You are on page 1of 31

List of diving hazards and precautions

The aquatic environment

Hazard Any liquid environment.

Consequences Asphyxia by drowning.

Cause Inhalation of liquid (water), usually causing laryngospasm and suffocation caused by water entering the lungs and preventing the absorption of oxygen leading to cerebral hypoxia.[3]

Avoidance and prevention Avoid out of air emergencies underwater. Provide appropriate buoyancy. Avoid or prevent accidents resulting in unconsciousness. Use of a full face mask. Use of helmet. Use of surface supplied diving equipment with voice communications. Adequate swimming skills and fitness for the circumstances. Use of snorkel when appropriate. Lifejackets which hold the wearer's face above the water may be worn when appropriate.

[edit] Use of breathing equipment in an underwater environment

Hazard Oxygen partial pressure in the breathing gas is too low to sustain normal activity or consciousness. Consequences Hypoxia: Reduced level of consciousness, seizures, coma, death. Severe hypoxia induces a blue discoloration of the skin, called cyanosis, but this may also be present in a diver due to peripheral vasoconstriction resulting from exposure to cold. Cause Equipment failure: A faulty or misused rebreather can provide the diver with hypoxic gas.

Avoidance and prevention Correct maintenance, preparation and pre-use procedures and checks.

Correct use of recommended procedures and checklists when preparing for use.

Adequate and redundant instrumentation for monitoring gas quality during use. Constant vigilance during use.

There is typically no warning of onset or development. The extreme case, anoxia, implies an absence of oxygen and is rapidly fatal.

Adequate bailout facilities in case of failure. Adequate training in the use of rebreathers in general and the specific model. Gas requirements planned to suit the intended dive profile. Use of a travel mix for descent and a decompression mix for ascent through the depth range where the bottom gas is hypoxic. Safe procedures used for gas changes.[6]

Some breathing gas mixtures for deep diving such as trimix and heliox are hypoxic at shallow depths, and do not contain enough oxygen to maintain consciousness, or sometimes life, at or near the surface.[5]

Gas switches planned and executed at appropriate depths.[5] Depth and ascent rate accurately monitored and controlled. Clear and unambiguous identification of cylinder gases.

Adequate training in the use of mixed gases. Routine periodical inspection and testing of cylinders. Analysis of oxygen fraction of gas before use, particularly if cylinder has been stored for a long time. Appropriate maintenance and servicing of equipment. Inspection of the external condition, and testing of the function of equipment before use. Use only of equipment in good working condition. Connection and mounting of equipment to minimise risk of damage. Avoidance of damage to equipment during dives. Use of two fully independent breathing gas

Internal corrosion of full cylinder standing for a long time can potentially use up some of the oxygen in the contained gas before the diver uses the cylinder.[citation needed]

Loss of breathing gas supply.

May result in drowning, occasionally asphyxia without water aspiration.

Equipment failure: Several modes are possible.

Closing and jamming of the cylinder valve by rolloff[7] on an overhead.[8] Rupture of a bursting disc[9] overpressure protection on a cylinder valve. Rupture of a regulator hose or loss of the end component, leaving an open hose end. Unrecoverable free flow[10] of a second

stage. Freezing of a first stage regulator, locking the valve mechanism open, and consequent free flow of the demand valve due to excessive interstage pressure. O-ring failure at the connection of a regulator to a cylinder valve.

supplies.[11] Use of bailout gas supply. The buddy system, when correctly followed, allows the diver's buddy to supply breathing gas in an emergency. "H" or "Y" type cylinder valves or manifolded twin cylinders with two cylinder valves allow the dysfunctional supply to be closed to prevent total loss, and the other regulator to be used for the remaining gas supply. Dual independent cylinders ensure that if one cylinder supply fails there is another available. Use of DIN connections can reduce the risk of catastrophic O-ring failure.[12] Emergency free ascent may be possible, and is generally more survivable than drowning. Adequate training of divers. Disciplined attitude and situational awareness during dives. Use of reserve valve. Use of surface supplied diving equipment. Use of bailout gas supply. The buddy system, when correctly followed, allows the diver's buddy to supply breathing gas in an emergency. Situational awareness underwater. Use of a diver's net cutter, or dive tool/knife to cut free of entanglement. Carrying sufficient gas in reserve to allow a reasonable amount of time to deal with emergencies. Appropriate safety equipment and procedures to avoid getting lost (cave lines).

Running out of breathing gas because of poor gas monitoring discipline[13]

Running out of breathing gas because of being trapped by nets or lines

Running out of breathing gas because of being trapped or lost in enclosed spaces underwater, such

as caves or shipwrecks.

Specific training for overhead diving. See cave diving and wreck diving. Assess stability of underwater structures and avoid entry if a structure is unstable. Appropriate maintenance and servicing of equipment. Inspect external condition and test function before use.(specifically test the seal of exhaust valves and possible leaks in the second stage casing and mouthpiece before opening the cylinder valve). Use equipment only if it is in good working condition. Use of alternative air source if DV breathes wet during dive. The technique of inhaling slowly and using the tongue to deflect spray particles may be effective as a temporary mitigation.

Inhalation of salt spray

Salt water aspiration syndrome: a Inhaling a mist of sea water from a faulty demand reaction to salt in the lungs. Early valve symptoms are:[14]

Post-dive cough, with or without sputum, usually suppressed during the dive. In serious cases the sputum may be bloodstained, frothy and copious. Over time further symptoms may develop, including:

rigors, tremors or shivering; anorexia, nausea or vomiting; hot or cold sensations; dyspnoea; cough; sputum; headaches; malaise; and generalised aches. Contaminated air supplied by a compressor which sucked in products of combustion, often its own engine's exhaust gas. Aggravated by increased

Carbon monoxide contamination

Carbon monoxide poisoning.

Adequate precautions to ensure that intake is in uncontaminated air when operating breathing air compressors.

of breathing gas

partial pressure due to depth. Initial symptoms include: headache, nausea, malaise, and fatigue.[15]

Headache is the most common symptom; it is often described as dull, frontal, and continuous.[16]

Periodical air quality testing of compressors. Use of compressor output filter containing "Hopcalite" catalyst to convert possible carbon monoxide contamination to less hazardous carbon dioxide. Test air quality before use (portable carbon monoxide analysers are available and may be worth using in places where air quality is questionable) Air contaminated with carbon monoxide is often contaminated by substances which have a smell or taste. Air which smells or tastes of exhaust fumes should not be breathed. Adequate maintenance of the compressor. Use of correct oil rated for breathing air compressor lubrication. Ensure compressor running temperature is within manufacturer's specifications. Ensure adequate supply of cooling air to compressor. Compressor should not be run when ambient temperatures exceed manufacturer's limits.

