Coastguard ‘advised’ Poole night-diver
A scuba diver was found night-diving in a shipping channel off Dorset on 8 April, despite official advice for people to stay away from the coast and avoid leisure activities.
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The Coastguard were called after the diver was spotted at 10.45pm while a vessel was being escorted into Poole Harbour, according to the Bournemouth Echo.
“We were tasked to give safety advice for the danger he placed himself in, and also the risk he put others in during these difficult times,” said the Coastguard.
“We advise anyone to keep to government guidelines regarding exercise. Water activity isn't really suitable due to the greater risk to themselves and the emergency services should anything happen to them.”
Recreational diving is not considered to be “exercise” and has been suspended in the UK by the diver training agencies.
However, concerned about behaviour such as that of the diver in Poole, the Coastguard issued a warning before the Easter bank-holiday weekend, the traditional start to the UK diving season, as reported yesterday on Divernet.
“What divers need to remember is that if they get into difficulty and the Coastguard is called, that creates a greater degree of risk for us and our service,” said assistant director Pete Mizen.
“Every 999 call made could put our frontline responders at risk of Covid-19. It would also put avoidable strain on the NHS services at a time when it could least afford it.”
Hyperbaric chambers are also running at reduced capacity.
Some, like the service at Princess Elizabeth Hospital in Guernsey that covers all Channel Islands divers, have been suspended altogether as resources are prioritised to deal with the pandemic.
Channel Islands divers have been warned that if they ignore restrictions they will be liable for the costs of being transferred to the UK mainland for medical treatment, as well as for the treatment itself.