Estimating the risk of a scuba diving fatality in Australia

Lippmann, John, Stevenson, Christopher, McD Taylor, David and Williams, Jo 2016, Estimating the risk of a scuba diving fatality in Australia, Diving and hyperbaric medicine, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 241-246.

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Title Estimating the risk of a scuba diving fatality in Australia
Author(s) Lippmann, John
Stevenson, ChristopherORCID iD for Stevenson, Christopher
McD Taylor, David
Williams, JoORCID iD for Williams, Jo
Journal name Diving and hyperbaric medicine
Volume number 46
Issue number 4
Start page 241
End page 246
Total pages 6
Publisher South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2016-12
ISSN 1833-3516
Keyword(s) deaths
diving incidents
recreational diving
Summary INTRODUCTION: There are few data available on which to estimate the risk of death for Australian divers. This report estimates the risk of a scuba diving fatality for Australian residents, international tourists diving in Queensland, and clients of a large Victorian dive operator.

METHODOLOGY: Numerators for the estimates were obtained from the Divers Alert Network Asia-Pacific dive fatality database. Denominators were derived from three sources: Participation in Exercise, Recreation and Sport Surveys, 2001-2010 (Australian resident diving activity data); Tourism Research Australia surveys of international visitors to Queensland 2006-2014 and a dive operator in Victoria 2007-2014. Annual fatality rates (AFR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated using an exact binomial test.

RESULTS: Estimated AFRs were: 0.48 (0.37-0.59) deaths per 100,000 dives, or 8.73 (6.85-10.96) deaths per 100,000 divers for Australian residents; 0.12 (0.05-0.25) deaths per 100,000 dives, or 0.46 (0.20-0.91) deaths per 100,000 divers for international visitors to Queensland; and 1.64 (0.20-5.93) deaths per 100,000 dives for the dive operator in Victoria. On a per diver basis, Australian residents are estimated to be almost twenty times more likely to die whilst scuba diving than are international visitors to Queensland, or to lower than fourfold on a per dive basis. On a per dive basis, divers in Victoria are fourteen times more likely to die than are Queensland international tourists.

CONCLUSIONS: Although some of the estimates are based on potentially unreliable denominator data extrapolated from surveys, the diving fatality rates in Australia appear to vary by State, being considerably lower in Queensland than in Victoria. These estimates are similar to or lower than comparable overseas estimates, although reliability of all such measurements varies with study size and accuracy of the data available.
Language eng
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920401 Behaviour and Health
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, John Lippmann
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Health and Social Development
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