As a dive centre, of course we would love to teach diving to every single person on this planet. Unfortunately, we can’t. Diving is fun and safe if you follow the rules and if your body is working properly. When underwater, we are under more pressure than usual. With a medical condition or medication, our lungs, heart and brain might not cope with that pressure.
Before every dive course you will have to read the medical questionnaire. It contains questions about your physical and mental state. If you are healthy and are answering all questions with No, you are fit to dive.
If you answer one or more questions with Yes, you might not be able to dive.
Some conditions or medications will exclude you from diving immediately while others will still allow you to dive.
In some cases, we can consult our hyperbaric doctor, Dr Henrik Friis-Juhl and he will be able to help out.
Let’s take the question: “Have you ever had, or do you currently have back, arm or leg problems following surgery, injury or fracture?” If you broke your arm several years ago and you are now able to move it without pain and without taking medication, we will happily take you diving.
In other cases, you will have to consult a doctor that knows your medical history and the effects of your condition/medication while diving. This can be the case for asthma, diabetes, cancer and some mental disorders that are treated with medication.
Healthy does not mean fit to dive
If you have a medical condition and need to get a clearance from a doctor, make sure it clearly says “fit for scuba diving”. Not long ago we had a request from a guest who wanted to learn to dive. They had suffered from epilepsy in their youth so went to see the doctor that had treated them in that time. The doctor wrote a letter saying that they no longer suffer from epilepsy. It did not say they were fit to scuba dive. When checking with PADI if they would accept the letter as medical clearance, PADI said no. The guests had to visit a hyperbaric doctor who eventually decided that they were not fit to dive.
We know that these visits to specialists also come at a cost and hassle. However, if they clear you for diving, it will be the start of a wonderful diving adventure. If you don’t get a clearance with your medical condition then this is for good reason. You should be happy that you didn’t put yourself in a dangerous situation that could have cost your life. You can still enjoy the under waterworld, snorkelling is fun too!
What if I lie about my medical condition?
The easy way out to going diving with a medical condition would be to answer – dishonestly – all the questions with No. Well, this is not how it works. Not disclosing your medical conditions can put you at risk to injure yourself during a dive or even die. And it is not only yourself that you would put in jeopardy, but also your dive instructor.
We have an excellent team of dive instructors, but none of us are hyperbaric doctors. When in doubt, safety comes first and we will not take the risk of taking you diving. We would rather lose the business we would make with you than go to your funeral (not to mention all the paperwork that would be involved). This is not because we want to spoil your holiday but because we want to see you going home healthy.
In some countries like Australia, every diver who would like to participate in a dive course has to get a medical clearance from a doctor. One of the reasons of establishing this law was that too many divers died after lying on their medical questionnaire.
If you’re planning to dive with us and you have a medical condition, please download the medical questionnaire and let your physician fill in, sign and date the second page. Medical clearances are valid for one year.