Are You Fit To Dive?

Are You Fit To Dive?

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.

  • Do not get dehydrated. Thailand is a hot country so you should drink plenty of water and try not to get too much sun. Stay in the shade where possible. Of course we all want to get a “healthy” tan, but please be careful with the sun.
  • Do not consume too much alcohol. There is plenty of it in Phuket, but leave it alone until after your diving. Alcohol and diving do not mix.
  • Eat healthy food! More of a general guideline really. Thai food is pretty healthy – you don’t see many overweight Thais. Also, be sure to eat enough food to keep your energy up on a dive trip.
  • Get plenty of rest. Do not party all night, even if you don’t touch any alcohol! You’ll enjoy your dives more if you’re well rested.
  • If you have a cold you may have trouble to equalise your air spaces – it’s probably best to wait before diving.
  • Don’t Smoke! Smoking is bad for your lungs! Plus second hand smoke can be a major annoyance for non smokers on a dive boat.
  • On a boat trip, if you suffer from seasickness, be sure to take medication in advance. If you feel bad, the best method may be to just “let it out”!

“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. Download the PADI Medical Statement Here.

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 Health Services for Divers and Tourists

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.

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