Tobermory lifeboat to aid of diver suffering bends – as RNLI asks divers to assist in research

This evening, 27th August, the Tobermory lifeboat was out on its 33rd shout in 2013 – to the aid of a diver with suspected ‘bends’ – or decompression sickness ashore, on the same day that the RNLI has called on divers to help undertake research into diver safety.

The crew were preparing to attend the station for their weekly Tuesday night training session when their pagers went off shortly after 18.30.

The male diver  had developed possible symptoms of decompression sickness having come ashore in Tobermory. He was taken on to the Severn class lifeboat which launched at 18.50.

The lifeboat took him to rendezvous with Oban lifeboat in the Sound of Mull.

The casualty was transferred to Oban lifeboat which had a specialist dive doctor on board; and was then taken to Oban to be transferred to the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The ’shout’ came on the same day that the RNLI called on divers to assist the charity in research into participation and attitudes to safety in the sport – by taking part in an online survey which launched today.

Last year alone, 314 diving incidents were reported to the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).

The RNLI, in partnership with the British Diving Safety Group (BDSG), is asking divers and dive instructors in the UK to take ten minutes to complete an online survey.

This looks at:

  • their reasons for participating in diving;
  • how often they take to the water;
  • preferred methods and locations;
  • experience and training;
  • awareness of possible hazards;
  • and use of safety measures.

The findings will be used to help the RNLI and BDSG develop tailored and relevant safety messages for the diving community, to help make the sport even safer.

Tobermory’s full time Coxswain, Andrew McHaffie, says: ‘This was a timely reminder that whilst diving is a popular sport, problems can and do arise. This year alone, Tobermory RNLI has gone to the assistance of six divers.

‘Nationally, the RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crews have rescued 96 divers and saved 13 divers’ lives in the past five years.

‘The RNLI is hoping to hear from divers of all levels of experience, so we can then develop really targeted and relevant safety advice to help them enjoy their sport as safely as possible.’

The RNLi Survey for Divers – if you dive, please help

The online survey will run for nine weeks, during which time anyone who dives in the UK – no matter how often or what level of experience – is invited to click through to this online address and complete the short survey.

The research is being undertaken by Substance, on behalf of the RNLI.

To supplement the online survey, face-to-face surveys will be conducted at dive sites, charter boat launch and departure points, and at the NEC Dive Show (Dive 2013) in October.

In-depth interviews and focus groups will also be conducted. Divers wishing to take part in these are encouraged to contact Substance via the survey website linked above.


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