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The Diving Incident Monitoring Study (DIMS)
(Cave and Technical Diving)

Fill-in the DIMS Form HERE


Incident and accident analysis has been a feature of the commercial airline industry for many years. Subsequently this philosophy was taken up by with the pioneering work of Professor Bill Runciman at the department of Anaesthesia, Royal Adelaide Hospital. More recently,  Dr Chris Acott (Diving Medicine Physician, Royal Adelaide Hospital) has applied this strategy to identify, then subsequently manage incidents that occur in divers (DIMS). A number of important publications have arisen already from his work.

It is well recognised that disasters rarely occur due to an isolated incident, but rather due to a sequence of problems that snowball and finally overwhelm the "defences" in place. For example, a diver’s LP inflator hose disconnects underwater. The diver drops into the silt and visibility is obscured, physical contact with the guideline is lost or a tangle ensues. Panic increases air consumption which limits the available time to resolve the scenario.….

By identifying and fixing seemingly minor problems, this kind of analysis may prevent major problems developing. My goal is to expand the DIMS project further into recreational cave and "technical" diving.

DIMS (Cave and Technical Diving)

A diving incident is any error or unplanned event that could, or indeed did, reduce the safety margin for a diver on a particular dive. The error may have been made by anyone involved with the dive. It may also include equipment problems. The incident may have been preventable or unpreventable. Most incidents don’t cause harm, but reporting such incidents will give valuable information when considered with other incidents. Final analysis may produce recommendations for diving practice, training or equipment which will improve diver safety during this type of diving.


No person is identified in the reporting of incidents. The information is not available to any legal process. Anonymity is assured.


Cave Diving – diving in a cave where direct access to the surface is not possible. This includes both marine and inland sites.

Technical diving – For the purpose of this study, a technical dive includes any of the following: Planned decompression, an overhead environment, depth greater than 40m, the use of any type of rebreather, breathing gases other than air or EANx 22-40% oxygen in nitrogen.

Reporting of results

All DIMS forms will be returned to Dr Chris Acott, or via electronic form to Dr Richard Harris. Reports relating to Cave or Technical diving will be analysed as a subset by Richard Harris. The results of data analysed in the DIMS (Cave and Technical diving) will be published in the diving medical literature, and important findings made available to the relevant recreational diving training agencies, associations and bodies. Again, I emphasise that no identifying characteristics of any diver or other individual will be made public.

(c) 2004 Richard "Harry" Harris
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