Increasing exposure produces cardiac Oil getting into the air and partially oxidising in the abnormalities including [citation fast heart rate, low blood compressor cylinder, like in a diesel engine needed] , due to worn seals and use of unsuitable oils, pressure, and cardiac arrhythmia;[17][18] central or an overheated compressor. nervous system symptoms include delirium, hallucinations, dizziness, unsteady gait, confusion, seizures, central nervous system depression, unconsciousness, respiratory arrest, and death.[19][20] Caused by inhaling oil mist. This may happen gradually over a long time and is a particular risk with a surface supplied air feed.

Hydrocarbon (oil) contamination of air supply.

Emphysema or lipid pneumonia (more to be added)

Use of a suitable separators and air filter after compression.

Monitor and drain separators and change filters as necessary.

Periodic testing of delivered air quality.

Smell and taste can distinguish oil contamination in many cases. Passing a metered quantity of the air through an absorbent filter paper may show up an oil deposit Directing air flow onto a clean mirror surface or glass sheet may show gross contamination

Excessive carbon dioxide in breathing gas

Carbon dioxide poisoning or hypercapnia.[21][22]

Symptoms and signs of early hypercapnia include: flushed skin, full pulse, increased breathing rate, shortness of breath, muscle twitches, hand flaps, reduced neural activity, headache, confusion, lethargy, increased cardiac output, an elevation in arterial blood pressure, and a tendency for cardiac arrhythmias.[23][24] In severe hypercapnia (generally partial pressure of CO2 greater than 10 kPa), symptoms progress to disorientation, panic, hyperventilation, convulsions, unconsciousness, and eventually death.[25][26]

Re-inhaling carbon dioxide-laden exhaled gas due to excessive dead space in breathing apparatus. Shallow breathing - not exchanging sufficient air during a breathing cycle.

Minimise the volume of any enclosed spaces which the diver breathes through. For example, this can happen with diving with a large "bubblehead" helmet. Avoiding breathing shallow (low volume) breaths. Adequate maintenance of rebreathers. Correct packing and assembly of scrubber canisters. Pre-use inspection and testing of rebreathers using an appropriate checklist. Use of correct scrubber absorbent material. Use of absorbent that is of good working quality. Discard absorbent after use. Use of carbon dioxide monitoring instruments. Adequate training in the recognition of hypercapnia before using a rebreather. Bail-out to open circuit if carbon dioxide levels get too high. Siting the compressor air intake in an area of fresh air and ducting it to the compressor. Passing intake air through a carbon dioxide scrubber element before compression. Periodical air quality testing of compressors.

The scrubber of a diving rebreather, fails to absorb enough of the carbon dioxide in recirculated breathing gas. This can be due to the scrubber absorbent being exhausted, the scrubber being too small, or the absorbent being badly packed or loose, causing "tunneling" and "scrubber breakthrough" when the gas emerging from the scrubber contains excessive carbon dioxide.

Filling of cylinders with compressed air taken from an area of raised concentration of carbon dioxide.

Breathing the

Consequences depend on the

The wrong gas was put in a cylinder.

Cylinders should be filled by competent people.

wrong gas

circumstances, but may include oxygen toxicity, hypoxia, nitrogen narcosis, anoxia, and toxic effects of gases not intended for breathing. Death or serious injury is likely.

A cylinder was marked or labelled incorrectly. A correctly labelled cylinder was mistaken by the user. The diver unintentionally switches to the wrong gas during a dive.

Clear instructions, preferably written, for the composition of the gas to be mixed will reduce the risk of filling with the wrong gas. Clear, unambiguous and legible labels indicating maximum operating depth and cylinder contents, applied in a way that the user will be able to positively identify the gas at the time when it is to be used can prevent confusion and inadvertent use of the wrong gas. Analysing gas after filling, before accepting delivery, and before use (before the dive) may detect errors in labelling or composition in time to take corrective action. Procedures designed to positively identify the gas may be used when switching mixes. Valves which change gas mixes may be fitted with a positive interlock preventing accidental or inadvertent switching, and may include a method of confirming the gas connected by feel. Use of full face mask reduces risk of loss of DV as it is strapped to the head and can not be dropped if the diver loses consciousness. Adequate training and practice of DV recovery skills. Use of an alternative air source such as octopus DV or bailout cylinder which can be used if the primary DV is not immediately accessible. Mounting the alternative air source and DV so that it is easily accessible in an emergency and protected from damage when not in use.

Displacement of demand valve (DV) from the diver's mouth.

Inability to breathe until demand valve is replaced. This should not normally be a major problem as techniques for DV recovery are part of basic training. Nevertheless it is an urgent problem and may be exacerbated by loss of the mask and/or disorientation.

Unconscious diver releases grip on mouthpiece. DV is forcibly knocked or pulled from the diver's mouth by impact with surroundings or another diver.

[edit] Exposure to a pressurised environment and pressure changes

See also: barotrauma and pressure

[edit] Pressure changes during descent

Hazard Sudden chilling of the inner ear. Consequences Vertigo, including dizziness and disorientation, particularly if one side is more chilled than the other. Cause Avoidance and prevention

Cold water in the outer ear passage, Use of a hood to keep the head covered. Water leaking into chilling the inner ear, particularly severe if the hood will warm up before entering the external auditory the eardrum is ruptured. opening and will be reasonably warm before reaching the eardrum, and will soon reach body temperature if flushing is minimised The pressure in the middle ear not equalizing with external (ambient) pressure, usually due to failure to clear the Eustachian tube.[27] Reversed ear may be caused by the outer ear passage being blocked and the pressure remaining low, while the middle ear pressure increases by equalising with ambient pressure through the eustachian tubes, casing a pressure differential and stretching the eardrum, which may eventually rupture.[28] Obstruction to the sinus ducts leading to pressure differences between the interior of the sinus and the external pressure.[29] Caused by local low pressure in the air space inside a diving half-mask. Ambient pressure increase during descent not balanced inside mask air space. Ears can be equalized early and often during the descent, before the stretching is painful. The diver can check if the ears will clear on the surface as a precondition for diving[27]

Pressure difference over eardrum

Burst or stretched eardrum: The eardrum is stretched due to a pressure difference between the outer and middle ear spaces. If the eardrum stretches sufficiently, it may rupture, which is more painful. Water entering the middle ear may cause vertigo when the inner ear is cooled. Contaminants in the water may cause infection.[27]

The hood should not make an airtight seal over the outside ear opening. Sealed earplugs should never be worn while diving.[28]

Pressure difference between paranasal sinus and ambient pressure. Localised low pressure in the diving mask.

