Scuba Diving and Medical Requirements

Scuba instruction, Great Barrier Reef

A trip to the Great Barrier Reef offers exciting experiences both on and in the water, but it’s paramount you enjoy these experiences as safely as possible. Queensland has very high dive safety standards and while scuba diving is inherently safe, some may find it more demanding – both physically and emotionally – than other reef experiences. Even if you only plan to snorkel, you need to be aware of your physical limitations.

Whether you’re thinking about trying your very first introductory dive, want to become a certified Open Water diver – or even if you’re already a fully certified diver and simply want to get out there and enjoy some amazing diving, all dive tour operators follow a similar process to ensure you’re fit and able to enjoy your chosen underwater activity.

  1. Review the Medical Questionnaire on our website
  2. Ensure you are medically fit to participate in underwater activities
  3. Book your in-water activity with Barrier Reef Australia specialists via this website or by phone. If booking by our website, you will be asked to tick a box to confirm you have read the medical questionnaire
  4. On arrival at your tour, you will be provided with a medical questionnaire to complete and discuss with in-water activity team.

It’s important to read the Medical Questionnaire before you book. Before being allowed into the water, you will need to fill out the tour operator’s Medical Questionnaire.

The Medical Questionnaire

This questionnaire helps you – and your tour operator – identify any potential risks to your health and fitness to dive. For your own safety, the questionnaire is quite comprehensive and will cover items such as:

  • Obesity, or being significantly overweight
  • Any current medications
  • Asthma, or any issues with breathing
  • Sinuses and any issues with ears
  • Recent surgery or bone breakages
  • Head or spinal injuries

If any issues are identified, it doesn’t automatically mean that you cannot dive. But it does mean that you will need a Dive Medical and a Dive Medical Certificate signed by a physician in order to demonstrate your fitness to dive.

Many of the medical centres on the Great Barrier Reef offer Dive Medicals – or check with your local medical centre to see if you can get one before you travel. The medical is not expensive, or invasive, and can be completed quite quickly.

Download the Medical Questionnaire

Click on the image/s below to view and download the Medical Questionnaire for Introductory Diving, Advanced Diving and Seawalker Helmet Diving.

intro    advanced    seawalker


Does age matter?

Children under the age of 12 years cannot participate in diving activities in Australia. If you are under the age of 18 you will need your parent or guardian’s permission and they must be present to sign the medical declaration on your behalf.

If you’re aged 55 or over, the risks involved in scuba diving are greater, and it is more likely that you’ll need a Dive Medical Certificate. Anyone who is significantly overweight has had any major surgery or has problems with their ears, or breathing (including heavy smoking or asthma), is unlikely to be allowed to dive without a Dive Medical Certificate.

Most people aged between 16 and 45 who are fit and healthy should not require a medical certificate but you are still required to complete a Medical Questionnaire.

The best time to find out if you’re fit to dive is before you go – so download a copy of the Medical Questionnaire and complete it before you go, as you may not be offered a refund if you fail the medical and have pre-booked your dives.

Other considerations

  • If you have a dive certification card – please remember to bring it with you.
  • If you have an overseas scuba diving certification that may not be equivalent to the Australian Standard we recommend you check with us before you book the tour.
  • If you have not dived for a while, don’t be shy – let the tour operator know. They can offer you a refresher course or keep a closer eye on you during the dive.
  • Remember that there is a ‘No Fly’ period after diving, and this includes trips in a hot air balloon and even driving over mountains. You cannot fly for 18 hours after any single dive or 24 hours after completing multiple dives in a day.

Most importantly…

Don’t spoil a trip to the reef, by finding out that you can’t dive or miss out on a day’s activity because you need to go get a Dive Medical first. The most important point is to find out before you travel to the outer reef.

Download and read the Medical Questionnaire below before you book. When booking a dive trip through Barrier Reef Australia, you will be asked to confirm on our booking form that you have read the Medical Questionnaire.  

intro    advanced    seawalker


Medical Practitioners in Cairns, QLD

Cairns 24 Hour Medical Centre
Cnr Florence and Grafton Sts, Cairns
Ph: 07 4052 1119

Cairns Central Medical Centre
112a Cairns Central Shopping Centre,
Ph: 07 4031 3717

Cairns Sports Medicine
126 Mulgrave Rd, Cairns (Opposite Cairns Showgrounds)
Ph: 07 4051 3944

Cairns Tourist & Local Medical Services
15 Lake Street, Cairns
Ph: 07 4041 1699

Central Plaza Doctors
Cnr McLeod & Aplin Streets, Cairns
Ph: 07 4046 8600


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