Lost or Missing 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 they were 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
Note: An agreed-upon lost buddy contact drill should be discussed by dive buddies prior to entry.
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