Covid 19 Information

Up-to-date information from DAN, RSTC and SSI

As of May 08, 2020

PDF for download:

Resumption of training for water sports schools, in special diving shops and diving schools in Austria, in the times of Corona

Diving shops in Austria, diving instructors and scuba divers as well as diving students in training

Knowledge level until 28.04.2020

The expertise of our members and the DNA of Safer Shorelines motivates us to become a supporter in the Corona crisis. The statements of our Sports Minister that professional associations should take care of the interpretation of the rules is a motivation for us and we try to develop them with commercial water sports schools and specialists and make them available to all involved.

At Safer Shorelines, we will compile the most important rules for post-curfew restart sandands and make them available to all water sports operators.

* Currently, diving is not in itself, but according to Section 1 of the COVID-19 Regulation, the use of leisure and sports facilities is still prohibited until 30.04.2020:

As of April 27, 2020: The measures mentioned have been carefully researched and tested for practicality. As an association, we cannot assume any responsibility for the completeness and effect of the measures! We are relying on the information available as of April 27, 2020.

  • Course organization
  • Practical exercises
  • Use of rental equipment
  • Care and disinfection
  • Pool and limited open water
  • Diving accidents

Course organization:

In this respect, a training room for theoretical teaching must be designed in such a way that the minimum distance of 1.5m is always maintained. If possible, keep 2 meters, distance to other people (e.g. colleagues, customers). Air regularly, if possible. Spread hygiene promotion measures via the display of

Presenters should wear a mask and take care of the disinfection of the rooms and sanitary facilities used. We recommend, where possible, to switch to webinars and digital learning. For briefings and practical demonstrations, the minimum distance must be observed without exceptions!

Attention: Even in the case of car-pooling to the water, care must be taken that the minimum distance is regulated by law and that no more than 2 persons are allowed to sit in a car, provided that they do not live in a domestic community. (wear mask)

When issuing equipment wear gloves (before disinfecting the hands).

The equipment spent should be freshly disinfected directly in front of the customers in order to guarantee the performance of the disinfection. (4 eyes principle/ time of action please note!)

If the equipment is pre-disinfected, a “trailer” with the inscription “Disinfected” may be affixed. (See forms)

Practical exercises:

Wir sind angehalten auf praktische Übungen im Trockenen zu verzichten. Please use video and graphic demos here. However, in order to further clarify the exercise and to avoid misunderstandings, these can be demonstrated again in individual cases by the diving instructor on land, while respecting the minimum distance. In the water, the parting of the breathing gas is dispensed with. The use of a diver’s alternative air supply may only be used by a underwater partner (disinfection on land is required before changing partners). After reaching the surface, the distance of two meters to the diving partner must be maintained again. A direct change of diving equipment between partners is to be omitted. In rescue exercises where the distance cannot be maintained, masks and regulators must remain in use to prevent possible droplet transmission.

Reduce risk during alternating breathing training, divers can choose a partner of your choice (but only those who live in the same household.) Alternating should not take place at all. Disinfected octopus in case of emergency.

In emergency ascent exercises, until the removal of the coronavirus control measures, the backup controller (Octopus) is passed as a recommended transfer of the regulator instead of the primary regulator. Is according to EN 250 PSA and so only allowed

In order to eliminate the risk of transmission, common containers should no longer be used to clean masks or the water contained therein should contain a disinfectant (against corona) (possibly EW 80). Out of consideration for others, divers can be asked to use anti-fitting spray to clean their masks (instead of spitting) during diving briefings.

Use of rental equipment

The customer can be confident that rental equipment has been properly disinfected. An exchange of equipment with other students without further disinfection must be omitted. With regard to disinfection, the guidelines as described below must be followed.

If the equipment is pre-disinfected, a “tag” with the inscription “Disinfected” may be affixed. (See forms)

Care and disinfection:

Here, above all,

  • Controller mouthpiece (own personal mouthpiece)
  • Snorkeling
  • BCD oral inflator
  • The inside of your mask

with commercially available disinfectants such as Sagrotan or household cleaners (vinegar cleaners, detergents etc.) to disinfect. Each student can be confident that they will receive disinfected equipment. However, he is responsible for disinfection during the course period.

*The equipment issued should be freshly disinfected directly in front of the customer’s eyes in order to guarantee the performance of the disinfection. (4 eyes principle)

According to Sergio Angelini of Mares, masks and snorkels can be easily disinfected in boiling water for 10 minutes. The jackets and regulators maintain a temperature of 70°C and, according to studies, the virus loses its infectivity after 30 minutes at a temperature above 56°C.

ATTENTION: Disinfectants have an application time, i.e. the manufacturer’s information will indicate how long it takes the product to act.

Rule of thumb: The warmer the disinfectant, the faster it works. A dishwasher at 70°C would be ready in 10 minutes…

The equipment spent should be freshly disinfected directly in front of the customers in order to guarantee the performance of the disinfection. (4 eyes principle/ time of action please note!)

If the equipment is pre-disinfected, a “trailer” with the inscription “Disinfected” may be affixed. (See forms)

Pool and limited open water

If you have your own pool and can comply with the appropriate distance regulations, you have a clear advantage here. In changing rooms, the entrance must be limited to such an extent that the minimum distance of 2m can always be guaranteed. Furthermore, hand and surface disinfectants must be provided for independent use. For every 10m2 of water, a maximum of one pupil may be. The entry ladders must also be kept at bay (at least 2m).

