Posted by Ken Kurtis on November 06, 2000 at 23:34:45:
In Reply to: Re: Diving in the '60's posted by kelphead on November 06, 2000 at 20:37:43:
(Kelphead posted) i've wondered myself if the injury/mortality rate is higher now than then, but w/o any hard data, it's only guesswork . . .
You're right about the guesswork part. Since the industry cert agencies (PADI, NAUI, etc.) don't release annual numbers, and there's no way to tell how many of those people who got certified continue diving.
So we have the raw numbers of injured divers (numerator) but don't know the total diving population (denominator) to figure a rate.
DAN, although founded in 1980, has fatality numbers that go back to 1970. (The data - pre-DAN - was collected by the University of Rhode Island. Don't know if pre-1970 numbers are available.)
The dive injury stats (bends and embolisms) only go back to 1987 and range from a low of just under 600 (1988) to a high of just under 1200 in 1994. But remember that DAN may not be notified about every injury case, so the "real" numbers could be higher.
The fatalities, I would assume, are probably more accurate since there's fewer to track and they get more discussion within the industry.
For fatalities, the numbers range from a low of 66 (1988) to a high of 147 (1976). For the 29 years DAN has stats for, they've recorded a total of 2937 deaths, for an average of 101 per year.
If you break it down by decade, in 1970-79 there were 1236 deaths (124/yr. avg.). 1980-89 shows 903 deaths (90/yr. avg.). 1990-98 (DAN won't release the '99 data until January) showed 798 deaths (89/yr. avg.), with '96-'98 averaging 84/yr.
If you look at the annual number of deaths and assume that there are more active divers now than there were back in the 70s, you perhaps can make an argument that the divers HAVE gotten safer over the years, or conversely, that it was more dangerous back in the pre-computer, pre-SPG, pre-octopus days.
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, Ca.
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