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If you have a Pro or Dive Centre plan, you have two options:

  1. depending on your policy, you may register some or all of your students for free. These are the Free Student Covers.
  2. you can purchase specific insurance plans for your students. These are the Student Plans. For more info, see these webpages:
  • You can do so on your MyDAN, provided you have a Pro or Dive Centre Plan.
  • Once you register your student with a Free cover or with a Student plan, you will both receive a confirmation via email.

They mainly differ in four aspects:

  • Courses —The Free student covers can only be used for entry level students. The Student plans can be used for students of other courses as well.
  • Aggregate limit — The Free covers entail one aggregate cover limit of €15,000 for all students. The Student plans individually cover each student up to €30,000.
  • Duration — The Free covers last max. 90 days - student plans last up to 365 days. In any case, they both expire on the student's certification date.
  • Presence of the instructor — The Free covers stay valid as long as the instructor who's activated them is teaching the course in person. The Student plans cover the insured student no matter who is actually teaching the course.

Yes, you can use these plans for students residing in any country.

Yes, they are valid worldwide.

A history of safe and successful operation is a good indication that your business is healthy and well run, but it does not mean that you are not at risk. Risk will always exist, despite all best efforts.
DAN's HIRA program allows you to take a second look at your operation with a critical eye and an extensive set of criteria. It's all too easy for even the most experienced among us to become complacent and overlook old hazards or new risks that have arisen. Going through the program may reinforce that your risks are well managed, but the process is at least as valuable as its, result and you'll be able to set a baseline by which you can measure future hazards and operations.

As a dive operator, the HIRA program will introduce you to entirely new fields of risk management and liability. Organized risk management, as seen in aerospace and healthcare, has not been adopted in the diving industry, even though the same types of lawsuits and losses occur. Risk is everywhere in the dive industry, and it’s easy to take that for granted or overlook the hazards. As operators and as people responsible for the safety of our employees and customers, that is something we cannot afford. The DAN HIRA program is one way for us to check ourselves and make sure that we are not taking safety for granted. Absence of accidents does not necessarily indicate safety.

Even dive professionals who do not own a dive center or shop with still face numerous hazards both in and out of the water. Being able to identify problems with operations, liability management and even customers is crucial to professionals ability to protect themselves and their students and operate successfully. Dive professionals still face risks from teaching, transporting equipment and students, running or organizing charters and many other necessary aspects of a dive business. These concerns are frequently overlooked, and they put dive professionals in harm’s way. The DAN HIRA program was designed to remedy that and keep you safe while you teach and protect your students.

The DAN HIRA program was designed to help the dive industry thrive, reduce businesses’s losses and prevent injuries. The dive industry cannot survive without its professionals, and improving dive safety cannot be limited to just recreational divers. It is provided at no cost to DAN Pro and Club Members and Business Partners as a proactive way of promoting safety in our communities and keeping our industry thriving.

The DAN HIRA program is designed for all dive professionals. Whether you are an instructor, charter operator, shop owner or run a business that offers watersports as a secondary source of income, HIRA can be applied to your operation. Because of the broad user base for the program, not all facets will be applicable to all operations and it is up to you to determine which portions of the program you stand to benefit from. This is a tool designed to help you manage your own risk and not an audit or compliance program. The goal is to help capable and driven operators improve their businesses and reduce their liability.


There are three levels of contaminants that could contaminate your breathing gas:

  1. Those most commonly found in compressed gas like Carbon Monoxide (CO): Carbon dioxide (CO2), moisture (H2O), condensed oil, particles and odour
  2. Those found in certain geographic locations: volatile hydrocarbons and organic compounds, such as methane (CH4)
  3. Relatively rare but reported toxic substances: for example vapours from cleaning products and halogenated solvents, emissions from motor vehicles, suphur and nitrogen-based products and fumes

Carbon dioxide (CO2) in excessive quantities increases the rate of breathing and in deeper diving causes respiratory risk. It also leads to minor perceptive changes, discomfort, dizziness or stupor and in extreme cases it may cause unconsciousness and even death.

Excessive moisture can make regulators freeze or fail to open. It also enhances corrosion and rust of the cylinders, thus interacting with filtration elements reducing filtration efficiency and generating chemical odours causing nausea and respiratory irritation.

As for oil, especially the smaller particles create health concerns as they will not be removed by the bodys' clearance mechanisms, as happens to the larger particles. The retained oil particles can cause inflammation. Oil mists may also cause a significant fire hazard.

Dust is hazardous to both our lungs as well as to fine regulator parts.

All these contaminations imply awareness by the diver, diligence by the dive station and knowledge by all!

Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas, usually produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon containing compounds.

