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,, 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.