SPUMS 44th Annual Scientific meeting 2


There is a large selection of dive computers on the market. Many of them have adjustable “personal settings” and are used by the divers. However, many of the decompression settings are only arrived at by basic subtraction  of numeric values such as altitude. So, the diver must evaluate all circumstances relevant to the specific dive and not look at the computer settings in isolation.


Dr. Martin Sayer also said that occupational divers in the UK and have set standards for the independent breathing gas supply that divers must have available to them to resurface in emergencies. The problem with setting such standards is that the  breathing rate and air consumption varies significantly, not only from person to person, but also in the same person depending on the depth and type of work that is being done. In their studies they found that the breathing rates in certain situations can be as high as 134 l/m.  Seeing that current dive cylinders only have a compressible pressure of 230 bar.


The hyperbaric facilities  in England and Wales also have to belong to the BHA to be able to receive funding. They have  regular appraisals done to keep the standards high. The appraisal is a modification of the Scottish standard of appraisal. This is a good way to keep the “good” and get rid of the “bad and the ugly”.

Dr Martin Sayer is at  the head of the UK National Facility for Scientific Diving, as well as the West Scotland Centre for Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine. He also has many other appointments in the fields of diving and underwater technology.

Dr. Martin Sayer was one of the main speakers at the recent  SPUMS  Annual Scientific meeting that was held in Palau.



SPUMS 44th Annual Scientific meeting

Palau Rock Islands

Palau Rock Islands

Breath-hold diving is gaining popularity as an underwater sport and is not without it’s dangers. But, the breath-hold diving fraternity seems to be doing very well in the sense that they are training and looking after the safety of their members. It isn’t a sport that you would like to participate in without team support. Dr. Neal Pollock gave an interesting talk on how the “free-divers”  support and look after their own.

Blindly relying on your dive computer, when most divers don’t even know what algorithms the computer is using, is scary. Completely relying on your dive computer for “safe” diving………….not a good idea! It is always important to remember that the dive computer is an external device, is not implanted in your body and therefore is not measuring your specific individual systems and organs. Dr. Neal Pollock stressed that it can at best provide you with mathematical profiles and strategies to keep you safer. You are still the master of your body and must ultimately decide what is safe for yourself on a given day, time and situation.

Dr. Neal Pollock was the keynote speaker at the 44th annual SPUMS Annual Scientific Meeting in Palau, Micronesia. He is the research director at DAN (Divers Alert Network) and Research Associate in the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology at Duke University Medical Center.


This year’s meeting of SPUMS (South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society) was held in Palau.

The convener of the meeting was Dr. Catherine Meehan and the current president of the society is Dr. David Smart.

The SPUMS meeting is currently the best meeting of it’s kind in the world. Attending a meeting in a tropical island location, is only one of the fringe benefits. It still has to be a worthwhile scientific meeting and this meeting certainly excelled in that department.

Some of the main “take home and rethink” topics were diabetics and diving and decompression table/programme selection. The topics and papers presented will be published in the Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine  journal of SPUMS and EUBS.

More is to follow about the other speakers and topics.