Those who dive with a certain frequency know how dangerous it is to re-emerge on the surface because of too many boats that, very often even at high speed, cross near the diving areas despite the presence of signal balloons and support boats with flag regulatory.
The screams and gestures of “attention!” By those who remained on the boat to monitor the comrades in the water, are worth nothing, since very often the noises emitted by the approaching boat cover the cries of warning or, rather, because who is driving a little cares…
So every year, unfortunately, we must record cases of divers overwhelmed by propellers of recreational craft and many more are the cases of accidents just touched.
This despite the recent legislation that provides precise rules regarding the size and location of buoys so-called “segnasub” and despite the order issued by the General Command Delle Capitanerie Di Porto that extends from 50 to 100 meters the minimum distance to which the ships must pass respect to the aforementioned reports.
This type of accident almost always derives from distraction or ignorance by boat drivers of diving signals and the rules to be observed to avoid collisions and accidents; probably this is also due to the fact that in Italy anyone can drive a vehicle driven by an engine with power up to 40 horsepower, provided it is more than 16 years old and surfs within 6 miles, even if you are not aware of the rules governing the transit of boats.
Sometimes we even happened to witness “attempts to recover” the signals (in practice the boat approaches the mark buoy and tries to pull it in the boat) by unsuspecting boaters intrigued by the “unusual balloon” and yes that those who command a boat, even if it is of modest dimensions, should at least know the basic rules of safe navigation underneath.
The law requires scuba divers to report with a buoy equipped with a red flag with a white diagonal strip, or alternatively with a red flag with a white diagonal strip raised on the nautical support and the diver must operate within a radius of 50 meters from the signal buoy or from the nautical vessel on which the flag is hoisted, while passing boats must pass at least 100 meters away from the signals. See more at open water diver depth.
The people of divers are fully aware of these rules and the overwhelming majority of them apply scrupulously.
The diver in apnea also, unlike the one who uses the ARA group, makes repeated descents and ascents, then remains for a much longer time on the surface and is therefore even more exposed to the danger of accidents.
The flag marker is NOT a pennant exposed to show everyone how good they are because “on this boat they sail of the explorers of the abyss”, but a signal that indicates “below is a diver in diving, hold your propellers to due distance ”
When you are at the helm, you must absolutely pay the utmost attention to these signals and navigate at least 100 meters away: the life of a person can depend on this due act!
When a small boat invests a diver the wounds caused by the hull and propeller are devastating and often fatal.
The awareness and the prudence of those who drive a boat are our only hope for a safer sea for everyone.
The only way to try to reduce the balance of these tragic accidents is a campaign to sensitize and spread the distance rule, so that an increasing number of boat drivers are aware of the fact that the balloon and / or the red flag with white diagonal strip exposed means that in that area there is at least one diver in the water and therefore, to avoid investing it with the boat or worse, with the propellers of the engine, it is necessary to transit at least 100 meters away .
The DAN Europe (Divers Alert Network) has been promoting this campaign for years by making available free of charge to anyone who requests stickers to be put on the notice boards of sailing clubs, diving, at the entrance of piers in marinas, in boat rental agencies or wherever they can be seen by the greatest number of people who conduct boats in places of tourist and underwater influxes.
The campaign is based on the wide and widespread diffusion of a simple visual message of immediate comprehension that provides, at first sight, the information necessary to prevent the accident and to comply with current regulations.
Together with the stickers, the DAN proposes a simple questionnaire to be filled in case of an incident that has occurred or touched, in order to create a database that can be back.