Procedures and Policies Governing Safety in Scuba Sport Diving: An Analysis of Alternatives



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Texas A&M University


This paper analyzes various safety procedures and policies associated with the sport of scuba diving. From this analysis, a comprehensive view of the various problems, advantages, and tradeoffs involved in the implementation of diving safety standards and practices can be obtained. There is general agreement from all interest groups associated with the sport of scuba that some forms of regulation are needed to insure the safety of participants. However, there is currently a great deal of controversy as to who should implement these standards and practices and how they should be implemented. Six alternative mechanisms for the implementation of diving safety standards and practices are presented in this paper. They are: 1) regulatory legislation, 2) self-regulation, 3) diving gear manufactures and marketing industry safety efforts, 4) joint safety efforts of the manufacturers and diving associations, 5) advisory board efforts for establishing safety guidelines, and 6) exclusion of diving activity. These regulatory mechanisms are evaluated using several factors central to judging the effectiveness of the alternative actions. The factors are: efforts for reducing scuba fatalities, enforceability, monetary cost, the restriction on participant to engage in the sport, and diver feedback. Each alternative action is analyzed according to each factor. Following the analysis there is an overall analysis of how each alternative mechanism affects the sport of scuba. From the analysis presented in this report, decision-makers will be able to extract information or foresee various factors, both positive and negative, involved in implementation of diving safety standards. Decision-makers should be better able as a result of this report, to evaluate all relevant variable concerned with safety in the sport when determining the practicality of further regulations.


89 pages


sport scuba diving