Health

THE DIV­ING AGE

Scuba Diver Australasia - - Con­tents - Text by Rachel Ma­son

Div­ing can be stren­u­ous. There are tanks to lift, cur­rents to fin against, boats to clam­ber back onto, waves to walk through.

So, we know it’s im­por­tant to be in rea­son­able shape for ex­cur­sions be­neath the waves, but does this mean that there is an up­per age limit to your div­ing ca­reer? In short, no, but there are things you need to con­sider if you want to hap­pily dive on into your golden years.

Con­traindi­ca­tions & Health Screen­ing

A con­traindi­ca­tion is a con­di­tion, or cir­cum­stance, that would pre­clude you from div­ing at any age; how­ever, you need to be par­tic­u­larly aware of those that can de­velop with ad­vanc­ing years, e.g., heart dis­ease and type II di­a­betes are con­sid­ered to be con­traindi­ca­tions by DAN. An­nual “Fit to Dive” or health screen­ing is a great idea to keep your div­ing ac­tiv­i­ties alive and finning. Take your “Fit to Dive” cer­ti­fi­ca­tion with you to avoid any prob­lems when you get to your des­ti­na­tion!

Wa­ters New?

In the event of an emer­gency, could you man­age a pro­longed sur­face swim, or a buddy tow?

Con­sider chang­ing dive des­ti­na­tions and en­joy en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions that might be less stren­u­ous – warmer wa­ters with great vis­i­bil­ity and less cur­rent, com­bined with more con­ser­va­tive dive pro­files and in­creased sur­face in­ter­val times.

Skills Cir­cuit

Our dex­ter­ity can de­te­ri­o­rate with age, and our abil­ity to carry out our “skills” is for our safety, and that of our buddy, so a pe­ri­odic check that you are able and con­fi­dent in do­ing them is im­por­tant. Can you re­trieve your reg­u­la­tor from way over your shoul­der? Ask the DM or In­struc­tor to do a “skills check” with you on the first dive of the trip. Reg­u­lar skills cir­cuits will also help to keep your cir­cuits sharp…

On and Off the Boat

“Can I hand my gear up to the crew from the sur­face”, “Can I get out of the wa­ter?” Some of us have never ac­com­plished a dig­ni­fied fin up onto the boat edge – more of a heave and face plant into the bot­tom! But in all se­ri­ous­ness, are you still strong enough? Re­search op­tions like get­ting help kit­ting up or us­ing the lad­der, and just as sud­denly you are ready to rock and (back) roll!

Go Shop­ping – Re­ally.

Ad­vanc­ing years is a per­fectly le­git­i­mate ex­cuse,

(sorry, rea­son), to up­date your gear: a BCD that is lighter, eas­ier to get in and out of; more pow­er­ful fins; and re­duced wet­suit wrestling. What are you wait­ing for?!

Stay Fo­cused!

As we age it be­comes more dif­fi­cult to vis­ually fo­cus on ob­jects close to you, and whilst an SPG at arm’s length still works, this is not great news for pho­tog­ra­phers or macro en­thu­si­asts. It is not a happy oc­ca­sion when you can’t see the pygmy sea­horse, let me tell you. For­tu­nately you can solve this “age-old” prob­lem with re­place­ment pre­scrip­tion lenses or in­serts in your mask.

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