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Reef Report for Sunday, July 31, 2011

Do you need a Dive Medical to Dive on the Great Barrier Reef?
A guide for divers and snorkelers.

Queensland has one of the safest recreational dive industries in the world, in part due to the medical clearance requirements that dive trip operators follow. This guide should help you figure out what sort of requirements you may face, and help you avoid the last minute surprises and dramas that can ruin a holiday. A nuisance? Possibly, but these requirements are aimed at protecting your health. While not being able to dive might be a nuisance, seriously injuring yourself while diving or snorkeling would be far worse, and thatís what these health screening procedures aim to do.

Certified Divers: If you are already a certified diver youíll be asked to fill out a diver information form, which will have some basic medical history questions on it. If you are in good health thereís no problem, you are going diving.

If you have chronic health problems, recently had surgery, or are recovering from injury or illness you may not be able to dive. In these cases youíll want to bring a not from your doctor, or even better a dive medical specialist, describing your condition and clearing you to dive. We recommend you work with us to have any medical issues reviewed in advance, to prevent any last minute surprises.

Older divers may be asked about their current health, if you are over 60 itís a good idea to carry a letter signed by your doctor clearing you do scuba dive.

In certain cases of complex medical issues you may be asked to get an Australian dive medical clearance. While this clearance physical is relatively short and inexpensive, advance planning is needed if you are on a tight holiday schedule. If you feel you might fall into this category please contact us in advance and we will help you through the process.

Referral Dive Course Students: If you have done your pool and classroom work in a dive course at home and are planning to complete the ocean diving portion of your dive course here on the Great Barrier Reef you will have to meet the Australian Dive Medical Standards. (Called the ANSI 4005.1 standard.)

You may find that the dive doctor you have there can sign off on the Australian Standards, ask them, and be sure that your dive medical clearly has a signed statement saying that the medical has been done to the ANSI 4005.1 standard.

The ANSI standards are more stringent than overseas dive medicals. Persons under 14 and asthmatics are the groups that may pass the dive medical in their home country, but fail the Australian Dive Medical. If you are a parent of a younger dive student you should try and have them complete their dive medical there at home, junior aged certified divers are allowed to dive, and do not have to take the Australian Dive Medical. If you have asthma that requires medication of any kind then itís unlikely that you will pass the Australian Dive Medical.

Snorkellers and Snorkellers doing introductory scuba dives: Youíll be required to fill out the same diver information form as a certified diver. If you are in good health thereís no problem, you are going be able to snorkel and do an introductory scuba dive if you like.

If you have chronic health problems, recently had surgery, or are recovering from injury or illness you may not be able to dive. In these cases youíll want to bring a not from your doctor, or even better a dive medical specialist, describing your condition and clearing you to dive. We recommend you work with us to have any medical issues reviewed in advance, to prevent any last minute surprises.

Older persons may be asked about their current health, if you are over 60 itís a good idea to carry a letter signed by your doctor clearing you do scuba dive. If you have complex medical issues itís wise to work with us in advance of your visit.

(C) DiveTheReef The weekly reef report is written by Joel Groberg of DiveTheReef.com, who compiles them from the many conversations he has with dive staff in the area, as well as† many other local sources in the dive community.

Index of all reef reports.

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