The main reason Vince and I decided to visit Tenerife at this time of year was to enable us to try out some Atlantic Ocean Scuba Diving. Tenerife-approximately 4 and a half hours away from the UK and part of the Canary Islands, where the waters are not as cold as other European destinations, was our chosen location.
Now I’d finally moved through the fear and stood on the cusp of starting to build a strong foundation for my very small amount of confidence grown, after our recent diving trip to Thailand. I wanted to continue before I lost my nerve.
The only way of course to do this is to actually dip a fin in the ocean, deal with the inevitable difficulties that arise along the way, each time you dive somewhere new, with a different company.
Yet first things first – Vince’s dive medical proved itself to now be out of date on closer inspection and so it was time to take another trip up to the London Hyperbaric and Wound Healing Centre at Whipps Cross Hospital, where he had previously gone through a rigorous step test to ensure his body could withstand the strenuous exercise that can be involved with diving. Needless to say the more he did, the better he performed.
- PADI Dive Medical. £60
- Patient history statement. Printed off from the GP. £10 (Each GP may charge differently)
- A GP can perform a dive medical examination but many choose not too.
Although a PADI medical is mainly necessary for training purposes and we were popping over for a fun dive, we have found in communication that some companies like to ensure one of these forms is filled out whenever a new diver appears at a resort, so have made sure that both of ours are up to date.
I wondered if they just needed to know about any medication a person was on.
Dr Mattijn Buwalda responded,
“It’s not just to do with the medication, it is to do with the underlying issue and how the exertion involved in Scuba Diving puts the body under pressure when under the water.”
For each individual who learns and chooses to scuba dive, it is also about understanding the risks. This to me is exactly where personal responsibility lies.
- Obesity causes stress on the body’s internal organs.
- Certain medications can affect the level of consciousness in a person and so in turn can impact on them when diving.
- Studies are underway to assess how diabetes is affected by Scuba Diving.
The reality is though, that it is only because people have pushed the boundaries of accessing our underwater world (e.g not declaring asthma prior to diving) has meant an increase in the level of inducement in allowing those with certain medical conditions the ability to Scuba Dive.
In Vince’s case – (both times) the doctor’s main interest was in asthma, which he had suffered with as a child, because compressed oxygen (dry air) can have an affect on this. It is also important to find out how the asthma is induced.
Please remember that although these medicals are performed for the different organisations(PADI/BSAC) there are also country regulations specific to each place and as we have encountered in Australia previously, even if you have a dive medical and are proficiently trained, if the captain of the boat or the owner of the school is not willing to take the risk of taking you out. You ain’t going diving with them.
Have you taken a scuba diving medical and was it what you were expecting?
I’d love to know your thoughts…
Thanks to Liz- Patient Admin Manager for giving me permission to use photographs off the website.