Sinus squeeze: Damage to the sinuses usually resulting in pain, and often burst blood vessels and nosebleed.[29] Mask squeeze: Squeeze damage to blood vessels around the eyes[30]

Do not dive with conditions such as the common cold or allergies which cause nasal congestion[29]

Mask squeeze can be avoided by allowing air into the mask through the nose whenever the pressure difference is noticeable. A fullface mask will automatically equalise through the demand valve. Air filled eyes-only goggles can not be equalised and are not suitable for diving.

Reduction of volume of airspace in drysuit.

Loss of buoyancy. Suit squeeze injury (usually restricted to bruising and minor abrasion) to skin.[30]

Volume of air in a drysuit reduces as pressure increases with depth. Skin may be pinched by folds in a drysuit as the air inside is compressed.

Modern drysuits have a low pressure air hose connection and valve to inflate the drysuit from the cylinder. Adding sufficient air to maintain the bulk of the undersuit will prevent suit squeeze and stabilize buoyancy of the suit.

Pressure difference between lung gas contents and ambient pressure

Lung squeeze: Lung damage

Free diving to extreme depth.

It can be avoided by limiting free diving depth to capacity of lungs to compensate,[31] and by training exercises to increase compliance of chest cavity.[citation needed] Maintenance and pre-dive tests of non-return valves on the helmet or full face mask.

Rupture or supply pressure failure of a surface supply hose with simultaneous failure of the non-return valve.[31] In severe cases much of the diver's body could be mangled and compacted inside the helmet, however, this requires substantial pressure difference, or by a sudden considerable increase in depth, as when the diver falls off a cliff or wreck and descends faster than the air supply can keep up with the pressure increase.

Helmet squeeze, with the old standard diving dress. (This can not happen with scuba or where there is no rigid pressure-tight helmet)

A non-return valve in the air supply line to Appropriate maintenance and daily pre-use testing of nonthe helmet failing (or absent on the return valves earliest models of this type of diving suit), accompanied by a failure of the air compressor (on the surface) to pump enough air into the suit for the gas pressure inside the suit to remain equal to the outside pressure of the water, or a burst air supply hose. A sudden large increase in ambient pressure due to sudden depth increase, when the air supply can not compensate fast enough to prevent compression of the air in the suit.

The squeeze due to depth changes was more likely when the air supply was powered by men. Motorised compressors are usually able to supply air much faster, so an adequate air reservoir on the compressor should prevent this problem. The diver may be prevented from sinking too deep by minimizing slack in the lifeline or umbilical. The diver may work at neutral buoyancy when there is a risk of falling off a structure, or may clip on to the structure, but this presents a hazard of entrapment.

Tooth squeeze[32]

Toothache, most often affects divers with

Any gas space inside a tooth due to decay

Tooth squeeze may be avoided by ensuring good dental

preexisting pathology in the oral cavity[33]

or poor quality fillings or caps may allow tissue inside the tooth to be squeezed into the gap causing pain. Buouyancy loss due to compression of foam neoprene wet or drysuit material.

hygiene and that all fillings and caps are free of air spaces.

Suit compression.

Loss of buoyancy may lead to:

Uncontrolled descent. Inability to achieve neutral buoyancy. Inability to surface due to insufficient buoyancy Difficulty in controlling depth and ascent rate. This can be critical when decompression is required, and oxygen rich breathing gases are used.

Use of buoyancy compensator with volume appropriate to expected buoyancy variation during dive. Use of appropriate ballast weight for dive profile and equipment in use. Use of inflation system for replacing lost volume in drysuits. Excessive weighting makes buoyancy control more difficult and loss of control more likely. Adequate training and practice of buoyancy control skills.

[edit] Pressure changes during ascent

Hazard Lung overpressure: Pressure in lungs exceeds ambient pressure. Consequences Pulmonary barotrauma (Lung overexpansion injury) - rupture of lung tissue allowing air to enter tissues, blood vessels, or spaces between or surrounding organs:

Cause Failing to maintain an open airway to release expanding air while ascending.

Avoidance and prevention Divers should not hold their breath while ascending after diving with breathing apparatus:

Pneumothorax: Free air in the pleural cavity, leading to collapsed lung. Interstitial emphysema: Gas trapped in the spaces between tissues.

The best option is to breathe normally while ascending when possible, and exhale during free ascent.[34] Forced exhalation before starting an emergency free ascent may increase risk of lung overpressure injury.[34]

Mediastinal emphysema: Gas trapped around the


Subcutaneous emphysema: Free gas under the skin. Arterial Gas embolism: Air or other breathing gas in the blood stream, causing blockage of small blood vessels. Blockage of the sinus's duct, preventing trapped air in a sinus from equalising with the pharanx.

Sinus overpressure.

Sinus overpressure injury is commonly restricted to rupture of mucous membrane and small blood vessels, but can be more serious and involve bone damage.[citation

Middle ear overpressure

Injury (reversed ear) of eardrum stretching Blocked Eustachian tube fails to allow or bursting outwards due to expansion of pressure to equalise middle ear with the air in the middle ear upper airway.

Not diving with nasal congestion, e.g. Hay fever, or the common cold. Checking pefore a dive to ensure that sinuses and middle ears will equalise without undue effort. Systemic decongestants have been used successfully, but may have undesirable side-effects, and there is a risk that they will wear off before surfacing. Topical decongestants do not usually have sufficient lasting effect.

Overpressure within a Tooth squeeze/Toothache, may affect cavity in a tooth, usually divers with preexisting pathology in the under a filling or cap. oral cavity.

Tooth pain, loss of fillings, cracking of teeth.

Gas may find its way unto a cavity in the tooth or under a filling or cap during a dive and become trapped. During ascent, this gas will exert pressure inside the tooth.

Good dental hygiene, and maintenance of dental repairs to prevent or remove potential gas traps.

Suit and BC expansion

Loss of buoyancy control - uncontrolled ascent.

