Heath and Fitness for Diving
Scuba diving does not require you to be an Olympic athlete, but health is an important issue. If you are considering diving for the first time, you should be in good health, especially your heart and lungs. You should be able to swim and be comfortable in the water. Mentally, you need a mature attitude and good judgment and self discipline – fun diving is safe diving!
Whether you are coming to Phuket for a dive trip such as a liveaboard or to learn how to dive, there are some basic guidelines to help you stay healthy during your stay.
“Am I Fit Enough to Dive?”
We are asked this question quite often. Almost everyone is going to be fit to dive, but some medical conditions can cause problems underwater so it is important to make sure that you know if you are medically fit to dive. When you start a PADI diving course, you are required to complete a medical statement to declare yourself fit to dive. This statement lists medical conditions that may be affected by diving so be sure to answer completely and honestly – it’s for your own safety. We can send a copy to you on request.
If any of the conditions listed applies to you, your instructor will ask you to consult a doctor before entering the water. To save time, you can always consult your own doctor before coming to Thailand. The PADI Medical Statement includes guidelines for you doctor.
What is Decompression Sickness?
Also known as “the bends”, decompression sickness is a condition caused by excess Nitrogen in the blood and body tissues forming tiny bubbles when a diver ascends to the surface (decompresses). Normally, if you follow safe diving limits by using dive tables and/or computers, you are at very very low risk of decompression sickness. You learn about this condition during the PADI Open Water course.
You cannot take a commercial flight directly after diving, as the ambient pressure in the cabin is too low and can lead to Nitrogen bubble formation. The latest recommendation is to wait at least 18 hours after multiple dives before flying.
Phuket, as a major tourist destination has some excellent health travel services. There are 2 International Hospitals, 3 recompression chambers, and a plethora of clinics, dentists, and even such things as plastic surgery and laser eye surgery. Indeed, medical tourism is booming!
For divers, the most important place is the Bangkok Phuket International Hospital, which is home to the Diving Medicine Center. Here you find a recompression chamber and there is another just down the road at the Vachira hospital. Also, the doctors here are the local diving medicine experts and this is the best place for a dive medical check up. The hospital has a 24 hour emergency room and a 24 emergency number – 1719 – plus air evac and ambulance services.
And there is another chamber at the Phuket International Hospital – the SSS Chamber has been open in Phuket since 1996.
We recommend that all divers have travel and medical insurance, as well as cancellation insurance. Be sure that your insurance policy covers scuba diving! However, prevention is better than cure, so dive safely, follow the rules, use tables and computers and stay healthy!
Insurance for Divers
All divers should have personal Travel Insurance – be very sure that your insurance covers scuba diving. We recommend insurance from DAN, Dive Assure or World Nomads. Or you can pay 250 Baht per diving day to us when booking for coverage up to 500,000 Baht from Viriyah Insurance. We also suggest you have trip cancellation insurance.