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How to Find a Doctor for Scuba Medical Advice

When it comes to your health, consulting a knowledgeable medical expert can make all the difference
By Grant Dong for Divers Alert Network | Published On June 6, 2024
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How to Find a Doctor for Scuba Medical Advice

Courtesy Dan

Before a dive trip, I like to ensure all of my equipment has been serviced and is in good working order. Likewise, I want to make sure that I am physically fit before packing my bags so I can enjoy my diving adventures. Sometimes, it is worth having a conversation with a medical provider who can offer personalized care and recommendations to stay safe while diving. While speaking with a provider is ideal, some divers struggle to determine when to seek medical advice, where to find someone with expertise in dive medicine and how they can find more information.


The Guidelines for Lifelong Medical Fitness to Dive, published by Divers Alert Network, offers a clear and comprehensive set of recommendations for how to assess your own health. An annual self-assessment using the cross-agency Diver Medical Participant Questionnaire is recommended for new and healthy divers without preexisting conditions to determine if further evaluation by a medical professional is necessary. For divers over the age of 45 or divers with more than one preexisting health condition, it is recommended that you seek evaluation every five years by a medical provider before diving. For those over the age of 65 or those with certain risk factors, an annual evaluation is recommended. These resources can be found on the DAN and the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) websites.

Related Reading: How Important Is Your Dive Medical Questionnaire?


Whether you are seeking care for a diving accident or would like a “fit-to-dive” exam, finding a medical provider with expertise in dive medicine is important. Diving has unique effects on the body due to the increased pressure that not all medical providers may be aware of. However, finding a knowledgeable specialist is easy.

First, DAN maintains an up-to-date network of certified healthcare providers whom you can contact to schedule a visit. To find a provider in your area, you can call DAN during normal business hours at +1 919-684-2948 or reach out via their Ask a Medic portal. If you have an emergency, the DAN hotline is available 24/7/365 at +1 919-684-9111. Best of all, these services are available to members and nonmembers alike!

Second, the UHMS offers a list of physicians who are certified in diving medicine on its website. These physicians are worldwide and may be able to provide you with care.

Finally, if you cannot find a medical provider with specialized training, you can still go to your primary care provider. The UHMS has created a resource called Diving Medical Guidance to the Physician, which provides an overview of diving-specific conditions to screen for. In addition, DAN is more than willing to talk with your physician about any questions or concerns they may have. Please have them reach out via phone.

Related Reading: What to Do If You Have a Rash After Scuba Diving


There can be a lot to discuss at your appointment. Some important areas to focus on include how your current medical history and medications may be affected by diving. Specifically, discuss any issues that may affect your ears, sinuses, heart or lungs. Consider discussing lifestyle changes that can affect your overall fitness such as smoking, exercise regimens and any dietary concerns.


Plenty of educational resources are available if you want to take the best care of your health. DAN has articles, guides and courses on safety practices, first aid and emergency planning. In addition, DAN has partnered with UHMS to offer Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits to physicians and other health professionals. Contact DAN if you want to attend a CME event or join the DAN Physician Referral Network. Other reputable resources include Fitness in Diving, a podcast hosted by Dr. David Charash, a physician trained in hyperbaric medicine.

Safety should always be the number one priority regardless of where you may dive. If you take care of your body and equipment, they will take care of you! Getting help from a team of highly trained professionals can help you achieve these goals.