Expansion of neoprene suit material, gas content of dry suits and buoyancy compensators increasing buoyancy of the diver.

Automatic dump valves in dry suits. Monitoring of buoyancy on a continuous basis when in mid-water, and manually adjusting volume of buoyancy compensator when necessary. Appropriate training and practice to develop good buoyancy control skills to suit the equipment in use. Ability to recover from inversion in dry suit. Maintaining the minimum air volume for adequate liner bulk maintenance in a dry suit, as this prevents

excessive buoyancy shifts. This implies use of BC for buoyancy control, not the suit. Minimizing weighting to what is actually necessary, so compensatory air volume is minimized. This reduces the magnitude and rate of buoyancy change with pressure change.

[edit] Breathing gases at high ambient pressure

Hazard Medium to long term exposure to high partial pressures (>c1.3 bar) of inert gas (usually N2 or He) in the breathing gas. Consequences Decompression sickness ("the bends"): Injury due to gas bubbles expanding in the tissues and causing damage, or gas bubbles in the arterial circulation causing emboli and cutting off blood supply to tissues downstream of the blockage. Cause Gas dissolved in tissues under pressure during the dive according to Henry's Law coming out of solution and forming bubbles if the ascent and decompression is too fast to allow safe elimination of the gas by diffusion into the capillaries and transport to the lungs where it can diffuse into the respiratory gas. Although rare, decompression sickness is possible in free-diving (breathhold diving) when many deep dives are done in succession. (See also taravana). A high partial pressure of nitrogen in the nerve tissues. (other gases may also have narcotic effect, to varying degrees).

Avoidance and prevention Decompress to suit the dive profile and gas mixtures used. Use appropriate ascent rates and decompression stops. Oxygen-rich gas mixtures may be used to accelerate decompression. Use depth control aids to maintain correct decompression depth. Avoid dehydration and hypothermia. Maintain cardiovascular fitness.

Short term (immediate onset) exposure to high partial pressure (>c2.4 bar) of nitrogen in the breathing gas:

Nitrogen narcosis:

A reversible alteration in consciousness that occurs while diving at depth. A state similar to alcohol intoxication or nitrous oxide inhalation. The most dangerous aspects of narcosis are the loss of decisionmaking ability and focus, and impaired judgement, multi-tasking

Use of less narcotic gases to dilute the breathing gas, or Limit the partial pressure of narcotic gases at maximum depth by limiting the depth of the dive.

Related to the increased solubility of gases in body tissues at elevated pressure.[35] Inert gases dissolving in the lipid bilayer of cell membranes may cause narcosis.[36] Other possibilities include neurotransmitter receptor protein

and coordination. Other effects include vertigo, and visual or auditory disturbances, exhilaration, giddiness, extreme anxiety, depression, or paranoia, depending on the individual diver.


Short term (minutes to hours) exposure to high partial pressure (>c1.6 bar) of oxygen in the breathing gas.

Acute oxygen toxicity:

Convulsions similar to epileptic seizure. Loss of consciousness may occur with no warning, or may be preceded by any of the following symptoms:

Breathing gas with too high a partial pressure of oxygen, risk becomes significant at partial pressures exceeding 1.6 bar (partial pressure depends upon proportion of oxygen in the breathing gas, and depth)

Appropriate training before using a rebreather or oxygen enriched gases such as nitrox. Correct labeling of cylinders containing mixed breathing gases, specifying oxygen fraction and maximum operating depth. Accurate monitoring of dive depth to ensure that gases are not used below the appropriate maximum operating depth for the mixture.

Muscle twitching, Tinnitus, Blurred or tunnel vision, Disorientation, Aphasia, Nystagmus, Incoordination Breathing gas at too high a partial pressure of oxygen, Risk is significant at a partial pressure in excess of 0.5 atmospheres pressure for long periods and increases with higher partial pressure even for shorter exposures.

Long term (hours to Chronic oxygen toxicity: days) exposure to moderately raised partial Signs of pulmonary toxicity begin pressure (>0.5 bar) of with inflammation of the upper oxygen in the breathing airways. gas. Temporarily reduced lung capacity. Acute respiratory distress syndrome. Exposure to a high High Pressure Nervous Syndrome partial pressure(>15 bar) (HPNS):

Not normally a risk for recreational divers due to short exposures. Limit use of rich nitrox mixtures and pure oxygen for accelerated decompression. Limit exposure by calculating Oxygen Toxicity Units for pre-existing and planned exposures and keeping below recommended limits. Most likely to be encountered in recompression treatment for decompression illness. The susceptibility of divers to HPNS varies over a wide range depending on the individual, but has little

HPNS has two components:

of helium in the breathing gas.

Symptoms include:

[38] [39]

visual disturbance nausea dizziness decreased mental performance tremors myoclonic jerking somnolence EEG changes

The compression effects may occur when descending below 500 feet (150 m) at rates greater than a few metres per minute, but reduce within a few hours once the pressure has stabilised. The effects from depth become significant at depths exceeding 1,000 feet (300 m) and remain regardless of the time spent at that depth.[39]

variation between different dives by the same diver.[39] Use another diving technique, such as an atmospheric diving suit, submersible or ROV. Including other gases in the mix, such as nitrogen (creating trimix) or hydrogen to make (hydreliox) suppresses the neurological effects.[40][41][42]

[edit] The specific diving environment

Hazard Exposure to cold water during a dive, and cold environment before or after a dive, wind chill. Consequences Hypothermia: Reduced core temperature, shivering, loss of strength, reduced level of conscuousness, loss of consciousness and eventually death. Cause Loss of body heat to the water or other surroundings. Water carries heat away far more effectively than air. Evaporative cooling on the surface is also an effective mechanism of heat loss, and can affect divers in wet diving suits while travelling on boats.

Avoidance and prevention Diving suits are available which are suited to a wide range of water temperature down to freezing.[43] The appropriate level of insulation for the conditions will reduce heat loss. In extreme conditions and when helium based mixtures are in use as breathing gas, heated suits may be necessary[citation needed]. On the surface, wind chill can be avoided by staying out of the wind, staying dry, and suitable protective clothing. Some parts of the body, particularly the head,[43] are more prone to heat loss and insulation of these areas is correspondingly important.

Nonfreezing Cold Injuries (NFCI).

