Much like any sport, especially water sports, there are inherent risks in scuba diving. However, a number of different factors must be taken into consideration when considering the dangers of scuba diving. The shortest answer to the question is that, yes, scuba diving can be dangerous. However, many people scuba dive for decades, all throughout their lives, and never have a serious incident.
Asking the question is scuba diving dangerous is much like asking if driving an automobile is dangerous. There are times that it is and sometimes, despite every precaution taken, bad things can happen. However, when those precautions are taken, it increases the chances of a safe trip exponentially.
Getting a good training course from a certified scuba diving instructor is critical to improving safety while scuba diving. This teaches the basics of the sport and safety is a primary topic in nearly every class session. In fact, each time the equipment is put on, a good instructor will make sure you run through a safety checklist. The scuba diving course will teach about proper equipment, maintenance and such issues as "the bends."
Also, taking a scuba diving course will give beginners a chance to make friends with others who are just getting into the hobby. This offers those students great camaraderie and may lead to lifelong partnerships, which is another critical aspect of scuba diving. The number one rule, no matter how experienced one is, is to never dive alone.
While some may have concerns about the animal life encountered while under the water, this is often the least of your concerns. Most of the time that trouble happens, it does not happen because of an interaction with wildlife, but rather an equipment failure or a failure to follow proper safety procedures. This is why having a partner can be important. If a diver becomes incapacitated or has an equipment failure, he or she may need to depend on someone else in order to get to the surface safely.
The most common type of scuba problem is the bends, or decompression illness. However, yearly totals through the beginning of the 21st Century showed this only accounted for an average of slightly more than 1,000 cases per year, with only a fraction of a percentage of those being fatal. This is in relation to the millions of dives made each year.
In comparison to other sports, the incident rate, per number of participants, is much lower than many other sports. For example, cycling has an injury rate of seven times that of diving. Even golf carries 1.5 times the risk that diving does, according to the U.S.-based National Safety Council, which figures accident rates based on reported incidents and approximate number of players. However, the statistics should not lull anyone into thinking there is no danger factor with scuba diving. It can still be quite dangerous and the situations can lead to disastrous consequences. In fact, an average of 90 deaths are reported from scuba diving accidents each year.