16 September 2005

Scuba diving and flying. How long should you wait to fly after diving?

If you paid attention during your beginner diving course, you should know that you are not supposed to fly after diving. The big question is how long must you wait?

This is a subject of great debate and really depends on what type of diving you have been doing.

If you dive before you fly, you put yourself at an increased risk of decompression sickness. Residual nitrogen that is still dissolved in your body at sea level could leach out of your system upon the airplane's ascent. The more nitrogen in your body, the more likely this would happen. You must give your body time to off gas the nitrogen.

The UHMS Flying After Diving Workshop has established the following guidelines for recreational divers:

1. Less than two hours no decompression diving in the last 48 hours - wait 12 hours.

2. Multi-day unlimited diving (no decompression) - wait 24 hours.

3. Dives with decompression stops - wait 24 - 48 hours.

My personal decision would be to wait at least 24 hours. It's better to be safe than sorry. The ultimate decision is yours.

Source: scuba.about.com


At 7:08 AM, Blogger Matthew said...

This is complete BS with no factual support. Technical dive Instructors can run a full class with 6 dives over 5 days to 200 plus feet and fly two hours after the last dive.

If you actually DO properly decompress and do not trap bubbles in your body, flying is not a problem.

However, I do agree anyone following a dive computer, especially a Suunto SHOULD wait at least 48 hours before flying after diving. They should also wait 24 hours after drinking a beer before diving. And if your over 80 years old, there is a decompression risk if you take a shower in water over 102 degrees. Its in the DAN archives, look it up!

At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I looked it up. You can find the answer at http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/news/article.asp?newsid=258

DAN Suggests:

Dives within the No-Decompression Limits:
- A Single No-Decompression Dive: A minimum preflight surface interval of 12 hours is suggested.
-Multiple Dives per Day or Multiple Days of Diving: A minimum preflight surface interval of 18 hours is suggested.

Dives Requiring Decompression Stops:
There is little experimental or published evidence on which to base a recommendation for decompression dives. A preflight surface interval substantially longer than 18 hours appears prudent.

So where does it say it's safe to fly 2 hours after diving? OOPS. It doesn't. Sounds like you're full of BS.

At 4:48 PM, Blogger Melt du Plooy said...

i'm not sure whether you noticed or not, we did not write the article. It is a article published by scuba.about.com (see http://scuba.about.com/od/divemedicine/a/flyinganddiving.htm)

Hence the reference to the Source...


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