Western Australian recreational scuba diving fatalities, 1992 to 2005

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2009 Jun;33(3):212-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2009.00377.x.


Objective: To investigate recreational scuba diving fatalities within Western Australia (WA) between 1992 and 2005.

Methods: Coroners reports for 24 diving fatalities were reviewed to determine anthropometry, certification status and breaches of safe practices for each.

Results: Certification status was known for 20 divers and of these six (30%) were uncertified. Certified divers breached significantly fewer safe diving practices than uncertified divers (p<0.01). Existing regulatory mechanisms require training certification only for dives made from commercial dive boats, yet the number of deaths involving shore dives or private craft (n=15) were triple the number diving from commercial boats (n=5).

Conclusion: Uncertified divers are less regulated and breach more safe practices than certified divers.

Implications: We recommend changes to existing regulations governing dives made from shore and private craft in WA, requiring that all divers be certified.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Certification
  • Diving* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Diving* / statistics & numerical data
  • Drowning / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Western Australia / epidemiology
  • Young Adult