Exposure of the extremities in water temperatures below 12C (53.6F)

Hand and Foot Temperature Limits to avoid NFCI:[44]

Fully Functional 18C (64.4F) Non Freezing Cold

Injury Threshold < Week. 12C (54F) approximately 3 hours. 8C (46.4F) for maximum of 30 min. 6C (42.8F) immediate rewarming required.

Protection in order of effectiveness:

Dry gloves attached to drysuit without wrist seal.[44] Dry gloves with wrist seal. Wet suit (neoprene) gloves. Rubberised cloth or leather gloves.

Muscular cramps

Inadequate insulation Reduced perfusion to the legs and feet (occasionally hands)

Better insulation and/or suit fit

Hard corals

Coral cuts - Infected lacerations of the skin.

Sharp coral skeleton edges lacerating or abrading exposed skin, contaminating the wound with coral tissue and pathogenic microorganisms. Contact with sharp edges.

Coral cuts may be prevented by avoiding contact of unprotected skin with coral. Protective clothing such as wet-suit, dry suit, skin/lycra suit or overalls are effective. Most cuts may be avoided by wearing protective clothing such as wet-suit, dry suit, skin/lycra suit or overalls. Avoiding high risk areas such as shipwrecks during strong water movements such as surge or currents is also effective. Strength and skill in avoiding contact with sharp edges will help, but does not eliminate the risk when water movement is strong. Avoid contact with benthic organisms. Protective clothing such as exposure suits, lycra

Sharp edges of rock, metal, etc.

Lacerations and abrasions of the skin, possibly deeper wounds.

Stinging hydroids.

Stinging skin rash, local swelling and inflammation

Contact of bare skin with fire coral

skins, or overalls are effective. Stinging jellyfish Stinging skin rash, local swelling and inflammation, sometimes extremely painful, occasionally dangerous or even fatal A deep puncture or laceration which leaves venom in the wound Some species of jellyfish (free swimming cnidaria) have stinging cells which are toxic to humans, and will inject venom on contact with the skin. Defensive reaction of a sting ray when disturbed or threatened, by lashing out with the venomous spine on the tail.

Avoid contact with jellyfish tentacles. Protective clothing such as exposure suits, lycra skins, or overalls is effective. Stingrays can usually be avoided by not poking about on the bottom where they may be hiding, partly or completely buried under a thin layer of sand. The risk is usually greater when wading, when the wader may inadvertently step on a buried ray. Rays are usually very shy and will usually swim away when approached Risk of injury may be avoided by not molesting or threatening the animals when seen, and by staying a safe distance from the tail


Tropical reef environment

Reef rash: General or localised stinging or A generic catch-all term that refers to the A full-body exposure suit can prevent direct skin to inflammation of the skin. may include various cuts, scrapes, bruises and skin environment contact. allergic reactions. conditions that result from diving in tropical waters. This may include sunburn, mild jellyfish stings, sea lice bites, fire coral inflammation and other skin injuries that a diver may get on exposed skin. Puncture wounds with venom injection. Often extremely painful and may be fatal in rare cases. Lionfish, stonefish, crown of thorns starfish, some sea urchins in warm seas

Fish and invertebrates with venomous spines.

Most of these animals are sedentary and nonaggressive and may be avoided if seen and recognised in time. The risk is often greater when wading. Some protection is provided by rubber soled neoprene diving boots, but hard soled boots are more effective. Found only in parts of the Pacific Ocean from Japan

Venomous octopus

Local envenomation at site of bite wound.

The Blue ringed octopus may on rare

Extremely painful and may result in death. occsions bite a diver.

to Australia. The octopus is unlikely to be aggressive, and is not likely to bite unless handled. However it can be well camouflaged against the reef and difficult to see, so not contacting the reef is the most reliable way to avoid contact. Consult location-specific information to determine risk. Never molest even apparently docile sharks underwater. Consult local information on risk. Stay out of waters known to be inhabited by crocodiles.


Lacerations by shark teeth can involve deep wounds, loss of tissue and amputation, with major blood loss. In extreme cases death may result, Lacerations and punctures by teeth, brute force tearing of tissues. Possibility of drowning. (description of injury to go here)

Attack or investigation by shark with bites. Risk is location, conditions, and species dependent.


Crocodiles, in some tropical waters

Titan triggerfish

This tropical Indo-Pacific fish is very territorial during breeding season and will attack and bite divers The Giant grouper Epinephelus lanceolatus can grow very big in tropical waters, where protected from attack by sharks. There have been cases of very large groupers trying to swallow humans.[45][46][47][48][49] Defense machanism of Electric eel, in some South American fresh waters Defense mechanism of Electric ray, in some tropical to warm temperate seas It is said that some naval anti-frogman defences use electric shock[citation needed]

Keep a lookout for the fish and move away if they act aggressively.

Very large groupers.

Bite wounds, bruising and crushing injuries.[citation needed]

Get local information on risk. Stay clear of very large specimens. Do not attempt to feed the fish, they may take more than is offered.

Electric shock

Electrical discharge that will startle and may stun the diver

Get local information on risk. Do not touch the animals if seen. Do not touch the animal. Keep out of armed forces areas

Powerful ultrasound

(description of injury to go here)

It is said that some naval anti-frogman defences use powerful ultrasound[citation needed] . Also used for long-range communication with submarines[citation needed] Most high power sonar is used for submarine detection and target acquisition.[citation needed] Leptospirosis infection (Weil's disease) is commonly transmitted to humans by allowing water that has been contaminated by animal urine to come in contact with unhealed breaks in the skin, the eyes, or with the mucous membranes. Outside of tropical areas, leptospirosis cases have a relatively distinct seasonality with most of them occurring in spring and autumn. Schistosomiasis (bilharzia) is a parasitic disease caused by several species of trematodes or "flukes" of the genus Schistosoma. Snails serve as the intermediary agent between mammalian hosts. This disease is most commonly found in Asia, Africa, and South America, especially in areas where the water contains numerous freshwater snails, which may carry the parasite. The parasitic larvae enter through unprotected skin and further mature within organ tissues. Various bacteria found in sewage Water polluted by industrial waste outfalls or by natural sources.

Keep out of armed forces areas. Avoid large naval ships' anti-submarine warfare sonar. See Underwater Port Security System.

