Divers Encouraged to GET IN SHAPE for Mini-Lobster Season
Officials from the Divers Alert Network (DAN) are encouraging divers to get prepared for next week’s “mini-Lobster” season in Florida. The two-day lobster sport diving season is July 29 and 30.
“Divers get excited and rush to dive without preparation, and most of them are out of shape,” said Petar Denoble, a physician who is the senior research director for the Divers Alert Network, a non-profit scuba diver safety organization. “They underestimate the level of exercise required for diving, particularly lobster diving.”
This year, it is estimated that 30,000 divers will go out for lobster during mini-season a large percentage will visit and dive in the Florida Keys. In the past four years, 14 divers have died in Florida during “mini-season”, 10 of those in the Florida Keys.
In comparison, only six divers died while hunting lobster statewide in the regular eight-month lobster season in the same 2005-08 period.
This year’s lobster sport-diving season arrives July 29 and 30.
There seems to be a higher percentage of diving deaths during the two-day season. Officials have different theories about why this occurs. “Our best guess is that mini-season may be the time many divers take their first plunge of the year,” Denoble says. “Or they’ve made relatively few dives thus far and haven’t gotten up to speed on their skills and conditioning…. The underwater chase, frequent ascents and many repetitive dives over the two-day season can take a toll, even on the most experienced divers.”
He pointed out that most of the mini-season deaths can be traced to heart problems in divers in their late 40s and older.
A lobster-season safety campaign was launched this spring to warn divers to check their equipment and be aware of physical demands. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association and DAN prepared the program.
To view the :30 second Public Service Announcement, click here: Florida Mini-Lobster Season PSA
“People who live a sedentary lifestyle must assume they are out of shape,” Denoble said. “Divers may try to chase lobster the same way they did it when they were 25. But at 50, it doesn’t work that way any more.”Denoble recommended that older divers have regular checkups, and exercise throughout the year.
For additional details about DAN – visit the website at www.DiversAlertNetwork.org