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Drinking And Diving: Why It’s Best Not To

Diving is a fun, exciting activity, and divers themselves are generally cheerful individuals who love to have fun in any shape or form. For some, having a drink or two around the time of the dive with their buddies is one of those social interactions that aren’t given too much thought. However, there is a potentially serious risk involved in drinking and diving.

And while it’s true, there are always going to be risks when it comes to scuba diving, many of the risks can be prevented. Drinking before and right after a dive is one of those things one should refrain from to keep themselves safe from some serious consequences.

Drinking Alcohol before Diving

The consumption of alcohol can produce a series of short-term effects on the mind and body. These effects can be mild to severe, including loss of coordination, vision problems, increased blood pressure, dehydration, and reduced core body temperature. And then you have the usual fatigue, headache, and nausea, which combined with a boat ride can guarantee you seasickness.

Alcohol also acts as a central nervous system depressant, meaning that it slows down brain functioning and neural activity in complex situations. The effects can linger for up to eight hours, so a diver who has consumed alcohol on the night before the dive may still be experiencing the effects of alcohol on their dive.

How Many Hours Should I Not Drink before Diving?

Divers should avoid consuming alcohol for at least eight hours before diving. If one has had a bit too much to drink the night before and is hungover, they should avoid diving altogether. However, a person may still be dehydrated even though they don’t feel any symptoms of a hangover.

On rare occasions, drinking too much after a dive can even lead to decompression sickness. Alcohol can increase a diver’s risk of getting the bends because it causes the body to release fluids faster than usual. As you can’t replenish the fluids underwater while diving, our bodies get dehydrated. And dehydration is thought to be a risk factor for decompression sickness.

One of the best ways to recover from the effects of heavy drinking is to drink plenty of water and get rest. Only after alcohol has left their system can divers go scuba diving, especially if they’re planning a deeper dive.  

Can I Drink Alcohol after Scuba Diving?

Things are a tiny bit more permissive when it comes to drinking after diving, but one still needs to be careful. Drinking lightly after a dive can lead to dehydration. Drinking heavily after a dive can mask the symptoms of decompression sickness which can only worsen one’s condition.

Drinking any quantity of alcohol right after the dive is also not advised because your body needs to eliminate the excess nitrogen accumulated during the dive and alcohol may affect its ability to do so. The deeper the dive, the more nitrogen needs to be eliminated. So the deeper you dive, the more you need to wait until you can safely consume alcohol.

After a dive, divers first needs to drink plenty of water to rehydrate, and only then can they consume (but not too much) alcohol. At least two hours should pass until one can consume alcohol after a dive.

Bottom Line

Drinking and diving is a big no-no. Professional scuba diving associations and the Divers Alert Network recommend avoiding alcohol the night before the dive as well as right after the dive. It is especially important that divers are well-rested and clear-headed before a dive, as there’s no room for error underwater.

To be on the safe side, you should also wait a couple of hours after your dive before you enjoy your beer or alcoholic beverage of choice to allow your body to get rid of the excess nitrogen in the bloodstream. If you’re doing multiple dives that day, it goes without saying that you should not drink any alcohol between the dives.

Gallipoli Historic Underwater Park

The Gallipoli Historic Underwater Park Open to Public

As of October 2021, scuba divers fascinated by historical wrecks can enjoy exploring several ships resting beneath the waters of the Gallipoli peninsula in the Çanakkale province of Turkey. The area was the battleground of the First World War Gallipoli campaign, an Anglo-French military campaign against Turkey.

Dozens of ships went down during the battle at Gallipoli. Until recently, the area was guarded by the Turkish military as live torpedoes found among the sunken vessels posed a serious risk for the public. But in 2017, in the wake of the Gallipoli centenary, supervision of the area passed to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

For three years, the ministry’s Directorate of Gallipoli Historic Site worked to detect and remove the explosives to turn the graveyard of ships into an underwater park that would attract scuba divers worldwide. There are about sixteen ships and submarines within the Gallipoli Historic Underwater Park, of which twelve are open to public. These shipwrecks will give divers a glimpse into the battle between the Allied and Ottoman forces in the First World War.

Canakkale would be one of the most beautiful diving destinations, exposing the stories of each of the sunken ships,” says Ismail Kasdemir, head of the Turkish Directorate of Gallipoli Historical Site.

A notable dive within the park is the 120-meter-long HMS Majestic of the British Royal Navy. In 1915, the ship was dispatched to the Mediterranean Sea to participate in the Gallipoli campaign. On May 27, 1915, the HMS Majestic was torpedoed by the German U-21 submarine and went down off Seddülbahir fortress. This was the first wreck made accessible to divers, but an explosion sadly reduced it to piles of iron and steel scraps, although some sections are intact.

The remains of the HMS Majestic. Photo: Getty Images

Other shipwrecks one can explore include HMS Louis – an L class destroyer warship, HMS Irresistible – a Formidable-class pre-dreadnought battleship, and HMS Ocean – a pre-dreadnought battleship, all three ships serving under the Royal Navy during the First World War.

Along with the 100-year-old ships that sank off the Gallipoli peninsula, wrecks like the minesweeper Lundy that sank in the ‘30s and the freighter Franco that went underwater in the ‘60s are also waiting to be discovered by scuba divers.

The Directorate of Gallipoli Historic Site is also planning on installing panels with QR codes along the wrecks. This would allow divers with waterproofed phones to see images of the vessels as they used to look like before they sank.

The dives at the Gallipoli Historic Underwater Park can only be performed only under the supervision of professional scuba diving guides certified by the Turkish Underwater Sports Federation. Diving is possible for all certified divers within the limit of their training. The wrecks are located at depths between 3 and 350 meters below the water surface.

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