Beat the Bug Frenzy

Lobster Diving Safety

Between 2005 and 2011, 20 fatalities were recorded during the mini lobster season. Medical conditions, poor diving procedures and equipment problems were common factors.

These are factors in most diving fatalities, but the mini lobster season has the added intensity of a limited-time harvesting opportunity and a lot of traffic in the water. In the excitement of the event, divers often neglect important safety skills. Keep these tips on hand if you are headed off for the bug frenzy.
Predive Prep
Preparation begins long before the dive. Start with a physical assessment. Are you prepared for the demands of scuba diving? Remember, lobster diving is often more physically demanding than your average dive. If you have started taking any new medication since your last dive, schedule a dive physical to ensure you are physically and medically fit to dive. If you would like a physician referral, call the DAN Medical Information Line at +1-919-684-2948.

Once you've made sure your body is up for the task, make sure your gear is as well. Gear maintenance is an essential step in dive safety. Head to your local dive shop and make sure your gear is ready to go. Schedule enough time for repairs prior to the event. If you are adding any new equipment to your kit, test it out and become familiar with it prior to the lobster season.

Next, take stock of your skills. Enroll in a refresher course if it's been a while since your last dive. Practice key skills before diving for lobsters. If you have little or no experience catching lobsters, have someone teach you the fundamentals of how to capture them safely.

When the day comes, do not neglect your predive safety rituals. Conduct your safety checks and a thorough buddy check, just as you would on any other dive. Review your dive plan and key hand signals. Most lobster harvesting dives are done at fairly shallow depths, but it's still important to plan your dives according to your tables and computer and to adhere to that plan. Always dive within your physical limits and training. Don't overexert yourself in the excitement. If you are breathing heavily underwater, you are working too hard.
Lobster Diving

Remember the essential elements of quality buoyancy control. This will help you maneuver the terrain with ease, eliminate excess weight and manage gas more efficiently. Be considerate of your diving environment. Don't do anything that could damage the marine habitat. If you struggle with buoyancy control, practice before the season or take a class to help hone your skills.

Keep an eye on your gauges and your buddy. Make sure you have enough air to conduct your safety stop and exit the water safely. It's easy to get caught up in the hunt and lose track of these important details.

As you gather your catch, do not overweight yourself. The legal limit may be more than you can safely take to the surface. You need to be able to surface safely and swim back to the boat with your catch bag.
Surface Safety
On the surface, remember you are difficult to see. Be aware of boat traffic and use a dive flag or a marker buoy to signal to boaters that you are in the water.

Never drink and dive. Alcohol diminishes reaction time, concentration, information processing, judgment and motor skills, all of which negatively impact dive safety for you and your buddy.

Bring your DAN Membership card and an envelope with key medical information. Make sure that you and your buddy know where you both keep this information. In addition, have important emergency numbers on hand (The DAN Emergency Hotline is +1-919-684-9111). In the event of an emergency, these simple steps can help facilitate faster and more efficient care.
For More Information
Be Prepared
Boat Diving Safety
Dive Safety: It's No Accident
How Good Is Your Emergency Plan?
I'm Taking this Medication…Can I Dive?
Lessons in Gas Management
The Importance of Buoyancy Control