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Supervising resort divers

In nearly all fatal resort dive incidents, the introductory diver was separated from their supervising dive instructor. Dive instructors should use a combination of techniques to prevent divers becoming separated while underwater.

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    • A dive instructor was supervising four resort divers. They were swimming in single file behind the instructor when one diver stopped to look at fish under a coral bommie. The instructor was facing forward and continued swimming, unaware that a diver had been left behind.

      The diver nudged his mask on the coral and it filled with water. He panicked, rushed to the surface, and suffered a serious lung expansion injury.

      ON SCREEN TEXT: Supervising resort divers

      Most resort or introductory divers have limited experience.

      In nearly all fatal resort dive incidents, the diver was separated from their supervising dive instructor.

      You must ensure all resort divers are adequately supervised by an experienced instructor so that this doesn't happen on one of your dives.

      The instructor must be competent to conduct resort diving at the dive site, by documented induction training or training specific to resort diving from a dive training organisation.

      Never have more than four divers to one instructor or six divers to one instructor with a certified assistant.

      The ratio of divers per instructor should be even less when:

      • divers' ability, fitness, and confidence levels are low
      • there are non-English speaking divers with limited ability to understand instructions or
      • poor underwater visibility, strong currents or a rough surface make dive conditions more difficult.

      Divers must be thoroughly briefed about emergency ascent procedures and how to maintain positive buoyancy on the surface of the water.

      During the dive, instructors and certified assistants should position themselves where they can immediately help all divers.

      There are many ways to prevent divers becoming separated from the group:

      • Hold hands or link arms with each other.
      • Swim alongside rather than behind each other.
      • The instructor or assistants can swim facing backwards.
      • Swim using a stop - start technique.
      • Stay close to a chosen point.

      Remember, dive instructors should be experienced in their role and use a combination of techniques to prevent divers becoming separated from the group.

      Work safe. Home safe.

      For more information visit or call 1300 369 915.

      ON SCREEN TEXT: Workplace Health and Safety Queensland would like to thank Reef Magic Cruises Cairns, Dive Career Centre and crew for their participation in this film.

      ON SCREEN TEXT: © The State of Queensland (Department of Justice and Attorney-General) 2014.

      Copyright protects this film. The State of Queensland has no objection to this material being reproduced, but asserts its right to be recognised as author of the original material and the right to have the material unaltered. The material presented in this film is distributed by the Queensland Government as an information source only.

      The State of Queensland makes no statements, representations, or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this film, and the viewer should not rely on it.

      The Queensland Government disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including, without limitation, liability in negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way, and for any reason.

      RUN TIME: 2:52

Last updated
13 October 2016

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