In every basic open water class we talk about DAN, Divers Alert Network. We tell our students that DAN membership and insurance is so affordable and that they should consider joining. I think we should take it one step farther and you should have DAN, just like you have a save a dive kit.
Most of you have heard the story of the young man who worked in the shop that somehow separated his shoulder at the crater and how DAN paid his medical bills. But, I was told a story this week that really brings home how important it is to have DAN with you on any trip.
A diver, not newly certified, but not very experienced was diving in Cozumel. Now, we consider Cozumel easy diving and a great place to go for the newly certified or low-level of experience; but there are some more highly advanced dives on the south of the island and the currents can become very wicked and there is even the potential of down currents. This diver was with a small group of divers and definitely the least experienced of the group. During the briefing the dive master stated that the currents were very strong on this site, but this diver didn’t think or realize just how strong the current was. The plan was to drop down to the sandy bottom at 30 feet and then slip over the wall and drift along. The problem was that the current was so strong that as soon as they hit the water they were no longer over the sandy bottom. As they started their descent this diver got caught in a strong down current and was pushed down fast.
By the time the dive master realized what was happening and caught the diver they were at 200 feet. The dive master was able to bring the diver slowly back to the surface where they immediately called for help and then called DAN. DAN advised the diver to get to the hospital and even told the diver that if they were not there in 10 minutes they would send someone to pick them up. Dan then called the hospital and arranged for treatment of this diver. The story does have a happy ending as the diver made a full recovery from the pulmonary embolism that was developing.
And this diver never saw a bill as DAN paid the entire cost.
So, is DAN in your dive bag?