Start Date

Monday 14th March 2022

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Diver Panic

Is it a problem?

Divers panic, or sometimes get very close. In fact some research suggests that as many as 1 in 2 divers have experienced panic or near panic at some stage - that's you or your buddy!  In a panic state, people are unable to think clearly and lose control of what they are doing.  Panic is an unpleasant state on the surface but, underwater it can also be dangerous.  

Divers don't talk about panic.  The image you have in your mind of a "scuba diver" is probably not someone thrashing about in an uncontrolled state of panic.  So, if it has happened to you, you most likely wanted to move on quite quickly and find a way to make it not happen again.  

When diver's do talk about panic, we often get hooked on a single point of fault: usually either there was a kit issue (when often there wasn't) OR there was something wrong with the diver (i.e. they were anxious, did something stupid) etc.  And the conclusion is simple - "don't panic next time".  

The trouble is, you knew that already.  It is not as if you intended to panic the first time - it was horrible, of course you would not have done that if you had a choice! 

To stop it happening again, you need to know why it happened in the first place. Work out the cause of the problem and do something to fix it.  Otherwise, you can find yourself stuck. But, with few people really understanding what panic is, you may be struggling to find that explanation.  

Stress is part of diving, not only is it unavoidable, it is the stresses and rising to the challenges that help us to learn.  We can't remove stress entirely.  Instead we learn the skills we need to respond effectively to the stress. We cannot fully prevent any human behaviour but, once we understand what triggers our actions, we realise there are a lot of things we can do to make it less likely to happen.

But what about diver rescue training ...

... don't we cover panic there?

The diving agencies like PADI, SSI, BSAC etc. have some reference to panic in the rescue level courses, and certainly for the practical skills in helping a panic diver, taking rescue training is a good idea.  Learning practical skills to prevent and manage incidents, and rescue a panicked diver is recommended ... but that's not what this course is about.

Prevent Panic covers the things your rescue course didn't.  The Rescue courses are scuba diving courses, they do not go into depth on human behaviour or psychological skills.  Your scuba diving instructor could be excellent, but it is not their role to this, and it's not on the curriculum.

This course will teach you about what panic is and what causes it.  We look at the psychological and physiological experience of panic.  The detail and presentation goes far beyond the small boxes in your rescue diver elearning - for example, there are four extended case studies to help you to apply the concepts.  There are also audio exercises to introduce you to skills for dealing with negative, anxious thoughts. That means it is useful for any diver who is concerned about panic, and also works well as an addition to rescue diver training.

If you did your rescue course and were left wondering: "...but what makes the diver panic?"  "how can we avoid this happening?" or "how come some divers struggle more with anxiety?" -  this is the course for you!


Who is this course for?

Recreational scuba divers of all levels

You are a diver who is curious to learn more about this issue and stay safe.  You are seeking knowledge and skills that can help you to reduce the risks.  It may be that you are also an instructor, and you've seen your students panic, which is a difficult experience.  You want to know how to prevent this from happening with your future students, and want to build your awareness.  

Or perhaps you want to become a better diver by taking further training, but have experienced panic as a barrier to progressing.  This can be very frustrating, it's hard to understand why your reacting this way and you'd just like to be able to dive.  This course helps you to understand why some diver's get stuck with these issues and explores options for seeking suitable scuba diving training.


What we will cover

Click on the sections to discover what's inside!

