Dr. George Harpur, an authority on underwater medicine, noted that alcohol, improperly prepared equipment and defective gear all played a part in the death.
The inquest jury recommended that scuba- diving associations have better standards of training and testing and should emphasize the hazards of using alcohol or drugs before diving.
Douglas Bard, 34, of Hamilton, died July 12 in a dive at Tobermory - the first of two deaths this summer at the popular diving spot 95 kilometres northwest of Owen Sound.
Mr. Bard, president of Hamilton's Halcyon Diving Club, died of a massive embolism - air bubbles that form in the bloodstream because of an abrupt change in pressure.
The inquest was told that Mr. Bard and another diver had five beers each before the dive and that the drinking continued up to the time they entered the water. At a depth of 30 metres, the effect of alcohol increases by one-third because of the change in pressure.
Mr. Bard also started the fatal dive with less than half a tank of air. When his supply ran out, he tried to surface from a depth of 30 metres while sharing another diver's tank.
Halfway up, the other diver, Dennis Black, also ran out of air. He survived by inflating an emergency vest that floated him quickly to the surface. Mr. Bard apparently tried his vest, but it did not inflate.
The five divers in the party also were carrying heavier weights on their belts than experts recommend, the inquest was told.
Tobermory, on the Bruce Peninsula where Lake Huron joins Georgian Bay, is one of Ontario's most popular diving spots because of a large number of shipwrecks.
Two weeks after the Bard accident, an inexperienced Michigan man, Joe Mikesell, died in the area while diving.
"Basic scuba diving safety rules violated, coroner's probe told.(News)." Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada] 2 Aug. 1985: P15. Popular Magazines. Web. 21 Nov. 2009.
Gale Document Number:A165594967
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