How the Divers Alert Network Works

Marine Life Image Gallery DAN or the Divers Alert Network offers services for sport and recreational divers. See more pictures of marine life.
Marine Life Image Gallery DAN or the Divers Alert Network offers services for sport and recreational divers. See more pictures of marine life.
Pete Atkinson/Photographers Choice/Getty Images

The scuba diver had just finished exploring the shipwreck lying deep in the dark waters and was heading to the surface when the first pains struck. He knew immediately it was decompression illness, a painful condition that could threaten his life and that would require specialized medical care.

He also knew he had prepared for this possibility, and his membership in the Divers Alert Network would now play a critical role in his recovery.


Recreational scuba divers deal with unique challenges every time they go into the water for an adventure. One of the best ways for divers to have fun and stay safe is to network with other divers. The Divers Alert Network, or DAN, is a non-profit association that offers services for sport divers both in the United States and around the world.

Founded in 1980 in association with Duke University Medical Center, DAN originally provided a 24-hour emergency hotline and a magazine, "Alert Diver." Since then, it's grown to more than 200,000 members in the United States and another 60,000 around the world. The association focuses on divers helping divers, as well as providing unique services for the diving field.

There are many Divers Alert Network benefits. Recreational scuba divers who are members can obtain specialized Divers Alert Network insurance. Such insurance covers the specialized care, transport and treatments associated with many dive accidents and injuries.

DAN members receive the latest information about recreational scuba diving with a special focus on safety. Along with insurance and information, other Divers Alert Network programs include medical information and research, training and education, products and services and event notices. It's easy to see how recreational divers benefit from becoming a member of Divers Alert Network.

So what are the membership plans? What are some of the network's programs? And how does the insurance work? Read on to find out.


Divers Alert Membership Plans

DAN has membership plans for professional and sport divers.
DAN has membership plans for professional and sport divers.
© Zac Maccaulay/Photographers Choice/Getty Images

Becoming a member of Divers Alert Network is easy, and there are several membership plans.

An individual member plan is $29 a year, and for $44 dollars, divers can purchase a family membership, which'll cover any eligible family member as well as the individual. Eligible family members include a spouse or cohabitator and unmarried children younger than 18 years old or up to his 24th birthday if enrolled as a full-time student, lives with the parent and isn't employed full-time.


Individual and family members offer many benefits, including a members-only subscription to "Alert Diver" magazine. The publication keeps divers up to date on the latest research and trends.

These memberships also qualify the diver for DAN's exclusive dive accident insurance, including 24-hour TravelAssist. TravelAssist pays up to $100,000 in evacuation costs in the event of a dive accident or non-dive injury to the member. Members can use the coverage when they are at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) from their home.

Other benefits include:

  • A copy of the "Principles, History and Operation of Rebreathers" presentation available on the DAN Web site. The presentation explains the 120-year history of the rebreather system.
  • Information from a workshop on flying after diving
  • A copy of "Dive and Travel Medical Guide," which covers diving safety issues and helps prevent, identify and treat diving injuries
  • Access to a variety of insurance programs tailored to the needs of sport divers
  • Financial opportunities, such as credit cards, discounts and access to a special satellite phone rental program


Divers Alert Network also offers membership for dive professionals who teach DAN training courses to sport divers. Becoming an associate professional member allows divers to access areas of the DAN Web site that are dedicated to instructors. This area features materials that will help you teach better courses. Also, you can earn points toward a free membership and merchandise by sending new DAN members to DAN training. For example, 10 points will get you a membership, 70 points earns a free DAN oxygen unit. Associate pro members also can buy disability income insurance.

Another type of DAN membership caters to those whose business involves sport diving. DAN business membership holders enjoy numerous benefits and show your customers your commitment to dive safety.

DAN business memberships cost $125 and are open to retailers, resorts, charter boats, universities and any other dive-related organization based in a public walk-in facility (not a personal residence). Benefits include:

  • Two individual memberships, free
  • Special DAN product pricing
  • "Alert Diver" magazine
  • Rental tank decals and diver ID system
  • Points program, redeemable for DAN products
  • Trip insurance eligibility for customers, with a built-in incentive for you
  • Listing on the DAN Web site
  • Quarterly newsletters about DAN benefits for business members

How does the DAN insurance work? Check out the next page to find out.


