IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL BY PLANE BEFORE AND AFTER DIVING?

Have you decided to treat yourself to a diving excursion in warm waters? Then you'll have to be careful, flying and diving don't mix well. Subea is here to give you some tips on flying safely before and after a diving trip!

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Many divers organise diving trips to discover more exotic flora and fauna! However, exotic locations usually involves a plane trip... Every diver must clearly understand that aircraft and scuba diving don't mix well, and that you must be extremely vigilant before and after a dive when you have to fly. Subea gives you a few safety tips to ensure a safe flight!

DECOMPRESSION ACCIDENTS

In scuba diving, the pressurized breathing air forms small gas bubbles in the body that will disappear with time. The deeper you dive, the greater the presence of gas in your body. But don't be afraid! Once your dive is over and you ascend, these little bubbles naturally and harmlessly disappear. On the other hand, it must be noted that this accumulation of gas in your body combined with a decrease in the surrounding pressure can lead to major problems and, in particular, to a decompression accident. This is when flying after diving entails risks. In fact, aircraft cabins are pressurized once at altitude, and this can cause an increase in the volume of nitrogen still present in your body. This pressure difference can cause a decompression accident. To avoid any inconvenience of this kind, the "no-flight" times between the last dive and your next flight must be observed.

A DIVE RIGHT AFTER FLYING?

It's true that one might think that there's no risk from diving shortly after flying... But that would be a mistake! Indeed, there are several reasons for this : first of all, a long journey causes fatigue to our body and being tired increases the risk of having a decompression accident! In addition, our body needs good desaturation after being confronted with atmospheric pressures ; otherwise, you might suffer a cardiovascular problem.

In other words, be careful! The excitement and the urge to go diving is certainly strong, but tread carefully after your flight so as not to have any problems and thus spoil your diving holiday.

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FLYING AFTER DIVING

Before you can fly, you'll have to wait! The time between your last dive and your next flight will vary, and it depends mainly on your diving depth and the total time spent under water. Depending on these 2 parameters, the amount of gas accumulated in your body will be more or less substantial. You must anticipate and comply with your no-flight time!

Here are some guidelines for the no-flight times after your dives :- If you've dived for under 2 hours, without a decompression stop, an interval of 12 hours is required before flying.- In case of a deep dive, i.e. deeper than 15 metres, plan for a no-flight time of 24 hours because your body has to "off-gas" more accumulated nitrogen.- Similarly, if you've dived several times each day, wait at least 24 hours before flying!

OUR LAST TIPS BEFORE YOU HEAD HOME

- Decompression stops must be observed to reduce the risk.- Check the settings of your dive computer. Some have a feature that indicates the desaturation time for the nitrogen accumulated in your body!- ALWAYS schedule an interval between your last dive and your next flight.- Avoid having a boozy night at the end of your stay because alcohol promotes dehydration and increases the risk of a decompression accident.

Watchwords before getting back on the plane : hydrate and rest!

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ARTICLE CO-WRITTEN WITH

Victor, retail assistant at Decathlon in Dunkirk
I'm a retail assistant in the diving and surf sports department at Decathlon in Dunkirk. I began diving during my internship, 4 years ago. Then I had an opportunity to start going through my levels. Today, I'm up to FFESSM (French Federation of Undersea Studies and Sports) Level 1.

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