Fitness to Dive

Alcohol and Tablets

Diving at work requires a high degree of physical and mental fitness. Although a diver may possess a valid certificate of medical fitness to dive issued by an Approved Medical Examiner of Divers, this does not necessarily mean that the diver is fit to dive on the day of the dive.

Diver's Duty

Divers must not dive if they are not in good health or are in any way unfit (physically or mentally) to do so. Even a minor illness (for example, a common cold or a dental problem) can have serious effects on a diver under pressure and should be reported to the diving supervisor before the start of the dive. Regulation 17(4) of the Diving Regulations requires that "a diver shall not take part in a diving project if unfit to do so and should immediately inform the diving supervisor should he or she become unfit to dive during a diving project". Failure to do so may endanger other members of the dive team and is considered an offence.

Diving Supervisor's Duty

Regulation 14(5) of the Diving Regulations also states that "a diving supervisor shall not permit any diver to take part in a diving operation if, in the opinion of the diving supervisor, that diver is not fit and competent to dive". A diving supervisor who permits an obviously unfit diver to dive endangers the other members of the dive team and commits an offence.

Supervisors should take account of divers who have not dived on a regular basis due to the pandemic. Such divers may need to be assessed with regard to their ability and fitness to dive prior to taking part in any diving operation.

Diving Post COVID-19 Infection

Covid-19 infection can have significant effects on many of the body’s organs and systems which, in turn, have implications for a diver's fitness to dive. The extent to which these effects may persist is not yet clear and there is no international consensus as to when it is safe to return to diving.  

It is possible to catch Covid-19 infection and be unaware that you have done so (you were asymptomatic). However, even asymptomatic and mild infections may result in underlying abnormalities that may only become apparent at times of physical demand, such as when diving. Possible residual effects on the pulmonary (lungs), cardiac (heart) and clotting systems are of particular importance in fitness to dive.

As a result, any diver who have been diagnosed with or suspected of having Covid-19 infection, should consult with an Approved Medical Examiner of Divers (AMED) prior to returning to diving.