Temporary Membership Benefits

Visitors and travels may join DAN-SA as a temporary member and know that they have every aspect of their dive trip covered, including safety. It gives you ease of mind when you are on the move and is taken for increments of five days at a time. It is applicable to worldwide diving. 

What is covered?

Membership benefits for medical expenses and related evacuation and assistance services to a total limit of R300 000 is available for scuba divers, freedivers and spearfishermen who suffer a diving emergency, involving one of the following:
  • A diving-related injury (including barotrauma)
  • A diving-related illness, specifically decompression sickness (DCS) and/or an arterial gas embolism (AGE)
  • Any diving-related injury or illness not necessarily caused by pressure or pressure changes, including, but not limited to, traumatic injuries
Notes to what is covered

Benefits are only available to persons diving outside of their country of residence, including South Africans diving outside of South Africa and overseas visitors diving in the Southern African region.
  • Benefits are not applicable if you are younger than 10 years or over 74 (inclusive) years of age.
  • Premiums include 14% VAT (this is non-refundable as membership is only available in South Africa).
  • A limited membership benefit period applies with increments of five days only.
  • Subscribers must be either a certified diver or a diving student on a recognised, entry-level certification course accompanied by a certified diving instructor.
  • A depth limit of 40 m applies (18 m for entry-level students or in accordance to your dive organisation training standards).

What is not covered?

Membership benefits are restricted to diving-related emergencies. The following summarises the most notable exclusions.
  • Cardiac disease, cardiovascular disease, vascular disease or cerebro-vascular disease or sequelae or complications thereof, except where these have, in the opinion of the DAN-SA physician, been caused by a diving-related AGE
  • Any back pain or back injury, whether acute or chronic, including back pain with neurological involvement and/or immobility (but not spinal cord decompression sickness or traumatic vertebral fractures of normal vertebrae)
  • Any pre-existing medical conditions
  • Participation in endurance dives or dives involving attempts at breaking a depth or time record
  • Water-borne or other aquatic infections, including, but not limited to, swimmer’s ear and skin infections
  • Related to any one of the following conditions:
    • Myocardial infarction due to Ischemic heart disease
    • Vertebral disk hernias
    • Breaking or rupturing subcutaneous tendons​

How to file a claim?

​​Learn how to file a claim for medical expenses related to a diving injury or a travel-related medical emergency covered under DAN-SA membership benefits.

Your Responsibility

​Researching your dive site, planning your dive and preparing to respond to emergencies are all components of prudent dive planning. The safe diver understands that preparation for diving begins long before you arrive at
your dive site.

The foundation of safe diving is a good emergency assistance plan (EAP). DAN-SA’s emergency on-call staff answers hundreds of calls each year. Not surprisingly, many calls involve situations that could have been managed with a sound EAP.

​Developing an Emergency Assistance Plan

​The heart of an EAP is a list of essential considerations and a framework for performing key functions should an incident occur. Being a responsible member of the diving community means you and your dive buddies should create and review an EAP prior to any dive excursion. A comprehensive EAP can be divided into three sections: prevention, preparation and response.Developing an Emergency Assistance Plan (EAP).


Paying attention to the factors that commonly cause dive emergencies can help prevent crises altogether. The best way to handle an incident is to keep it from happening. These are factors to consider:

Physical fitness: Diving requires aerobic fitness, strength, flexibility and muscular endurance. Your physical fitness should be commensurate with the demands of your dive environment.

Medical fitness: You need to consider both chronic medical conditions and short-term health issues. Congestion increases the risk of ear or sinus barotrauma, and travelling divers often face gastrointestinal problems that can affect their general health and stamina. Be honest with yourself; if you feel less than 100% healthy, postpone your dive.

Mental fitness: Many people with everyday anxieties, fears or other psychological difficulties can dive safely. However, if for any reason, at any time, you or a buddy feels unprepared to enter the water, call off the dive.

Training: Make sure you are trained for the type of dive you are about to do and practise your basic skills, such as mask clearing, buoyancy and air sharing skills, regularly. Take a refresher if you feel uncomfortable or have not been diving in six months or more.

Equipment maintenance: Divers must understand the capabilities and limitations of their own and their buddy’s equipment. Have your gear inspected regularly, get trained in its use and maintenance and incorporate enough time to familiarise yourself with your buddy’s gear before you dive.

Dive planning: Learn about any hazards, specific skills required or other unique aspects of your dive site. Consider hazardous marine life, currents, temperature and the potential for rapid changes in weather or sea conditions.


​Despite all efforts to prevent them, incidents still happen. The better prepared you are to handle them, the better the outcome will be. Here is how to prepare:

Know the local resources: Make a written list of the facilities and emergency resources near your dive site, including hospitals, clinics, search-and-rescue providers and transportation or evacuation services. Injured divers should always be taken to the closest medical facility, as not all hyperbaric chambers are equipped to
receive injured divers directly. Call DAN-SA only after you have contacted local emergency personnel.

Get first-aid training: Make sure your first-aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen-administration skills are up to date. If you have not had a chance to complete such training, make sure to identify who in your group - perhaps a dive master, dive buddy or medic at the
dive site — is trained.