Water contaminated by infectious aquatic organisms

Weil's disease

Avoid diving in contaminated water. Analyse water before diving if presence of contaminants is suspected, but type and concentration is not known. If it is necessary, and depending on risk:

Bilharzia (in some warm fresh water)

A watertight drysuit with dry gloves and integral dry hood, and positive pressure full face diving mask will provide acceptable protection in some circumstances.[50] Surface supplied equipment with heavy duty full environmentally sealed dry suit with integral boots and gloves, and helmet sealed to suit, with either free flow air supply or series exhaust valve system will provide more protection. Gas reclaim systems can provide the greatest security to ingress of contaminants.[51] The gas need not actually be reclaimed if it is not economically desirable, the systems are used so that there are no potential leaks though underwater exhaust openings.

(details to come) Chemically polluted water

Consequences variable depending on:

Protective overalls may be worn over the drysuit to protect it from puncture damage. Appropriate decontamination procedures may be used after the dive. The diver should breathe from the diving air supply

Identity of pollutant

Concentration of pollutant Exposure to pollutant

when surfaced in environments where air quality is uncertain.

Refer to Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for identified pollutants. Hydrogen sulfide is associated with sour natural gas, crude oil, anoxic water conditions and sewers (more information needed). hydrogen sulfide is present in some lakes and caves and can also be absorbed through the skin.[citation needed]

Hydrogen sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide poisoning:

(Concentrations are listed at normal atmospheric pressure. 1000 ppm at 1 bar is equivalent to a partial pressure of 1 mbar) 0.0047 ppm is the recognition threshold, the concentration at which 50% of humans can detect the characteristic odor of hydrogen sulfide,[52] normally described as resembling "a rotten egg". Less than 10 ppm has an exposure limit of 8 hours per day. At 100150 ppm the olfactory nerve is paralyzed after a few inhalations, and the sense of smell disappears, often together with awareness of danger.[53][54] 320530 ppm leads to pulmonary edema with the possibility of death. 5301000 ppm causes strong stimulation of the central nervous system and rapid breathing, leading to loss of breathing. 800 ppm is the lethal concentration for 50% of humans for 5 minutes exposure (LC50).

Concentrations over 1000 ppm cause immediate collapse with loss of breathing, even after inhalation of a single breath.

Impact with boat or shoreline

Broken bones, bleeding, lacration wounds and other trauma

Colliding with a boat or its propeller. Wave action on rocky shore.

Use of Surface detection aids or a diving shot to locate and mark surfacing position and warn vessels of the presence of divers. A safe exit point and alternatives may be planned for taking into account forecasts for weather and tidal conditions. Boat crew may use a positive check system to identify that each diver is on board after a dive. Divers may carry a yellow flag or surface marker buoy to attract attention. Divers may carry a personal submersible EPIRB or vhf radio. Divers may carry a signalling mirror and/or sound signalling device. Diving form unattended boats only when a safe shore exit is feasible. Local knowledge, good weather forecasts, plan alternative exits. EPIRB, marker buoy, flares, die markers, signalling light, mirror, whistle or other means of signalling distress and indicating position to rescuers. Good buoyancy aids and exposure suit to provide protection while rescue is awaited. Notification before the dive of someone on shore of the expected time of return, so they can notify the rescue orgabisations if the divers do not return within a reasonable time.

Abandonment at surface Diver lost at sea on the surface after a after a boat dive dive, with risk of exposure, drowning and dehydration.

Diver separated from boat cover due to poor visibility at surface or strong underwater currents. Diver left behind due to inaccurate check by boat crew. Diver unable to return to unattended boat.

Inability to return to Diver lost at sea after a shore dive shore or to exit the water

Big breaking waves make it unsafe to approach the shore Currents move the diver away from a safe exit Weather conditions make the sea too rough to safely exit.


Sudden loss of underwater visibility (silt out) which can cause disorientation and a diver getting lost under an overhead.

Stirring up silt or other light loose material, either by natural water movement or by diver activity, often due to poor trim and finning skills.

Appropriate trim, buoyancy and propulsion techniques. Training and skills for diving in zero visibility and silting risk areas. Use of distance line when it is possible to end up under an overhead. Carrying at least one effective line cutting implement, more in high risk areas. Diving with a buddy who is capable of helping to free the trapped diver and will stay close enough to notice. Training in wreck diving and cave diving techniques. Use of low snag equipment configurations (avoid dangling gear and snap hooks that can snag on lines). Appropriate training and dive planning. Correct use of reels, lines and directional markers. Backup lights.

Entrapment hazards such as nets, lines, kelp, unstable structures or terrain, and confined spaces.

Diver trapped underwater and may run out Snagging on lines, nets, wrecks, debris or of breathing gas and drown. Inappropriate in caves. response due to panic is possible. Entrapment by collapse of terrain or structure, either directly or by obstructing the exit route.

Overhead environment (cave, wreck or ice, where direct ascent to the surface is obstructed)

Diver may get lost and be unable to identify the way out, and may run out of breathing gas and drown. Inappropriate response due to panic is possible. Impact against the bottom terrain or underwater structures, which can dislodge equipment such as mask or DV, roll off a cylinder valve, snag and damage equipment or cause impact trauma to the diver. Severity can vary from annoyance to fatal. It is also possible to get wedged into a small gap and trapped, or

Getting lost in wrecks and caves or under ice where there is no direct route to the surface, often due to not using a distance line, or losing it in darkness or bad visibility, but sometimes due to the line breaking.

Strong currents or surge

Strong water movement carrying the diver along and into contact with rigid objects fixed in place. Strong water movement creating so much drag on the diver that progress upcurrent is severely restricted.

Strong currents and surge may often be avoided by planning the time of the dive. Divers may stay a safe distance from the bottom terrain during drift dives. Drift divers may tow a surface marker buoy to identify their positions to the boat.

caught up on nets or lines in the water. In an overhead environment the diver may be unable to get back against a strong current. Impact injury and damage to equipment. Disorientation. Loss of equipment, temporary loss of breathing gas.

Breaking waves (surf)

Uncontrolled transportation by surf surge onto rocks or other hard obstacles. Tumbling in breaking wave cusing vertigo. Strong turbulence in breaking wave may pull equipment from diver, particularly mask and demand valve, occasionally fins.

Avoidance of strong surf transits. Minimising time in surf zone. Secure attachment of equipment. Protection of mask and demand valve security by holding them in place in high turbulence.

Low visibility and darkness. (in conjunction with other hazards)

Inability to read instruments to monitor depth, time, ascent rate, decompression schedule, gas pressure, and to navigate. These are not dangerous in themselves, but may result in the diver getting lost, swimming into an entrapment hazard or under an overhang, violating a decompression obligation, or running out of breathing gas.

