Scuba diving has become more and more popular. Seaside resorts situated near fragile coral reefs abound and are doing a good business with every day folks wishing to experience the different world that exists in the deep blue world. For those planning on flying off to their first scuba diving adventure, there is some rather crucial information to know before the return flight.
Accomplished and professional divers who need to go flying after diving will have learned through experience that flying directly after scuba diving is ill-advised. On the recreational scale where diving and flying is married into one chartered adventure, it can be quite easy to ignore the health and physical hazards. The excitement mounts and the adrenaline is pumping. The event needs to be planned for properly in order to avoid physical and sometimes even, fatal dangers.
But this article in no way suggests that you should be giving up on your endeavors. It’s just a matter of being a little more careful out there.
Pilots need to be licensed. But they are not expected to know much about diving. And first-time recreational divers may not be aware of the significance of time periods between diving and flying. The licensed professional diver can exercise responsibility, making affected parties aware of the implications of scuba diving and flying at close intervals and the need to master required techniques and discipline.
The Airman’s Information Manual warns about the potential for decompression sickness after scuba diving. It points out that pilots and passengers who intend to fly after scuba diving need to give their bodies more than enough time to rid it of excess nitrogen taken in during diving. If this is not observed, the abovementioned sickness will occur as a result of evolved gas during exposures to low altitude.
The Professional Association of Diving Instructors advises minimum preflight surface intervals of twelve hours for single dives. Repeat dives over several days require preflight surface intervals of at least 18 hours. The US Air Force recommends a full recovery day while, interestingly, the US Navy merely talks about recover times of two hours. It can only be assumed that such recoveries would apply to their highly trained divers who have already clocked a substantial number of diving (and flying) hours.
One standard recommendation is to deliberately schedule a down day before flying and after diving. Planned flights need to be scheduled for at least a day after a last dive, with two days between diving and flying being a premium ideal.
Seasoned divers who fly regularly (after diving) will be using dive computers. These PCs calculate accurately the correct time for a diver to commence flying (again, after diving).
And for the benefit of newcomers to diving, accurate calculations can be made, taking into account dive times, the number of dives and depths.
Opportunities to explore the deep blue seas are there to enjoy. Every encouragement will be given to newcomers to continue diving. And flying. But however you choose to do it, it’s just this matter of importance to keep in mind.