Carry emergency supplies: It is critical to keep your first-aid kit well stocked and current. You should also ensure that you have enough oxygen to care for at least one injured diver until medical personnel can arrive. Obviously, remote locations will require more oxygen.

Share information: Tell your buddy about your allergies, medical conditions and insurance coverage and whether you are a DAN-SA member. If you are uncomfortable sharing personal information, write it down, seal it in an envelope and let your buddy know where it is. Always let someone on shore know where you are and
when to expect you back.

Stay alert: Be an alert diver. Know that even when a diver does everything right, bad things can happen. Do not be caught off guard when they do. One level head can create calm in the midst of chaos.


​Response is the implementation of the plan. It's the split-second decisions made and the actions taken that affect the outcome of the day's events.

Scene management: During an emergency situation, it is important to have preassigned tasks to specific individuals. Determine who will provide care to the injured, who will call 911, who will manage bystanders and who will secure equipment. Make sure your plan accounts for any divers still in the water.

Patient care: Remember that rescuer and bystander safety comes first; don't forget to wear gloves when providing care. Ensure circulation, airway and breathing. Stop any bleeding you find, and provide oxygen.

Communications and logistics: Good coordination of the various parties involved in an emergency reduces everyone's stress. Designate someone to liaise among the caregivers, the captain and crew, emergency services personnel and DAN. This person ensures everybody knows what they need to know.

Documentation: Good notes allow caregivers to observe trends in an injured diver's condition, serve as a reminder of what treatments have been administered and provide legal protection.

Debriefing: Give everyone involved in an emergency the opportunity to discuss what happened. Allow each participant to describe his or her own experiences and ask each other questions in an environment free from judgment. Formal processing of the event can improve psychological well-being and enhance individuals' ability to respond to future emergencies.

Diving should be a positive experience. Dive with care. Remember that DAN is here to answer any questions you may have about your emergency plan, but we can't create it for you. DAN is a part of your emergency plan, but there are many other parts you must put into place yourself. Incorporating these important elements and promoting good planning to divers of all levels, from novice to instructor, contributes to safer diving for everyone.

​What to know when calling the hotline?

​In a diving emergency, divers can count on the 24-hour DAN-SA hotline for prompt and vital information.
The DAN-SA hotline is a 24/7/365 service that is available to everyone, whether you are a DAN-SA member or not. To call the DAN-SA hotline within South Africa, call 0800 020 111; or outside of South Africa, call +27 828 10 60 10. Please note that all calls are recorded.


The DAN-SA hotline has been established specifically to address the following situations or enquiries:
  • All diving emergencies;
  • Non-diving medical emergencies;
  • Diving medical information, such as fitness to dive, medication, and travel medical advice and enquiries;
  • Travel notifications and advice;Diving medical examiner contact details; and
  • International medical centres or doctors who want to confirm DAN-SA memberships.

Whenever you contact the DAN-SA hotline, the following information should be available in order to expedite assistance and to ensure that contact with the caller or patient can be maintained:
  • The caller and/or patient’s name and contact number;
  • The nature of the emergency;
  • The patient’s DAN-SA membership number, if applicable or known;
  • The patient’s medical aid information, if the incident has occurred within South Africa; and
  • The patient’s travel insurance information, if applicable.
It is important to note that if the caller is not at the scene, at least one local contact number should be provided in order to reach the person that is in need of assistance, or those who are in charge of their care.​


DAN-SA makes a conference call to one of the on-call diving medical officers (DMOs) when an emergency call is received and the nature of the event has been established. The DMOs will provide specialist diving medical advice as to what should be done immediately and will also make decisions regarding the further management of each case.


It is important to note that aeromedical resources, such as helicopters and air ambulances, cannot be dispatched unless the need for them has been confirmed and authorised by the DMO. Importantly, and contrary to popular belief, it may take longer to activate an air ambulance than it would take to mobilise emergency medical services via a ground ambulance. In addition, there are several factors, aside from costs, that influence the ultimate decision to make use of aeromedical evacuation, namely:
  • The availability of transport: Is an air ambulance or a helicopter available?
  • The nature of the injury: How urgently does the patient need advanced life-support and should they be moved to intensive care?
  • The location of the patient: What are the optimal logistical considerations for efficiently and safely moving the patient to a place where they can receive medical assessment and appropriate medical care, with appropriate medical support during the transfer?
  • Various aspects regarding the landing zone or airport: Are these appropriate for a helicopter or a fixed-wing air ambulance; are these open, particularly at night; what are the customs or immigration requirements; and what are the implications of getting the patient to the landing zone or airport or the crew to the patient?
The DAN-SA hotline was established first and foremost as a means of providing emergency medical assistance to injured divers. Although we would like people to be considerate, we welcome calls requiring diving medical advice and assistance.

Remember that it is far better to contact the hotline early, even when the concerns about a potential diving medical problem are very tentative, rather than to wait until the situation has become critical as the opportunity to assist becomes far more restricted​.