‘Tis the season for 2012 participants to have their physicals. A very common issue is asthmatics who want to participate in Florida Sea Base scuba programs. The BSA Policy on Scuba Diving includes medical restrictions for asthmatics, diabetes, and persons with a history of seizures. You can find these policies in two locations.
The BSA Guide to Safe Scouting says scuba diving (as a BSA activity) is prohibited for,”History of asthma or RAD unless resolution confirmed by methacholine testing (Persons who have been asymptomatic and medication free for the previous five years are exempt from the methacholine testing requirements.)”.
The BSA Annual Health and Medical Record Form, Part D, says,”Florida Sea Base. Persons being treated for asthma (including reactive airway disease) are disqualified from BSA scuba programs. Persons with a history of asthma who have been asymptomatic and have not used medications to control asthma for five years or more may be allowed to scuba dive as part of a BSA activity upon submission of evidence from their treating physician. Persons with a history of asthma who have been asymptomatic and have not used medication to control asthma for less than five years may be allowed to scuba dive as part of a BSA activity upon submission of a methacholine challenge test showing the asthma to be resolved.”
This is as plain as I can explain the BSA scuba/asthma policy.
1. If a person is diagnosed with asthma and is using medication to control the condition and/or is using a rescue inhaler, they are prohibited from participating in scuba as part of a BSA activity on a Unit, District, Council or National level (which includes the Florida Sea Base).
2. If a person was diagnosed with asthma in the past, but can produce documentation from their physician that they have been asymptomatic AND have not used asthma medications for five years, the BSA assumes the condition is resolved and that person can participate in BSA scuba activities.
3. The Methacholine Challenge Test only applies to persons who are no longer symptomatic and no longer use medicines, but have not meet the five year threshold. The MCT results will be submitted to the Florida Sea Base. Our hyperbaric physician will review the test results and determine if the condition is resolved. No other tests are recognized by the BSA for purposes of this policy.
The Florida Sea Base is not in the business of excluding participation. It is the nature of the BSA to be conservative when dealing with the safety of its members. The BSA scuba policy is intended to protect our members, not exclude them. The staff members of theFlorida Sea Base will do everything possible to include participants in our programs. However, we cannot violate BSA policy in so doing. Parents send their 14 year old youth to the Florida Sea Base for a high adventure experience. At the end of the week, those parents expect their children to come home. That is our goal as well.
At least seven construction companies attended a meeting at the Florida Sea Base yesterday morning to receive instructions for submitting bids for our new swimming pool. I was (pleasantly) surprised by the amount of interest. I will keep you posted as this process moves forward. As I have mentioned several times before, the big fight is going to be permitting with the Village of Islamorada. While I may play a small supporting role, that fight is on the shoulders of our General Manager, Captain Paul Beal, our Facilities Director, (former Village Councilman) CaptainKeith Douglass and the Florida Sea Base and BSA attorneys.
Captain Rich joined Sue and I aboard Escape for lunch. Sue prepared one of my favorites, taco salad. Not all of the ingredients are on my diet’s approved list, but we splurged anyway. Following lunch, Sue and I drove to Miami. She flies back to Texas this morning.
It’s a chilly (upper 50s) and sad day in paradise for me. I hope you make yours a great day! ”Not every day is great, but something great happens every day.”
Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape