Commercial divers are at daily risk of severe injury each time they enter the water. It only takes a moment for divers to be deprived of air, suffer an accident underwater, or fail to be seen while signaling for help, contributing to numerous avoidable accidents and deaths every year.
How Vessels and Crew Members Contribute to Diving Injuries
A diver on a commercial vessel is placing his life in the hands of the captain, crew members, dive supervisors, and other employees on board. Divers have been injured while performing repairs, checking seals, inspecting equipment, and participating in dive fisheries, most commonly as a result of:
- Faulty equipment. Many injuries occurred because divers were not given the proper equipment for the environment, had an incorrect air-gas mixture, or were not able to signal for help.
- Insufficient manpower. Diving alone is far more dangerous than diving with a partner, even when a diving supervisor is on board. Accidents are bound to happen due to lack of monitoring during a dive.
- Poor training. Divers should be properly trained and certified in all aspects of the job, and crew members must be educated on proper safety procedures when a diver is in the water. In addition, captains and divers are responsible for performing emergency drills to practice responses to emergency situations.
- Unsafe diving conditions. Divers can refuse to go into the water when conditions are unsafe, such as during storms, in areas with changing differential pressure, or if there is dangerous wildlife or weather conditions in the area.
- Lack of oxygen. Divers who suffer an emergency may have to return to the surface quickly, resulting in decompression sickness, while those who become entangled underwater can suffer brain damage if their tank runs out.
There are several different maritime laws that can provide compensation after a diving injury. If you are a diver who has been assigned to a commercial vessel, you could qualify for compensation for medical bills and wages under the Jones Act. Jones Act payments are available to divers who work for a single employer (or company) and primarily perform duties aboard one particular ship. Please feel free to use our website to learn more about your Jones Act claim.