    1. A message from your instructor

    2. Next steps

    3. How to join the discussions

    4. The Panic Triangle brief eGuide

    5. Before you begin the course...

    6. Introductions

    1. Your experience of panic in scuba diving

    2. A note about discussions

    3. Before you start ...

    4. In this section you will learn ...

    5. What do we know about panic in scuba diving?

    6. Quick Check

    7. What do scuba divers do when panicked?

    8. Some things a panicked diver may do

    9. Quick Check

    10. The impact of panic on diver development

    11. Three reasons panic is a problem for divers

    12. Quick Check

    13. Don't panic!

    14. The short answer

    15. Your copy of the panic triangle

    16. Meet our divers

    17. ... now test yourself

    18. Further Resources

    19. DISCUSSION | the problem of panic in scuba diving

    20. Quick Feedback

    1. Before you start ...

    2. In this section you will learn ...

    3. What is panic?

    4. Quick Check

    5. Humans are adjustable!

    6. Ways to survive

    7. What is dissociation?

    8. The fight or flight response

    9. Quick Check

    10. Features of panic and dissociation

    11. Getting into panic

    12. Quick Check

    13. Defining behaviour

    14. Why people lose control during a panic state

    15. Our Divers - Joyce panics in open water

    16. ... now test yourself

    17. DISCUSSION | Understanding what panic is and how it affects us

    18. Quick Feedback

    1. Before you start ...

    2. In this section you will learn ...

    3. What causes scuba divers to panic?

    4. Quick Check

    5. Panic Triangle: Stressor

    6. Task Loading Buckaroo!

    7. Stressors in Scuba Diving

    8. Our Divers - Dave has a stressful dive

    9. Panic Triangle: Readiness

    10. Our Divers - Katie's Open Water course

    11. Panic Triangle: Regulation

    12. Putting it all together

    13. Using Worksheet A

    14. Worksheet A

    15. ... now test yourself

    16. Further Resources

    17. DISCUSSION | The causes of diver panic

    18. Quick Feedback

    1. When panic becomes a repetitive or ongoing issue

    2. Before you start ...

    3. In this section you will learn ...

    4. Our Divers - Jack is involved in a serious incident

    5. Learning to fear

    6. How panic is maintained

    7. Fitness-to-dive

    8. The relationship between anxiety and avoidance

    9. Quick Check

    10. Our Divers - Jack dives after the incident

    11. Ways to avoid feeling anxiety

    12. Social influences

    13. Rising Panic

    14. Quick Check

    15. ... now test yourself

    16. Our Divers - Katie goes on a dive trip

    17. What next?

    18. Further Resources

    19. DISCUSSION | long-term or repeat issues with diver panic

    20. Quick Feedback

    1. Before you start ...

    2. In this section you will learn ...

    3. Addressing the factors that can create panic

    4. Extinguishing fears, phobias and anxieties

    5. Quick Check

    6. Our Divers - Jack addresses his issues with panic

    7. The Three "C"s: comfort, competence, & confidence

    8. Quick Check

    9. Our Divers - Katie builds her skills

    10. Essential features of learning environment

    11. Our Divers - Revisiting Joyce

    12. Using Worksheet B

    13. Worksheet B

    14. ... now test yourself

    15. Further Resources

    16. DISCUSSION | How to reduce the risks

    17. Quick Feedback

About this course

  • £71.00
  • 132 lessons
  • 3 hours of video content

Meet your instructor ...

... and course creator

Instructor & Course Creator Dr Laura Walton

Diving since 2007, Laura is an active scuba diver and instructor (& Clinical Psychologist in the UK) with range of experience from low visibility, cold water dives to tropical locations and the various challenges different sites offer. Her perspective in training is influenced by 20 years of studying psychology & 7 years as a diving professional. Alongside this she previously co-managed an active dive club and school in Scotland, and has experience of the dive industry and community. Laura holds multiple relevant qualifications including PADI Master Instructor, DDI Instructor, EFR Instructor & DAN Instructor. With her interest in diving psychology and physiology, she seeks to learn more through research and to share understanding through creation of unique courses that help divers to be physically, mentally and emotionally fit-to-dive.

Things you need to know ...

... before booking your place

This course helps you, as a scuba diver, to understand panic, become aware of the factors that lead to panic in diving, so that you are more able to take actions that reduce the risk.  As part of this course you will receive a downloadable worksheet to help make sense of stressful experiences diving, and to identify a range of useful actions.

This is an information-only course for the purpose of diver education.  Any comments or answers provided by the course instructor are relating to general observations, experience or source references.  Professional advice on specific difficulties or psychological issues will not be provided within the course. 

For individual support or advice please see this page.


The course lasts 7 weeks and is released in manageable sections each week.  

You will have 90 days access to complete the course in total.  If you require an extension, please get in touch. 

The course contains notes in pdf and guided audios that you may download for future reference.

The instructor will be checking in on questions on the discussion board.

You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of this course.  


Entry Closes

Monday 14th March 2022

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Reviews

5 star rating

Thanks, Laura!!!

Julia Hakenes

In this course you learn a lot about the connection between your body and your mind and how things might add up to experiencing panic. But not only this theo...

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In this course you learn a lot about the connection between your body and your mind and how things might add up to experiencing panic. But not only this theoretical knowledge is taught in an excellent way, you also get useful practical tips and exercises on what to do in order to better avoid panic. This course should be compulsory for every scuba diver!

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5 star rating

Insightful and relevant, a must do course for all divers!

Faye Wilde

Lots to relate to here and a great overall look at the way panic manifests itself and how to manage it. This is relevant to all divers irrespective of experi...

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Lots to relate to here and a great overall look at the way panic manifests itself and how to manage it. This is relevant to all divers irrespective of experience and has some very important lessons and tools. All divers should take this course!

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5 star rating

Steve Bougourd

Excellent

Excellent

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5 star rating

Excellent Course!

Aaron Yates

This course is good for divers who have experienced panic and those who have not. It brings to light the process at work in a panicking diver and actions tha...

Read More

This course is good for divers who have experienced panic and those who have not. It brings to light the process at work in a panicking diver and actions that can be taken to remove or control the panic. As the course points out being “Fit” to dive is not just a physical state. Become more aware of your buddies and your own reactionary behavior by taking this class.

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5 star rating

When teaching diving follow this course

Pim Klingens

This course gives a more in depth view on how panic builds up and how you can prevent it. This course and the Psychology for Scuba Divers course are reco...

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This course gives a more in depth view on how panic builds up and how you can prevent it. This course and the Psychology for Scuba Divers course are recommended to anyone teaching diving.

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5 star rating

It’s the approach.

Derek Moore

We can all call a dive whether it be conditions are not right, equipment problems or just feeling unwell, but assessing why someone calls a dive or just does...

Read More

We can all call a dive whether it be conditions are not right, equipment problems or just feeling unwell, but assessing why someone calls a dive or just does not want to continue is never easy to assess as the signs are not visible. This course explains especially for instructors the psychological aspects and reasons behind why some are more nervous about particular aspects of diving and the response that should be approached to those individuals. My approach to a person now will be entirely different following this course.

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5 star rating

Excellent course

Natalie Thomas

I found this course extremely useful and gave me much food for thought on how I can better manage my diving thru breathing and recognising what sometimes cau...

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I found this course extremely useful and gave me much food for thought on how I can better manage my diving thru breathing and recognising what sometimes causes me to panic. Would recommend this to others.

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