Divers Alert Network Insurance

The Divers Alert Network provides insurance for divers' equipment as well as medical insurance plans.
The Divers Alert Network provides insurance for divers' equipment as well as medical insurance plans.
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Divers are adventurous, and they take trips. Sometimes, they have accidents that can hurt themselves or their equipment. Some accidents involve common medical problems that can be complicated by diving, such as joint injuries or heart attack. Others are specific to diving, such as decompression illness. Equipment can be dropped, snagged or lost underwater during an emergency.With Divers Alert Network insurance, however, the diver is financially protected.

A Divers Alert Network membership provides the opportunity to obtain trip, equipment, dive accident and group term life insurance. Specialized insurance is one of many Divers Alert Network benefits.


The last thing any diver wants is an accident, but it pays to be prepared if one does occur. DAN offers dive accident insurance at three levels -- Preferred, Master and Standard programs.

Preferred is the most comprehensive of the three and costs $70 per year. Preferred program members are covered up to $250,000 per occurrence and most injuries -- from decompression illness to skin diving and snorkeling -- are covered, and there is no limit on the diving depths covered. It also provides $15,000 accidental death and dismemberment and/or total disability payment, as well as some coverage for extras, such as accommodations, transportation and lost equipment. The Preferred Program covers other non-accident items, such as $10,000 in medical costs for non-dive accidents, $10,000 for vacation cancellation costs and $5,000 for vacation interruption.

The other two levels of coverage -- Master and Standard -- also provide coverage at lower prices.

DAN trip insurance is sold exclusively online and covers trip cancellation and interruption, tour costs, travel delays, your baggage and personal effects. It also provides some medical and accidental death and dismemberment coverage. Optional packages include a $35,000 collision damage waiver and umbrella package that doubles medical expense coverage to $40,000 and other upgrades. DAN trip insurance premiums vary by destination, length of stay and estimated travel costs.

DAN equipment insurance protects your expensive gear from water damage. The insurance carrier working with DAN covers the diver anywhere in the world, providing replacement funds for dive equipment and cameras. Online enrollment immediately covers the diver, who must be DAN members and reside in the United States.

DAN members also are eligible for group term life insurance tailored for divers. The policy can pay your survivors up to $200,000 in protection and can be used as your main life insurance or to supplement existing coverage. Coverage is open to DAN members and their spouses and is renewable up to age 70. There are many options available.

Divers need to stay current on the changing industry. Check out the next page to find out about membership programs.


Divers Alert Network Programs

Educational programs can be found through DAN.
Educational programs can be found through DAN.
© Norbert Wu/Science Faction/Getty Images

Good divers are constantly training and learning, keeping their skills sharp. Divers Alert Network programs offer a variety of classes, training and other events to keep divers at the top of their game. Sport divers will benefit from the proficiency the classes provide. Professionals and instructors may be eligible for continuing education and/or professional development units, as authorized by their agencies.

DAN members can participate in a large variety of courses, including:


  • Oxygen First Aid for Scuba Diving Injuries, which covers on-location treatment for decompression illness and other oxygen applications
  • First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries
  • Basic life support for dive professionals
  • The proper use of automated external defibrillators in an aquatic setting
  • On-Site Neurological Assessment for Divers, which teaches divers how to recognize the early signs of neurological injury or impairment and how to treat them on scene
  • Diving Emergency Specialist, which provides DAN recognition for divers who are interested in dive safety and emergencies
  • Instructor Qualification Course, which prepares a diver to complete a core module on how to teach individual DAN courses

DAN also provides continuing education courses for physicians and other medical staff to ensure the best quality care for divers.The medical education programs are affiliated with the Duke University Health System.

In addition to training for medical personnel, DAN conducts and participates in medical research aimed at increasing sport diver safety and health. Using membership fees, the organization's work is helping divers around the world by collecting and sharing the information obtained from this research.

Some examples include scientifically based surface intervals for divers planning to fly after a dive, and studies on the effects of aging on diver health. DAN also is involved on a major study regarding divers and diabetes.

The Divers Alert Network is important for both the sport and professionals involved in the diving world.

For lots more information about Divers Alert Network and related topics, check out the links on the next page.