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35 years of the Divers Alert Network

Listen to this article This year marks a very concrete anniversary in the diving world – 35 years of the Divers Alert Network. Popular today as DAN+, it is unequivocally associated with safety by every diver around the world. However, it took the efforts of many people and many years of hard work to develop
Published: February 14, 2018 - 07:30
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 16:26
35 years of the Divers Alert Network
Listen to this article

This year marks a very concrete anniversary in the diving world – 35 years of the Divers Alert Network. Popular today as DAN+, it is unequivocally associated with safety by every diver around the world. However, it took the efforts of many people and many years of hard work to develop such a reputation.


It all started in the 1980s. At that time, on different continents, institutions were established, which were guided by the same goal – to improve safety in the booming diving industry.

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The Divers Alert Network was founded in 1983 as International Diving Assistance (IDA), by Dr Alessandro Marroni, and was the first 24-hour emergency diving help centre. On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, at Duke University in the USA, was established in 1980 under the leadership of Prof. Pterea B. Bennet, DAN America, then known as the Diving Accident Network.

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In 1984, Dr Des Gorman and Dr “Fred” Gilligan established the Divers Emergency Service (DES) in Australia and New Zealand, and in 1987, in Japan, Professor Yoshihiro Mano, of Tokyo Medical University, established the Civil Alert Network (CAN).

Although at the time all four organisations operated independently and did not work together, they supported diver safety almost worldwide by providing 24-hour ‘hotlines’ and medical and diving information services.

In the event of a diving accident, qualified staff specially trained in hyperbarics and diving medicine were on hand to give the injured the best possible help and care.

The need for an international organisation was growing stronger. In February 1991, during a historic meeting in Durham, the headquarters of DAN in the USA, the process of establishing DAN International began.

The four organisations, which had existed independently up to that point, decided to merge and take the names DAN Europe, DAN Australia and DAN Japan, creating together with DAN USA – International DAN (IDAN). In 1996. To these four organisations a fifth one joined – DAN Southern Africa.

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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