In Preparation for Dive Season 2016

The Tubbataha Management Office (TMO) organized trainings for dive professionals in preparation for dive season 2016.  This program is designed to enhance the competence of dive masters working in Tubbataha. In 2014, the topic of the seminar was oceanography with a UP-MSI scientist as resource person.  In 2015, the NGO, Large Marine Vertebrates, spearheaded the elasmobranch identification course.

Why divers die:  A talk on bends

On 3 March, Dr. Michael Perez, one of the Philippines’ expert in hyperbaric medicine, spoke about diving injuries.  He said that statistically, one out of 10,000 dives will lead to decompression sickness (DCS) or bends.  He presented statistical data on diving deaths.  It showed that most accidents occur due to poor diving technique, such as inadequate air supply, buoyancy, and poor buddy technique.  Medical, physiological and psychological factors are also common causes of diving deaths.  He added that all these are preventable with proper training and physiological condition, and equipment.

The latter part of the seminar was spent on case studies which allowed participants to assess diving incidents and identify the factors that led to accidents.  Dr. Perez inculcated in the participants, who were all diving professionals, to dive conservatively in order to mitigate the risks involved in scuba diving.

OIWR, first aid for DCS?

The training continued on 6-7 March with the Oxygen In-Water Recompression (OIWR), an emergency treatment for DCS. Mr. Alex Santos, the founder of Philippine Technical Diving and renowned practitioner and instructor of in-water oxygen recompression, conducted the training.

In the seminar, Mr. Santos stressed out that OIWR should not be considered as an alternative for hyperbaric chamber treatment.  However, in remote locations such as Tubbataha, OIWR – done properly and with the right equipment – can be a good option.

The practical part of the training was held in Pristine Beach in Bgy. Bancao-Bancao. The participants were divided into three groups to allow each participant to experience being a victim and an in-water tender.

These trainings were held in partnership with the Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., and Batangas Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Healing Center.  TMO also extends its appreciation to the owners & operators of P/Y Atlantis Azores and M/Y Sakura, and to Wally Bernardino for the use of their service boats during the OIWR simulation exercise.