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Just how adequate and reliable are the U.S. Navy Diving Tables (or tables based on them) for use by sport or recreational divers? Development of the United States Navy Dive Tables began in 1912 following earlier experiences by the British Navy. From 1912 through World War II and the 1960′s, the United States Navy continued to refine and develop its dive tables using as its test subjects young males in superb physical condition,
Scientific literature indicates that many divers are injured albeit a strict compliance with U.S. Navy Dive Tables.
employing state-of-the-art computers, engineering principles and advanced biomedical research. Recreational sport diving has to this day relied upon the research done by the United States Navy in the development of its tables. How appropriate are the U.S. Navy Diving Tables for the recreational diving community?
Scientific literature indicates that many divers are injured albeit a strict compliance with U.S. Navy Dive Tables. One possible reason may be that the U.S. Navy Dive Tables were not designed for the sport diving industry.The bottom line is that there is no substitute for diving conservatively within or well below the operational limits of the U.S. Navy Diving Tables. It is widely accepted that diving the tables to the limits greatly increases the probability of injury.
A quote from Dr. William Schane, M.D., Staff Physician and Diving Officer of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is salient,
At the risk of appearing iconoclastic, we do not have the foggiest idea of how the human body handles gases breathed under pressure! One expert has called decompression theory “the worst form of black magic”.
Presently, there are numerous computer software programs allowing divers to customize dive tables to suit specialized diving applications. Great caution should be exercised in utilizing these programs. A court of law will strictly scrutinize employment of these programs if offered within the “casual” diver consumer market.
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