LOST DIVER PROCEDURES
What are the recommended procedures in the event a diver does not resurface when expected?
• Assess the degree of urgency; Consider time overdue, planned dive profile (max depth, total dive time) and possible decompression and breathing gas status
• Question the dive buddy if available to determine;
- any obvious problem
- where and when the missing diver was last seen, what the diver was doing and the direction in which the diver was swimming
- maximum depth reached
- last known tank contents and likely consumption
- diving experience and condition of the missing diver
- diver’s likely action in the event of separation and/or emergency
- where buddy surfaced relative to the separation point
• Reassess the degree of urgency in light of the information gathered
• Buoy the area where the diver was last seen
• Place a lookout at the highest possible vantage point
• Scan the surface/shoreline for divers and bubbles
• Check the diver has not boarded any neighbouring boats
• Consider whether it is necessary to conduct an underwater search, a surface search, or both
• If it appears a search is necessary, recall all divers. If an underwater search is to be conducted, prepare the standby divers. Determine who can participate in a search without compromising anyone’s safety.
• If bubbles are visible, send in a pair of standby divers to investigate
• Phone or radio for help (you can use the PAN-PAN urgency call on the radio) Notify the Coast Guard.
• Utilise any available boats and divers and prepare an appropriate search
• Consider current movement/change. Concentrate the search down-current from where the diver was last seen but also check up-current
• Do not endanger the search divers
An agreed-upon lost buddy contact drill should be discussed by dive buddies prior to entry.