Marine Life Injuries

Marine creatures are among the most fascinating organisms on the planet and most sport divers dive with the intention of observing marine life in their natural environment. Most marine animals are not aggressive towards humans and most injuries humans sustain from marine creatures are from passive defense mechanisms.

Although there are over 1000 species of marine animals that can cause injuries to humans however they can be classified into 5 main categories.

  • Trauma
  • Punctures
  • Stings
  • Venomous Bites
  • Minor cuts, lacerations, abrasions.

1. Trauma

There are many marine animals that have the ability to bite, and they can be potentially dangerous depending on the size of their bite. Animals in this class range from sharks, barracudas, seals, sealions, moray eels, orcas. The bites of these animals are not venomous but are traumatic, potential leading to massive blood loss, shock, loss of tissue and death.

2. Punctures

There are a range of marine creatures that can puncture with spines and other similar structures. Many of these mechanisms are coupled with a venom. Animals in this class range from stingrays, cone shells, spiny sculpins, sea urchins and segmented worms. The mechanisms used to puncture often are coated with a slimy protein coating that causes pain. The venom associated with these type of wounds can also cause pain, shock, collapse, respiratory arrest and death.

3. Stings

Animals that inflict injuries with stings usually include jellyfish, sea anemones, hydras and some coral. They inject toxins by means of nematocysts, microscopic trigger mechanisms that are like tiny harpoons located in the tentacles or other body parts. Sting symptoms range from prickly or itchy sensations, burning or painful welts, headaches, cramps paralysis, collapse and death.

4. Venomous Bites

Similar to the marine creatures that can puncture, there are a group of marine creatures that have venomous bites. Examples of these creatures include the blue ring octopus, flamboyant cuttlefish and sea snakes. Most of these creatures pose almost zero threat to divers unless disturbed. However in order to be aware the symptoms of envenomation include muscle weakness, paralysis, collapse, respiratory arrest and death.

5. Minor cuts, lacerations and abrasions

The most common marine life injuries are cuts, scratches, abrasions and lacerations. They usually occur with accidental contact with corals, barnacles and other marine creatures with calcium shells or forms. These injuries are minor however they can be slow to heal and have the potential for infection.

The Scuba Diving Instructor

As air breathing creatures we are well removed from our natural environment when underwater scuba diving. In order to survive, let alone enjoy such activities we must acquire a range of skills and knowledge that are not part of our normal experience. This is most satisfactorily provided by a qualified scuba instructor. An instructor is some who teaches, informs and directs. Applying this definitions to the diving situation we will begin to understand what is the need of a scuba diving instructor.

In order to conduct a good scuba diving course, it is essential for any scuba diving instructor or dive operators to process high personal skill levels and an extensive diving knowledge in the subject (scuba diving in this case) they are going to teach or impart. Inevitably this will demand an appropriate base of practical experience. Additionally teaching skills as demonstrations, communications and supervisions combined with virtues of patience, sensitivity and caring nature must then be added to these diving skills to produce an effective diving instructor.

Student divers that are trained by a good scuba diving instructor will acquire good diving habits and practices from the beginning, whereas uncorrected bad habits learnt during early training are very difficult to rectify later. Diving related accidents can be traced back to such training and habits, which in turn are the result of poor or inadequate instructions.