‘Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there’s really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.’ John Ruskin
After the recent ‘bad’ weather I thought back to the BSAC incident report I was emailed in November when their annual report was published, the weather reminded me of the decrease of diving incidents occurring both in 2012 and 2013, have any of you been diving recently? 263 diving incidents have been reported during 2013. This has continued the decline that was spotted last year. In the years 2006-2011 the numbers of incidents had been fairly consistent at around 370. Last year saw that number fall to 314. This trend has continued this year. There are a number of possible reasons for this:
- A normal amount of diving has taken place but:
- It has been safer and fewer incidents have occurred.
- A normal number of incidents has occurred but less have been reported.
- Less diving has taken place and thus fewer incidents have occurred, leading to fewer reports.
To illustrate the decline in incidents reported per month the following graph shows the average number of incidents reported per month in the years from 1998 to 2011, to provide a view of the ‘normal’ picture and also the 2013 numbers. 2012 has been excluded because similarly to 2013 it was an abnormal year for diving incidents. (Click on the image to enlarge the graph) As can be seen in the graph, the number of incidents in March, April, May and June are quite a lot lower than is normal for this period of time. Easter was in April and that would normally be when many divers go for their first dives of the year, so a surge of incidents in this period is normal. However, the weather in these months in 2013 was some of the worst on record (as it was in 2012). Easter was recorded as the coldest in 50 years with snow and ice in May which was reported as being the coldest in 100 years. The weather will have deterred many divers from taking to the water during these months and is the most plausible reason for the drop in incidents. The only other possibility is that diving became safer during these four months, but especially after having looked at the weather this is very unlikely, a deterioration of dive conditions means a higher probability of incidents. July saw much better weather, it was generally warm and sunny with little rain and, as can be seen, the number of incidents reported was at a normal amount. In August and September the totals are always somewhat depressed each year due to the time it takes for the reports to be sent to BSAC. The cut-off point was very tight this year because of the Diving Officer’s Conference and may explain the drop in August and September. Reports received post cut-off are included in the database for future research purposes but are not included in the annual report.