Don’t worry, it’s just a case of ‘sea legs’

Recently at DAN Asia-Pacific we received two calls for help from divers who were advised by their dive instructors not to worry about symptoms they were experiencing post-diving.

Recently at DAN Asia-Pacific we received two calls for help from divers who were advised by their dive instructors not to worry about symptoms they were experiencing post-diving. Here is a summary of the two cases:

Philippines: A 52-year-old woman was on a four-day liveaboard trip. Three hours after returning to land, and 19 hours after the final dive, the diver experienced vertigo. When the dive shop was contacted they said it was most likely just a case of ‘sea legs’. As a result of this advice, she didn’t take further action. However, after another 10-hours the diver experienced various aches around her body (both knees, the top of one foot and the right shoulder blade), so she called DAN for advice. Upon speaking to the DAN DES Doctor, the diver was advised to present at the local chamber, where she received two recompression treatments.

Indonesia: This diver had dived the previous day and experienced equalisation problems. He woke up with ringing in his ears. His divemaster said it wasn’t a problem so he completed an additional two dives that day. The diver should not have continued to dive. The ringing in his ears continued so he contacted DAN in concern. He was advised to visit the nearest diving doctor the following day. Diagnosis: Ear barotrauma.


Dive guides in most dive locations do not have medical training.

Without specialised dive medical training, dive professionals should not take it upon themselves to diagnose whether guests have DCI. It can be very dangerous and continuing to dive with symptoms (or even if symptoms have cleared) can cause them to worsen, making them more difficult to treat.

Don’t delay asking for help or advice from DAN

By delaying treatment, the diver may end up with residual symptoms that may take longer to fully resolve. In some cases, there can be permanent injury. Calling the DAN/DES hotline provides immediate medically qualified advice. DAN should always be called as soon as a diver becomes aware of any possible DCI symptoms after diving. If in doubt, call the DAN DES Hotline on +61 8 8212 9242.

In the event of a suspected ear injury, stop diving.

With an ear injury it is vital that the individual stops diving immediately and seeks out appropriate medical advice as soon as possible. DAN AP deals with many cases of ear injury and, unfortunately, continued diving and delay to reporting is not uncommon. In the case of inner each injury it can lead to permanent hearing loss, tinnitus or problems with balance.

Given the unique nature of diving incidents, we encourage all dive professionals to err on the side of caution by calling a DAN Hotline for advice should ANY symptom/s present in themselves, or their diving customers, following diving. 

Any symptom that is not normal that occurs following diving should be considered possibly dive-related and as such evaluated by a diving doctor

SAFETY TIP: Enter DAN as a contact in your phone. Make sure you have your lifeline when you need it.

Visit “Emergency” at Whilst all divers can call DAN for advice, DAN can only arrange an Emergency Evacuation and pay for associated treatment costs for current Members (within the limits of their coverage option). Not Yet a DAN AP Member? Join at

Author: DAN World

DAN® is the world’s leading dive safety association.

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