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Diver Down: Real-World SCUBA Accidents and How to Avoid Them Paperback – October 18, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 163 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

True Tales of Trouble in the Deep and What You Can Learn from Them

One diver, after a seemingly brief period below the surface, discovers that his gas supply has run perilously low. Another, paralyzed, bobs helplessly on the surface, and when a poorly trained divemaster attempts rescue, things go from bad to worse. Two other divers, fascinated by the bountiful undersea life of the Caribbean, fail to notice that a powerful current is sweeping them rapidly away from their unattended boat.

These are just a few of the true stories you’ll find in Diver Down, most of them involving diver error and resulting in serious injury or death. This unique survival guide explores the gamut of diving situations, including cave and wreck diving, deep-water dives, river and drift diving, decompression sickness, and much more. It shows you how to prevent tragic mishaps through:

  • Inspection and maintenance of primary and secondary diving gear
  • Learning and following established safety protocols
  • Confirming the training and credentials of diving professionals
  • Practicing emergency responses under real-world conditions

Captain Michael R. Ange is the Managing Director of the Americas Division for the Professional Scuba Association International and contributing writer and technical editor for Scuba Diving magazine. During his diving career, Ange has trained more than 3,000 divers and several hundred instructors from around the world.

About the Author

Michael R.Ange is a senior member of the Technical Training Staff for Scuba Diving International & Technical Diving International and contributing writer and technical editor for SCUBA Diving magazine. He has trained 2,000 divers and hundreds of instructors and has written five textbooks on diving.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 1 edition (October 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071445722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071445726
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ralph B. Asher on October 30, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a subscription to Scuba Diver magazine because it has a section called "Lessons for Life" that gives you the story of a diver who died or came close. This book includes those stories and so many more. It is so important to know the many ways that one can get into trouble and I rarely read one of these without learning something that changes the way I dive or care for my equipment. The one objection I have to certification and specialty classes is that they don't include these factual accounts of diver deaths and near misses. It is as if they don't want to scare us when in fact I find that each and every one has something to say as to how I should apporach the sport. I personally have made changes in behavior soley based upon the lessons taught by these stories and consider this book a must read for anyone diving today.
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One might consider this book by Michel Ange, who is Technical Editor of Scuba Diving Magazine, a downer as someone dies in almost every chapter. That's because Ange presents a series of case studies of diving gone wrong. Each chapter tackles a specific issue and tells the story on how something went wrong during a scuba dive, often with deadly consequences. The stories are real, though names and places have been changed so as to preserve the privacy of those involved.

While Ange's book presents some harrowing evidence that our sport can be dangerous and deadly, we must consider that this applies to almost any sport, and even to life in general. More accidents happen in bathrooms than anywhere else, and no one would consider them especially dangerous or deadly places. The value in Diver Down is that it describes what CAN go wrong if rules are not observed and common sense does not prevail. That is the gist and primary value of this book, to point out what can go wrong if we do not pay attention, become over-confident, or cut corners.

Each chapter is dedicated to a single topic: Nitrox, trimix, over-confidence, lack of experience, cave diving, wreck diving, decompression sickness, dry suits, lack of maintenance, navigation, rebreathers, following rules, and so on. Ange presents a scenario, describes what happenes, often to the bitter end, then analyzes the situation and closes the chapter with a set of rules on how the accident could have been avoided.

What makes the book extra valuable is the technical explanations inserted into each chapter. They explain, in plain English, the underlying concepts, physics, and technology. Likewise, the book's lenghty introduction serves as a Scuba 101 course (and is actually named "Scuba 101").
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This book should be required reading for an Advanced Diver rating or above (probably even open water, but might add too much stress to beginers). It is absolutely fantastic and definitly could save your life or the life of someone you love. Please don't kill yourself with mistakes that others have already made. Learn from the mistakes of others and avoid them. That is what this book is all about. This book has several stories of dive mistakes and what lessons can be learned from each case. If you are a diver I would consider this book to be #1 on your must read list. Get it, read it, live it, and dive happy!
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I have been an avid diver for 3 years now. I picked this book up because i thought it might hit on some stuff i hadn't encountered. It did. There were 20ish true life stories that I have never encountered. The book also went as far as to tell you what you can do to prevent these from happening to you. Sounds like a great read, right? Well don't buy it yet.

If you don't have your cert. card, and you are thinking about doing so, wait to read this book. More than likely, this will scare the bejeesus out of you, making you run far far away from a dive shop. If you are interested, go talk to your local dive instructor, and he/she can answer the questions you have, and get you on your way to exploring the beauty of underwater habitats. Once you experience diving first hand, you are very likely to scrap your diving future for anything shy of death.

This book is a great read for after you are certified, but in nearly all of the accounts, the major theme is arrogance, stubbornness, and, quite frankly, stupidity. One account was something that could not have been prevented by even the best prepared, most experienced diver. Honestly, however, i don't think that particular account should have been included in the book. It was, to me, about like having a book of single vehicle car crash stories, all being based on inexperience or drunk driving, and then including one where a guy crashed into a tree after suffering a brain aneurysm. Some medical functions happen regardless of your shape, activity level, or financial stability.

The moral of this review, and book for that matter, is listen to your instructor, dive master, boat captain, fellow divers, and your conscience. Don't dive beyond your abilities or comfort level, or you will eventually encounter problems. Thats actually like day one, hour one of almost all training agencies videos though.
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If you already are, or hope to be a certified scuba diver -- or for that matter -- are just a snorkeler, this book could save your life. Michael Ange's Diver Down, Real-World Scuba Accidents How to Avoid Them should be required reading for ALL divers and divers-to-be. No diver among us is so proficient that this book won't make him more aware of the many mishaps that can befall divers in ways beyond our imagination. Take the dive master who ducked under the dive boat in heaving seas to cut heavy tangled monofilament from the boat's propeller. Simple enough, right? Yup, until a flailing hook on that line goes through his hand and he can't cut the wire leader and finds himself minutes away from death because his air is running out.

Or what about the 35-year-old women on a shallow water river drift dive who are so exhuberant that they let the currents pull them downstream far from their group with their dive flag and end up under a pontoon boat who's churning propeller could instantly do them in.

Or how about the two pro cave divers with a novice on the end of the cave dive line and when they turn the dive he leads them back the way they came but being untrained he gets himself off into a side tunnel because he didn't know what a gapped life line meant, while the others go out only to find him missing....permanently.

Ange shows us one fatal or near fatal accident after another and analyzes the often small but fatally critical mistakes divers make. Read these lessons and remember them. They could save you or your dive buddy from serious troubles. I have made over 5,000 dives in my lifetime and know the value of this book. I wrote the book The Cave Divers back in 1976 long before any training program to save divers from killing themselves in caves.
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