Scuba Diving Safety Information
<em>A general overview of some basic points on diving safely in French coastal waters...</em>
France is one of few countries in the world to have specific state laws governing the sport. The vast majority of legislation is aimed at safety, including specifying the maximum number of divers of any given qualification level that can dive with a given qualification of dive guide or instructor in any given depth zone. (0 to 6, 6 to 20, 20 to 40, and beyond).
- Before starting a diving course in France it's obligatory to see a doctor and get signed off with a medical certificate stating there are no "contra-indications" to safe diving.
Insurance covering diving activities is not obligatory but is recommended. Policies available are offered through the organisation, DAN (Diver's Alert Network).
It is also recommended to dive only with a qualified diving services company or with an established club or commercial dive centre. If diving with a centre insist on thorough briefings from the dive guide.
If you have your own boat then, according to French law, you all have to be at least Niveau 3 in the French system, and there is a minimum amount of safety equipment you need on board, including somebody to look after the boat while divers are in the water.
Check weather forecasts, as strong winds and hostile conditions can arrive very quickly. Ensure that all on board are competent boat handlers, and that you know where you are going. Be rigorous in planning a dive.
If you are using your own equipment, regular servicing (once a year) is important to help to ensure that the equipment does not malfunction during a dive, particularly regulators and BCDs. Also be sure to dive with a suit (wet, semi-dry or dry) that is appropriate for the water temperature.
Always dive within your physical limits, generally when you are well rested, relaxed and well hydrated. Always build prudence and safety margins into any dive.