Lack of light or absorption of light by turbidity.

A dive light can provide light if the visibility is sufficient. In zero visibility special precautions must be taken.

It is usually preferable to use surface supplied equipment with voice communications, as the diver can not get lost, and the surface team can monitor depth, time, breathing gas and decompression obligations. Navigation and work must be done by feel.

High altitude

Increased risk of decompression sickness - Diving at altitude. Reduced ambient pressure can induce bubble formation or growth in saturated tissues. Ascent to altitude after diving, including:

Acclimatisation at altitude before diving. Use of decompression schedules designed for altitude diving.[55]

Surface interval appropriate to the planned change in altitude.[55]

Flying in pressurised aircraft.

Flying in unpressurised aircraft. Ascent by road or rail to significantly higher altitude.[55]

[edit] Pre-existing physiological and psychological conditions in the diver

Hazard Heart disease



Avoidance and prevention Periodical medical examination for diving fitness. Stress ECG when indicated by medical examination. Maintaining good cardio-vascular fitness. Use of Nitrox may decrease risk.[citation needed]

Heart attack, Exertion beyond the capacity of the unhealthy heart. with high risk of death as direct consequence, or by drowning as indirect consequence. Angina with severe pain and severely reduced physical strength and endurance, and reduced situational awareness, which increase the risk of further deterioration of the incident


Loss of consciousness Epileptic seizure. and inability to remain alert and actively control activity. Likely to lead to drowning in Scuba

Divers with a history of epilepsy are generally considered unfit for diving due to the unacceptable risk associated with an underwater seizure.

divers. Diabetes Asthma (to be added) (to be added) (to be added) (to be added)

Difficulty in breathing, constriction of lung passages, increasing work of breathing. particularly difficulty in exhaling adequately during ascent, with reduced physical work capacity, can seriously reduce ability to cope with a relatively minor difficulty and precipitate an emergency. Panic, and associated sub-optimal coping behaviour.

Trait anxiety

Higher susceptibility to panic under high stress[56]

Overlearning of critical skills.[citation needed] Avoidance of high stress dive plans. Ensure adequate hydration before diving. Rehydrate during dives if they are several hours long. Rehydrate after dives.


Increased risk of decompression sickness Muscular cramps

Overheating and sweating before dive. Drinking diuretic beverages before diving. Immersion effects of diving.


Reduced situational awareness, reduced ability to respond appropriately to emergencies

Lack of sleep, excessive exertion prior to dive.

To be added

Compromised physical fitness

Reduced ability Illness, lifestyle, lack of exercise. to respond effectively to emergencies Muscular cramps

Training and exercise, particularly swimming and finning exercise using diving equipment

[edit] Diver behaviour and competence

Hazard Inadequate learning of critical safety skills. Consequences Inability to deal with minor incidents, which consequently may develop into major incidents.

Cause Inadequate demonstration and assessment of skills by instructor. Ineffective skills taught, due to inappropriate training standard, or misinterpretation of training standard. Insufficient correct repetition of skills during training. Insufficient practice of skills during training. Insufficient practice of skills after training.

Avoidance and prevention Quality assurance by training agency

Inadequate practice of critical safety skills.

Inability to deal with minor incidents, which consequently may develop into major incidents.

Clear standards for competence in assessment criteria of training programme. Quality assurance by training agency. Post training practice of vital skills by the diver. Periodical re-assessment of skills by a competent assessor. Objective assessment and accurate feedback during training. Realistic training standards and competence level descriptions. Experience and familiarity with local conditions. Use of weather and tide forecasts when planning dives. Maintaining fitness to dive by adequate exercise. Use of equipment and techniques which reduce physical exertion required. Gradual buildup of task-loading to develop appropriate skills and fitness. Training with equipment in benign conditions before using in severe conditions.


Diving in conditions beyond the diver's competence, with high risk of accident due to inability to deal with known environmental hazards.

Over-optimistic self-assessment of personal competence by the diver. Insufficient information due to inadequate training. Underestimating severity of conditions. Overestimating fitness and strength. Conditions deteriorate during the dive. Excessive task loading. Use of equipment that requires greater exertion than the diver can produce.

Inadequate strength or fitness for the conditions

Inability to compensate for difficult conditions even though well versed at the required skills. Over-exertion, overtiredness, stress injuries or exhaustion.

Peer pressure

Inability to deal with reasonably predictable incidents in a dive.

Divers may be pressurised into undertaking dives beyond their competence or fitness. Divers may be pressurised into diving with unsuitable buddies, often by dive professionals who should know better. The buddy may get into difficulty due to inattention or incompetence, and require a rescue which is hazardous to the rescuer. The buddy may get into difficulty and mishandle the situation or panic, creating an incident which is hazardous to both divers.

Objective and accurate knowledge of the diver's capabilities. Recognising and accepting responsibility for possible consequences of exerting or submitting to peer pressure. Diving with a buddy is known to be competent and who can be trusted to behave responsibly.[57] Training to deal with emergencies and rescue. Carrying equipment to be independent of the buddy in most emergencies. In some circumstances it may be safer to dive without a buddy.[58]

Diving with an incompetent buddy

Injury or death while attempting to deal with a problem caused by the buddy.


Difficulty in neutralising and controlling buoyancy.

Uncontrolled descent. Inability to establish neutral buoyancy.

Carrying more weight than needed. Recreational divers do not usually need more weight than is needed to remain slightly negative after using all the gas carried. Professional divers may need to be heavy at the bottom to provide stability to work.

Establish and use the correct amount of weight for the circumstances of the dive, taking into account:

Inefficient swimming. High gas consumption. Poor trim. Kicking up silt.

Density of water (sea or fresh). Buoyancy of equipment (mainly exposure suit). Buoyancy change of cylinders as gas is used up. Tasks of the dive. Capacity of buoyancy compensator to neutralise buoyancy at depth and provide positive buoyancy at the surface. Use surface supply equipment or a lifeline if it is necessary to dive heavy.

Difficulty in ascent Inability to control depth accurately for decompression Not carrying sufficient weight. Divers need to be able to remain neutral at 3m depth at the end of a


Difficulty in neutralising and controlling buoyancy.

dive when the gas has been used up.

