According to new figures from HM Coastguard, 16 divers died off the U.K. coast in 2012, the highest in 11 years.
Now as the summer holidays approach, divers are once again being reminded about key safety advice.
The most common incident in 2012 was decompression illness, with 40 recorded last year. Next was broken down dive vessels with 30 incidents, followed by rapid ascent with 23 recorded. Other medical emergencies accounted for 22 incidents.
The south coast was yet again the area with the most incidents with 61 recorded in 2012.
Ken Bazeley, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s National Diving Liaison Officer said, "The south coast is a very popular area for diving. It’s within easy reach for divers as a drive from Birmingham or the Midlands will take only a few hours, making the area popular for weekend trips.”
Despite the number of fatalities, the overall figures in 2012 were at their lowest for three years, with a total of 177 incidents.
"We should be encouraged by the overall figure but continue to strive for a reduction in fatalities and serious injury,” Bazeley added. "The key message for divers is to make sure they are adequately qualified and experienced for the diving they plan to undertake, keeping a close eye on weather and sea conditions, and making their own personal fitness a top priority for safe diving. A helpful safety message for divers is to familiarize yourselves with new or different gear before planning deep dives and to always dive within your limits.”
• 2010: 230 incidents, 11 fatalities
• 2011: 196 incidents, 14 fatalities
• 2012: 177 incidents, 16 fatalities