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Dive Medicals

When diving in Australia there are different regulations and requirements compared to those in other countries. The following rules apply in Queensland:

Introductory or Resort Dives: You will need to fill in a Medical Questionnaire given to you by the company you are diving with, and similar to that shown below. If answering YES to any question it will not necessarily disqualify you from diving, but will indicate the need for a medical assessment by a qualified physician prior to diving. Your dive medical can either be done by your own private physician at home or here in Cairns and must state that you are 'fit to dive'.

Learn To Dive Courses and Referral Programs: You may be required to have a dive medical to complete your Learn to dive course. If you answer YES to any of the questions listed below you will be required to have a dive medial completed stating that you are fit to dive. Your dive medical can be done either by your own private physician at home or here in Cairns. A dive medical in Cairns is around AUD$80 per person.

Experienced Divers: Prior to diving, you may be asked to fill out a Medical Questionnaire. Some companies make it policy and some don't, unfortunately it is still quite a grey area and the rules are not hard and fast.

The purpose of the questionnaire is to determine whether you should be examined by a doctor. There may be a pre-existing condition that has not stopped you from diving in your own country, but Australian laws do not allow; or perhaps there could be a new condition developed since you became qualified to dive which may well affect your safety while diving now.

So, basically if you answer YES to any of the conditions listed on the Medical Questionnaire (see sample below), we strongly recommend you to see a physician for further assessment.

If you are qualified and are sitting at your desk thinking that you are fine and that all this medical stuff really does not concern you, let us finish by saying that there have been many cases where a qualified diver has been disqualified from diving when they have already made the trek to the reef, simply because their medical condition becomes known to the dive instructor. At the end of the day the dive instructor is controlling the dives, and your safety is their responsibility whether you like it or not!

Sample Medical Questionnaire

Please note that this is a sample only and may not be same as the questionnaire that you are issued onboard your dive/snorkel trip

  • Could you be pregnant or are you attempting to become pregnant?
  • Is your BMI over 30 AND your waist circumference greater than 102cm for males or 88cms for females.
  • Are you presently taking prescription medications? (with the exception of birth control or anti-malarial)
  • Are you over 45 years of age and can answer YES to one or more of the following?
    • currently smoke a pipe, cigars or cigarettes
    • have a high cholesterol level
    • have a family history of heart attack or stroke
    • are currently receiving medical care
    • high blood pressure
    • diabetes mellitus, even if controlled by diet alone
  • Have you ever had or do you currently have:
    • Asthma, wheezing with breathing or wheezing with exercise?
    • Frequent or severe attacks of hayfever or allergy?
    • Frequent colds, sinusitis or bronchitis?
    • Any form of lung disease?
    • Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)?
    • Other chest disease or chest surgery?
    • Behavioural health, mental or psychological problems (panic attack, fear or closed or open spaces)?
    • Epilepsy, seizures, convulsions or take medications to prevent them?
    • Recurring complicated migraine headaches or take medications to prevent them?
    • Blackouts or fainting (full/partial loss of consciousness)?
    • Frequent or severe suffering from motion sickness (seasick, carsick, etc)?
    • Dysentery or dehydration requiring medical intervention?
    • Any dive accidents or decompression sickness?
    • Inability to perform moderate exercise (example: walk 1.6klm/one mile within 12 mins.)?
    • Head injury with loss of consciousness in the past five years?
    • Recurrent back problems?
    • Back or spinal surgery?
    • Diabetes?
    • Back, arm or leg problems following surgery, injury or fracture?
    • High blood pressure or take medicine to control blood pressure?
    • Heart disease?
    • Heart attack?
    • Angina, heart surgery or blood vessel surgery?
    • Sinus surgery?
    • Ear disease or surgery, hearing loss or problems with balance?
    • Recurrent ear problems?
    • Bleeding or other blood disorders?
    • Hernia?
    • Ulcers or ulcer surgery?
    • A colostomy or ileostomy?
    • Recreational drug use or treatment for, or alcoholism in the past five years?

Don't let yourself find out after you reach the reef that you don't qualify medically, as it may very well be a wasted trip to the reef.

Please note that dive medicals are performed by independent doctors, not dive companies, and it is ultimately the decision of the doctor whether to pass you as medically fit to dive.

The following Medical Centres in Cairns specialise in dive medicals.

  • Cairns 24 Hour Medical Centre
    Cnr Florence and Grafton Sts, Cairns
    Ph: 07 4052 1119
    Email: [email protected]

  • Cairns Central Medical Centre
    112a Cairns Central Shopping Centre, McLeod St, Cairns
    Ph: 07 4031 3717
    Email: [email protected]

  • Cairns Tourist & Local Medical Services
    15 Lake Street, Cairns
    Ph: 07 4041 1699
    Email: [email protected]

  • Central Plaza Doctors
    Cnr McLeod & Aplin Streets, Cairns
    Ph: 07 4046 8600
    Email: [email protected]

» More information on dive medicals...

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Diving Cairns

Diving Cairns - Cairns, Queensland 4870 Australia | Phone: (07) 4041 7536 | E-mail: [email protected]
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