Holiday health check to help keep divers safe
The RNLI is working with a Northumberland holiday provider and Northumbria Police to promote diving health checks in the Seahouses community.
The new initiative will see the introduction of a mobile health kiosk, called a Wellpoint machine, at The Hides in Seahouses. The machine will be available for diving groups, who visit the area to dive at locations like the Farne Islands, and other visitors to complete their healthcheck.
The intervention comes following a 2019 British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC) Diving Incident Report that showed of the 13 fatalities recorded in the UK the average age was 58 years old. In many of these fatalities there were indications of pre-existing medical conditions such as a heart disease that contributed to the incident.
The RNLI is working with DDRC Healthcare to raise awareness of cardiac health and help divers understand just what an impact health and fitness levels can have on their diving. Cardiac health can affect divers of any age, but research shows that the group we most need to reach is experienced male divers aged 45 and up.
The machine will help the RNLI provide data for DDRC Healthcare to help them get a better understanding of the general health of our diving community. It measures:
- Weight and BMI
- Body fat percentage
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk
- Heart age
It then gives the user a result as a percentage as to the chance of having a cardiac event within the next 10 years. The kiosk will be available to all divers visiting the area, not just those staying at The Hides, and can be booked by calling 01665 720645 or emailing email@example.com.
Elliot Rogers, RNLI Water Safety, said ‘Our aim is for divers to make the link between their own current health levels and their diving – nudging them to be proactive in getting general medical health checks and, if appropriate, a diving medical with a registered diving doctor’.
Lynsey Carr, Water Safety Officer at RNLI Seahouses, said ‘The project is a fantastic way to support diving activity in the community. We are very grateful to The Hides for their generosity in supporting diving safety. We would like divers to be aware of any potential danger they may be putting themselves in, so they can reduce the chance of having a medical incident underwater by making safer choices in their dive planning’
Mark and Kerry Loughlin, owners of The Hides, added: ‘Our property has strong links with Scuba Divers going back to the 1960s. Since we took over in 2017, we have continued providing accomodation perfect for visting dive groups and clubs. We are very happy to be able to support the Holiday Health Check scheme and help in our own small way towards the safety of all divers in one the best diving locations in the UK.’
Northumbria Police have been promoting the “Don’t Drink and Dive” campaign, reminding divers the dangers of drinking alcohol before diving activities.
Don’t Drink and Dive aims to reduce water related fatalities and injuries by raising awareness of the dangers posed when taking part in water activities when under the influence of drink or drugs.
Sergeant Suzanne Crossley of Northumbria Marine Police says: ‘The kiosks will be a really welcome feature in these popular diving locations. Before taking part in any form of diving it is essential that you are in fit enough condition to do so, otherwise it can cause a real stress on your body resulting in injury or fatalities at sea.
‘The kiosks will be a really useful way for the public to easily assess if they are well enough to take part in diving and also promote and raise awareness on the topic. With having many beauty spots for tourists coming to take part in diving across our region it is important that the public understand the risks posed by water activities in general but also when under the influence.
‘People may have some drinks the night before, and decide to go diving in the morning but you may still have alcohol in your system which poses a risk to yourself and the others you are diving with so it is paramount you make the right decision, with the kiosks this will enable people to do so.’
Notes to Editors
For more information on The Hides, visit www.the-hides.co.uk
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Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.