DAN started as the National Diving Accident Network (NDAN) in 1980 with the goal of establishing a 24-hour emergency hotline with access to physicians who were trained and experienced in the recognition, care, transportation and recompression therapy of diving injuries. Within the first year alone, the idea proved so popular that a second, non-emergency line was created to handle the demand for medical and dive safety information.
In 1983, NDAN became a membership organization in order to reduce its reliance on federal grants and changed its name to Divers Alert Network (DAN). As membership and the number of divers served by DAN grew, DAN recognized the need to assist injured divers with the financial challenges of treating diving injuries. In 1987, DAN pioneered the first dive accident insurance program, and membership doubled within a year. Emergency medical evacuation, now called DAN TravelAssist®, was added as a member benefit in 1992. Today DAN offers a variety of insurance plans, including dive accident, trip, equipment, life and disability.
DAN became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 1990. The organization was a model for improving dive safety in other parts of the world, and International DAN (IDAN) was established in 1991 to provide mutual support for regional DAN organizations worldwide.
In response to its own research showing only one-third of injured divers were receiving 100 percent oxygen as first aid, DAN launched the first Oxygen First Aid training program in January 1991. Since then, DAN Education has trained more than 210,000 providers and now offers more than 15 different courses. More than 3,300 active DAN Instructors teach DAN programs independently as part of their diving and safety programs.
DAN formally established its research department in 1992 with the start of its flying-after-diving trials. Its biggest ongoing project, Project Dive Safety (later renamed Project Dive Exploration), began in 1995 and continues to collect and analyze dive profiles for a statistical analysis of the risks of decompression sickness. DAN Research has investigated the effects of aging on dive health, the medical advisability of diving with insulin-requiring diabetes and other topics of import to divers. The research staff maintains a database of dive injuries and fatalities and publishes a downloadable Annual Diving Report.
In 2010 DAN moved to a multicenter approach; by forming partnerships with hyperbaric professionals at the University of California at San Diego Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania in addition to an existing partnership with Duke University, DAN exponentially increased the resources in its information and assistance network. DAN also streamlined its emergency contact system, and the DAN Emergency Hotline changed to +1-919-684-9111 for all emergency calls.
DAN is the largest recreational scuba diving association in the world and now has more than 230,000 members in the United States and Canada.
Join DAN today!