It is absorbed 200 times more by haemoglobin than oxygen is. This reduces the Oxygen carrying capacity and can eventually lead to hypoxia and even death. The severity of CO poisoning depends on its concentration in the breathing gas and the exposure time. A long exposure to relatively low concentrations can therefore result in serious CO intoxication.

In diving, the partial pressure of CO will increase with depth and even a low concentration of CO contamination which at normal atmospheric pressure and after a prolonged exposure time would have no toxic effect will become dangerous with increasing depth. When descending the haemoglobin can get overloaded with CO, impairing its ability to bind with oxygen, but the increased oxygen partial pressure may also result in enough oxygen in the blood keeping cells oxygenated. During the dive, the decreased oxygen transportation (through the haemoglobin) is also partially compensated by the amount of dissolved oxygen in the blood plasma. But during the ascent, when the partial oxygen pressure is reduced, and the amount of dissolved oxygen also reduces, this can lead to hypoxia. This might be the reason why the symptoms of poisoning may become worse during or after ascent.

CO poisoning is potentially the most dangerous contamination of breathing gas. However, there are other forms of contaminations, which we would like to bring to your attention.

Outer Ear Barotraumas can occur when the ear canal becomes blocked, trapping air between the blockage and the ear drum. This can create excess pressure or a vacuum in the air space as the diver changes depths. Blockages can be caused by excess wax, non-vented ear plugs or an extremely tight fitting hood. Due to the increasing pressure and squeeze in the outer-ear, the surrounding tissues can fill the canal with blood and fluid or the eardrum can rupture. Pain and discomfort will be noticed and after a release of pressure (due to the eardrum rupture), the cold water entering the middle ear may lead to vertigo.

Sinus barotraumas also occur, but are less common. Sinuses are air filled cavities within the bones surrounding the nasal cavity. Each sinus is connected to the nose through a narrow opening (Sinus Ostium) making it possible for the sinuses to be permanently open to the atmosphere. When these openings become obstructed (usually due to congestion resulting from allergies, smoking, infection or overuse of topical decongestants, sinus or nasal inflammation, polyps or plugs of mucus) the sinuses can no longer be equalised. As a result, pain will be felt above the eye, at the cheek bone or at the upper teeth and/ or deep in the skull, depending upon which sinus is involved. Small nose bleeds during or after ascent are frequently experienced. This can be because the sinuses might be filling up with blood to equalise the pressure difference during the dive.

If the stress on the Middle Ear becomes too great (from not equalising or trying too hard with a Valsalva technique) it can cause damage to the Inner Ear (to the hearing and balance structure), which in some cases can be permanent. Deafness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and Vertigo can be experienced.

With frequent immersion, water swells the cells lining the ear canal. Eventually, these cells pull apart - far enough for the bacteria normally found on the surface of your ear canal to get underneath the skin, where they find a nice warm environment and start to multiply. Next thing you know, your ear canal itches, is sore and becomes inflamed. If left untreated, the swelling can spread to the nearby lymph nodes and cause enough pain that moving your jaw becomes uncomfortable. At this point, the only treatment is antibiotics, and diving is definitely out. In some cases a discharge coming out of the external ear can be noticed. Pain with ear tugging distinguishes external ear problems from middle ear infection, where this is painless.

Middle ear barotrauma or “ear squeeze”, is the most common diving injury and can be caused by using a bad equalising technique or because of diving with a cold. The middle ear is a dead space, connected to the upper part of throat through the Eustachian tubes. These tubes are narrow and normally closed. When using one of the equalising techniques, these tubes open and allow the higher pressure air from your throat to enter the middle ears, equalising the dead space. These tubes however can easily get blocked with mucus, due to a cold, making it impossible to equalise the middle ear. During descent, when the pressure increases, there will be a lower pressure in the middle ear and when not equalised this will lead to discomfort and pain in the ear and can sometimes even result in a ruptured eardrum.

During ascent, air in the middle ear will expand as the pressure decreases, if the Eustachian tubes become blocked; it makes it impossible for the expanding air in the middle ear to be released. It is possible vertigo can be experienced because of the pressure on the balance mechanism in the inner ear, if this continues the expanding air can cause severe pain and damage to the ear drum. Reverse Block is usually the result of diving whilst using decongestant drugs that wear off at depth, poor equalising on descent or diving with a cold. A similar case can occur with the sinuses when the Sinus Ostium gets blocked at depth. This will result in pain in the affected sinus with or without a nosebleed and could lead to a sinus rupture in severe cases.

The burden of swimming underwater is surprisingly high. This is due to the depth-dependent increased breathing gas density. The changes in the respiratory mechanics will allow for already existing health restrictions of the respiratory organs to manifest themselves suddenly. Even in experienced divers, usually less than 5% of the body energy will go to the fin. The limiting factor is the respiratory mechanics. It can quickly get out of hand with overexertion.