First Aid for Hazardous
Marine Life Injuries
diver surfaces from a dive in an area abundant with coral, removes his
fins and finds redness, swelling and blisters just beginning to show on
his left ankle. He also experiences a stinging sensation on the same
A diver, following a dive to an area filled with marine life,
notices a small bite pattern on his lower right leg and some stiffness; he
also experiences difficulty swallowing, has a generalized weakness and a
slight numbness in the area of the bite.
A diver experiences pain, nausea and some swelling associated with a
purple-and-black puncture wound in his left knee.
The common thread from each of the three injuries is that they likely
came from contact with some form of hazardous marine life. Given similar
circumstances with you or a dive buddy, would you be able to appropriately
treat each injury?
Although serious hazardous marine life injuries are rare, most divers
experience minor discomfort from unintentional encounters with fire coral,
jellyfish and other marine creatures at some point in their dive careers.
Knowing how to minimize these injuries helps you reduce diver discomfort
The First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries program is designed to
provide knowledge regarding specific types of marine creature injuries and
the general first aid treatment for those injuries.
The objectives of this course are to train and educate the general diving
public and interested non-divers in the first aid techniques for a
suspected hazardous marine life injury. In addition, this course will
introduce divers to the identification of potentially hazardous marine
life and how to avoid hazardous marine life injuries. This program also
provides an excellent opportunity for experienced divers and instructors
to continue their education.
Recommended Minimum Hours of Training
Knowledge Development (Lecture) = 1 Hour
Skills Development (Practice) = 3 Hours
At the end of this program, First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries
course, participants will be able to:
- Identify the four types of hazardous marine life injuries.
- Name at least five venomous marine animals.
- List five common warning signs of an envenomation.
- Describe the appropriate first aid procedure for managing a venomous
marine animal injury.
- Name at least three aquatic animals that may bite a diver.
- List two common warning signs of marine animal bite.
- Describe the appropriate first aid procedure for managing a bite
from a marine animal.
- Name at least three marine animals that may cause irritations to the
- List at least four common warning signs of irritations.
- Describe the appropriate first aid procedure for accidental contact
with aquatic life.
- Identify two common types of seafood poisonings.
- Name at least three types of fish that can cause seafood poisoning.
- List three common warning signs of seafood poisoning.
- State the reason why evaluation by a medical professional is
necessary when seafood poisoning is suspected.
- Describe the appropriate first aid procedures for managing suspected
- Perform a scene safety assessment.
- List the steps in performing a scene safety assessment.
- Assess the Airway, Breathing and Circulation (ABCs) of an injured
- Demonstrate a caring attitude towards a diver who becomes ill or
- Establish and maintain the Airway and Breathing (perform Rescue
Breathing) for an injured diver.
- Describe the importance of the use of supplemental oxygen as a first
aid measure for injured divers.
- Demonstrate the techniques for controlling bleeding including direct
pressure, elevation and the use of pressure dressings and pressure
- Locate and demonstrate the use of pressure points to control
- Apply dressings and bandages to manage wounds caused by hazardous
- Demonstrate an ongoing assessment and manage shock.
- Demonstrate the pressure immobilization technique.
- List the components of an Emergency Assistance Plan.
- Describe at least five techniques or guidelines that minimize the
risk of injury from marine animals.
The nature and scope of this course is limited to training divers and
interested non-divers such as boat captains, water enthusiasts and
non-diving family members to identify potential hazardous marine life; to
provide first aid for a hazardous marine animal injury; and to prevent
injuries caused by hazardous marine life. This course does not provide
training for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or scuba diving rescue.
The training exercises of this course presuppose that the ill or injured
diver has already been brought to shore or is aboard the boat.
Skill Performance Objectives
To successfully complete the DAN First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life
Injuries course, participants must demonstrate skill and confidence
providing first aid to injured divers who have simulated hazardous marine