Dr. Neal Pollock, Research Director at Divers Alert Network, created and maintains a worldwide database on freediver breath-hold incident statistics. It is important to understand the true number of fatal and near-fatal incidents will never be completely known, as Neal and his team rely upon individuals to provide information on such events. Unfortunately, the database has not been widely advertised and so many don’t know they can report accidents, especially those who live outside the USA. Still others are traumatized after the loss of a loved one and find it too painful to complete the questionnaire. Completing the form online through this DAN link is actually quite simple. It is available in both English and Portuguese. Information on a breath-hold incident can also be submitted anonymously, if you wish. The data submitted is invaluable in helping us learn more about how and why fatal events occur so we can better educate freedivers on how to protect themselves.
After my two sons’ near-fatal freedive accident in 2008, I contacted DAN and was passed through to Neal. I didn’t know about the breath-hold database; I simply wanted to ask him some questions about what had just happened to my boys. Neal patiently answered all my questions and then suggested I provide the information on my sons’ accident to the database. Wanting to contribute to his efforts, I took the time to complete the forms he had created, which was prior to the streamlined and easy process in place today.
We are losing far too many divers each year, and the reality is the chart below is representative of just a portion of the total number of freedivers we have lost. You can help by letting other divers know about the Breath-hold Incident Database and by encouraging the families of victims to help make the sport safer by sharing the details of their incident to DAN. If you have personal knowledge of a fatal or near-fatal breath-hold event, please consider submitting the requested data to help the team at DAN provide useful information to the freedive community on the common triggers in such events and how we can protect ourselves and our loved ones.
To practice safe freediving, study the DiveWise freedive safety guidelines and/or take a freediving class and learn how to keep yourself and your dive partner(s) safe while enjoying the sport you love.
LIVE TO DIVE ANOTHER DAY!
FINDINGS FROM THE DIVERS ALERT NETWORK BREATH-HOLD INCIDENT DATABASE