Boating Safe – The Diver Alert Network

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Continuing with the theme I started last week, which was the result of a suggestion of one of our News-Herald readers, we will continue to look at recreational diving, which has had a long and positive connection with recreational boating for decades.

This week I want to spotlight an organization that every diver reading this column should consider joining – The Divers Alert Network or DAN. DAN has been around since 1980 and is 501.C(3) non-profit that has a primary mission which all of us can embrace – the safety and health of recreational divers.

Why do I feel so strongly about this organization? Actually, there are several reasons.

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First and foremost DAN’s provides unequalled support to divers. Let me give you an example. DAN operates a 24-hour emergency hotline 365 days a year 24 hours a day. If a diver is involved in a decompression illness the number to call is (919) 684-8111 and (919) 684-4DAN (4326).

These phone calls are answered at the switchboard of Duke University Medical Center. (A future column will look in depth at the 24-hour switchboard.

But DAN is even more than the 24-hour emergency line.

Other members include an ask a medic line Monday through Friday for non-emergency medical questions, $100,000 medical assistance insurance (if you run into a problem in the Lesser Antilles – such on the island of Anguilla, watch how fast you run through that money), accident insurance and some of the best education programs around for divers including among others &uot;Dive Accident First Aid for Non-Divers&uot;.

In addition, online seminars such as, &uot;Ears and Diving Seminar,&uot; provide divers a forum to learn about ears and ways to care for them when diving. The organization, at their web site,

http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/index.asp, produces in an online catalogue.

So what are you waiting for divers…learn about DAN…it’s worth a look. Until next week…boat safe and boat smart.