on the part of cruise ship operators or expedition companies to ensure a safe diving environment can result in legal liability.

Scuba Diving injuries are often very serious, and demand immediate medical attention. Given the obvious fact that the average human body was not built for the underwater pressure and nature of ocean diving, scuba divers are inherently vulnerable to a number of potentially dangerous factors. 

Here is a list of the most common Scuba injuries:

  • Barotrauma:
    • Ear Barotrauma: Changes in pressure can cause ear pain, eardrum rupture, or other ear injuries.
    • Sinus Barotrauma: Pressure changes can affect the sinuses, leading to discomfort and sinus barotrauma.
  • Decompression Sickness (DCS):
    • The Bends: Occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in the bloodstream and tissues due to rapid ascent, causing joint and muscle pain, dizziness, and other symptoms.
  • Nitrogen Narcosis:
    • “Rapture of the Deep”: Inhalation of nitrogen at depth can cause temporary confusion, poor decision-making, and impaired cognitive function.
  • Oxygen Toxicity:
    • Central Nervous System (CNS) Toxicity: High levels of oxygen can lead to seizures and other central nervous system issues.
  • Drowning:
    • Asphyxiation: Accidents such as running out of air, equipment failure, or loss of consciousness can result in drowning.
  • Hyperoxia:
    • Pulmonary Oxygen Toxicity: Excessive exposure to high levels of oxygen can lead to respiratory issues, including coughing and difficulty breathing.
  • Hypothermia:
    • Cold Water Exposure: Prolonged exposure to cold water can lead to hypothermia, causing a drop in body temperature and impaired physical and mental function.
  • Injuries from Marine Life:
    • Coral Cuts and Scrapes: Contact with sharp coral can cause cuts and abrasions.
    • Stings and Bites: Jellyfish stings, sea urchin spines, or bites from marine animals can result in injuries.
  • Trauma and Impact Injuries:
    • Collisions: Accidental collisions with underwater structures, rocks, or other divers can cause contusions, fractures, or lacerations.
  • Equipment-Related Injuries:
    • Entanglement: Getting caught in equipment, lines, or nets can lead to injuries.
    • Diving Mask Squeeze: Improper equalization can cause facial injuries, including bruising around the eyes.
  • Diving Accidents:
    • Boat Accidents: Injuries can occur during boat entry or exit, or in accidents involving dive boats.
    • Underwater Navigation Errors: Getting lost or disoriented underwater can lead to exhaustion, anxiety, and potential injuries.
  • Dehydration and Exhaustion:
    • Heat-Related Illness: In warm waters, divers may experience dehydration or heat exhaustion.
  • Anxiety and Panic-Related Injuries:
    • Injuries Resulting from Panic: Panic underwater can lead to rapid ascent, increasing the risk of decompression sickness and barotrauma.

It is essential for divers to undergo proper training, adhere to safety guidelines, and be aware of their own physical limitations to minimize the risk of these common injuries associated with scuba diving. Mostly, however, the safety of a diving experience is largely dependent on the operator/company running the show. This is why you have to make sure if you are going on an expedition with a company, that you make sure it is affiliated with the cruise line if you are on a cruise, or that it is a highly regulated one which follows safety protocols. Regular medical check-ups and staying informed about diving conditions also contribute to a safer diving experience.

How We Can Help

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a scuba diving accident associated with a cruise ship or cruise expedition, our legal team is here to help. We have a successful track record of holding cruise lines, scuba operators, and other negligent parties accountable for their safety failures. Our attorneys specialize in maritime law and have a deep understanding of the unique challenges posed by scuba diving accidents in the cruise industry. We have a history of achieving favorable outcomes for our clients, obtaining compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Aronfeld Trial Lawyers understands the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a scuba diving accident can take. Our team is committed to providing compassionate and personalized legal representation. Contact us today!