Inability to achieve neutral buoyancy, particularly at decompression stops. Inappropriate or delayed Use of drugs which alter mental state or response to contingencies. physiological responses to environmental conditions. reduced ability to deal timeously with problems, leading to greater risk of developing into an accident. Increased risk of hypothermia. Increased risk of decompression sickness. Use of fins that are too large or stiff for the diver

Diving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or with a hangover

Avoid use of substances which are known or suspected to reduce the ability to respond appropriately to contingencies.

Use of inappropriate equipment and/or configuration

Muscular cramps

Exercise to develop skills and fitness appropriate to the fins chosen Use softer or smaller bladed fins (this may compromise speed and/or maneuverability) Use of integrated weight systems which support the weights directly by the buoyancy compensator Different distribution of weights - some weight transferred to the harness, BCD, cylinder or backplate Avoiding excessive weighting

Lower back pain

Use of heavy weightbelts for scuba diving

More to be added (several items)

To be added

To be added

[edit] Failure of diving equipment other than breathing apparatus

Hazard ballast weight loss Consequences Possible inability to establish neutral buoyancy leading to uncontrolled ascent Loss of diving weights. Cause

Avoidance and prevention Inspection of weight belt buckle or weight pocket clips for good condition and correct function before dive. Use of correct length weight belt. Use weight harness or integrated weight system if weight belts tend to slide over hips and fall off. Carry weights in secure method which can not easily be accidentally released. Carry the amount of weight appropriate for regaining neutral buoyancy on a releasable system, and the rest securely attached to the harness. Maintenance and pre-use inspection of dry suit zip and seals. Use of a dry suit undergarment which retains moderate insulation properties when flooded (e.g. Thinsulate B).[59][60] Use of a drysuit material which has significant inherent insulation properties (e.g. foam neoprene). Training and practice of skills for recovery from this situation. Use of a buoyancy compensator with sufficient volume to compensate for the suit buoyancy loss. Use of a lifeline with a surface tender. Sufficient ballast weight ditchable to recover neutral buoyancy at depth. Use of a DSMB or surfave marker buoy with sufficient volume to compensate for loss of buoyancy. Use of low flow rate inflator hose connections.

Water ingress into dry suit, and associated loss of air from dry suit.

Insulation loss, accelerated loss of body heat, potentially leading to hypothermia. Buoyancy loss potential inability to establish neutral or positive buoyancy, and difficulty or inability to ascend.

Catastrophic leak in dry suit:

Zipper bursting. Tear of latex neck seal.

Drysuit blow-up

Uncontrolled ascent

Inflation valve jammed open.

with possible decompression problems Loss of propulsion, maneuvering control and mobility

Training and competence at emergency procedures for inflation valve failure. Pre-use inspection of straps and strap connectors. Practice skill of finning with one fin. Spare fin strap in emergency spares for team. Replace original straps with more reliable type.[61]

Inability to swim Loss of swimfin(s). Most often due to strap or strap against current. connector failure. Inability to exit overhead environment before running out of gas. Failure of mask strap or buckle.

Loss of mask

Inability to focus underwater:

High level of stress. Inability to read instruments

Broken lens/faceplate due to impact with hard object. Mask knocked off and lost

Inspection of the mask and strap before use.[11] Hold mask in place with hand. Practice diving with no mask.[11] Spare mask in emergency spares for team.[11] Use of full face mask which is more securely attached to the head and tethered by the hose.

Buoyancy compensator blow-up. (uncontrolled inflation)

Uncontrolled ascent Inflation valve stuck open. with possible decompression problems

Inspection and testing of inflator mechanism before use. Appropriate maintenance after use. Training and practice of skills to control situation. Use of buoyancy compensator with moderate volume. Maintenance and inspection of BC before use. Use of drysuit as emergency buoyancy control device Use of reel and DSMB of sufficient volume as shotline and buoyancy aid for ascent. Use of lifeline and surface tender. Use of double bladder buoyancy compensator.

Uncontrollable loss of air from buoyancy compensator

Inability to achieve neutral or positive buoyancy, and potential difficulty or inability to make controlled ascent or to ascend at all.

Catastrophic leak in buoyancy compensator:

Loss of manifold fitting. Corrugated hose failure. Torn bladder.

Ditching of sufficient weights to allow ascent. Inspect and test cutting edge periodically Sharpen or replace tool when blunt

Blunt edged cutting tool

Inability to cut free from Poor maintenance and pre-dive inspection procedures. entanglement, possibly resulting in drowning.

[edit] Hazards of the dive task and special equipment

Hazards specific to special purpose underwater tools should be described in the article for the tool, but may be added here. Hazard Carrying tools (in general) in midwater and at the surface. Consequences Buoyancy problems due to weight of tools Inability to achieve neutral buoyancy for ascent and positive buoyancy on surface.

Cause Carrying an excessive weight of tools.

Avoidance and prevention Tools may be lifted and lowered to the worksite using a rope. Tools may be returned to the surface using a lift bag and a surface marker buoy in case the bag sinks. Surface supplied divers may be pulled up by the tender or lifted on the diving stage or bell.

Increased risk of drowning. difficulty in controlling ascent rate. Risk of losing tools if they must be abandoned. Snagging on lift bag as it begins ascent, and being dragged up with it. Precautions can be taken to reduce risk if diver snagging on bag or load. These include use of a rigid extension pipe to fill parachute style bags, allowing the diver to remain at a safe distance.

Lifting bags

Uncontrolled ascent of diver.

Loss of breathing gas.

Using up breathing air to fill lift bag.

Use of an independent air cylinder dedicated to bag filling, rather than filling from the breathing gas cylinder(s). Use of surface supplied air to fill bags. Marking lift bag or load with a surface marker buoy before lifting. Ensuring that lift takes place when surface vessels and structures are clear of the area. Buoyant assisted lifting, where the lift bag is insufficient volume to lift the load without assistance from a crane or winch. Staged lifting, where the load is lifted in stages, a short distance at a time. Adequate training and use of suitable rigging equipment and lift bag size and style. Attachment to suitable lift points, taking trim and stability into account.

Impact of falling Runaway lift(bag): objects. Loss of lift bag Lift bag broaching at surface or leaking, losing gas and cargo. and sinking on top of divers. Damage to lift Lift bag broaching at surface or leaking and sinking bag, cargo or at unknown position. other equipment. Lift bag surfacing under vessel or structure and snagging on projection which punctures bag, or fouling propeller or rudder etc. Poor rigging causing damage to bag or cargo.