For others, it is only possible to dive in public waters if there is enough space at the entry point. In the case of group formation and the risk that the minimum distance cannot be maintained, an alternative place shall be sought. Since this can lead to problems in practice, we ask you to observe the following basic rule: At least 20m2 free space should be available per student (per diving group with 5 people, that would be 100m2 space requirement). Whoever comes first is clearly at an advantage here and we trust that the colleagues behave accordingly professionally.

For a list of household cleaning products that are effective against the coronavirus, see the Robert Koch Institute’slist.

Diving accidents

In general, the prudence of the individual divers, diving students and diving professionals must be appealed to avoid accidents per se.

It is also pointed out that diving must only take place within the limits of one’s own level of training in order not to put oneanother in an unmanageable position.

During diving training, the availability of a complete first aid or oxygen case at the training site.

In addition to the standard equipment, this should include several disposable gloves and at least 2 pieces of mouth/nose protection.

For divers with a life-threatening COVID-19 disease, the diving ability is extinguished. The then necessary re-examination should be carried out by a diver-doctor with special consideration of the lungs, if necessary with imaging. The VDST recommends a maximum depth limit of 15m, which makes sense in any case, because decompression accidents become less likely. Here, however, self-responsibility is also required. Every diver must know and respect his limits.

Here’s a big THANK YOU to all those who helped to compile the data.

Christian Kozmuth (IAC Course Director)

Steffanie Steuerer (SSI IT & rEvo Instructor)

Gerald Seif (SSI IT & XR IT)

Andreas Pacher (ARGE)

Dieter Heinz (SSI IT, Mares Field Service Austria)

Spephan Keiler (Legal Advice)

Tanja Golakner (research and revision)

Ines Wuger (graphics)

The ARGE Diving recommends:

Medium EW80 / and more practical Virkon Aquatic in tablets form.

(There are no written confirmations available to ARGE at this time.)

Which disinfectants are suitable?

In principle, the use of disinfectants with an effect against enveloped viruses is sufficient for disinfection measures in connection with coronaviruses. For SARS-CoV-2 effective hand or surface disinfection, ages therefore recommends the use of disinfectants that are advertised as “limited virucidal”. The use of products with the “limited viruzid PLUS” or “viruzid” award is not required for disinfection effective against SARS-CoV-2. (AGES homepage of 18.4.2020)

Extract from wetnotes:


  • Striking lungs from lung consolidations are not good for diving..
  • Bronchial overexcitability/asthma are not good for diving.
  • Hypoxemia under stress is not good for diving.
  • Increased susceptibility to pulmonary oxygen toxicity is not good for diving.
  • And infiltrate/consolidations (lung areas that are not properly ventilated) are strict contraindications for diving of any kind anyway.

… A diving professional should do everything possible not to get recklessly ill with COVID-19, so group dives/diving trips with the words “everything, just don’t train out-of-gas maneuvers” are not recommended in any way and not really professional. (*This statement has already been very controversial and partly refuted.)

More information for Austria can be found here on the AGES page:

According to DAN, household cleaners are just as effective against COVID-19 as they are against cold and flu viruses. Therefore, the cleaning and disinfection of devices for personal use (such as second stage regulators, masks, snorkels and BCD mouth inflators) is very important.

Devices can be effectively disinfected by immersing them in a 10-year bleaching solution or by using a cleaning product such as steramine ™ tablets or another quaternary ammonium compound. Be sure to use these products according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then rinse the device with fresh water.

Products commonly used to clean diving equipment but ineffective against coronaviruses include antibacterial and chlorhexidine mouthwashes or sprays. Hot soapy water must be combined with mechanical measures such as scrubbing with a soft toothbrush to be effective.

If you are a diver using rental equipment and would like to take additional measures to protect yourself from communicable diseases, wipe the following equipment thoroughly with a household disinfectant cloth and rinse them with fresh water before use.

If you do not have access to wipes, you can ask the dive center where you dive to disinfect the equipment properly before you take it with you.

When using a household cleaning agent, it may be advisable to change the active substance from time to time to avoid breeding-resistant strains.

As always frequent hand washing (at least 20 seconds with foamed soap), regular cleaning of busy items and areas (bathrooms, door handles, countertops, etc.), avoiding contact with sick people and be sure to stay at home if you are sick some of the best ways to stop the spread of diseases. For more information, see the Coronavirus page Integration Fund Austria.

Here are the recommendations made by DAN Divers Alert Network:

Disinfection of diving equipment and COVID-19

The novel coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is the cause of the disease COVID-19, which killed 87,987 people worldwide at the time of this article (1). SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the viral group known as “corona” (Latin for “crown” or “halo”) due to the pattern of proteins that study its surface area (2). It is estimated that this group of viruses is responsible for 15 to 30 of the acute respiratory infections each year (3). However, these figures may change rapidly due to the current pandemic.

COVID-19 spreads through respiratory secretions in various ways, including aerosolized droplets emitted by coughing or sneezing, touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, or having close contact with someone who has the virus (2). The incubation period of the virus ranges from 2 to 14 days (2). One study identified median incubation as 5.1 days, with 97.5 of patients showing symptoms within 11.5 days (3).

The Divers Alert Network has received questions about the virus entering a submersible bottle because contaminated air has been sucked into the compressor.

Coronaviruses belong to a group of enveloped viruses, i.e. virion (the form that the virus takes outside the host cell) is protected by an oily layer of lipid (4). As with most enveloped viruses, the virus is inactivated by inactivating or destroying this layer of lipid. Studies on other coronaviruses have shown that their infectivity can be reduced by heat, UV light and alkaline or acidic conditions (5). Due to this and the fact that enveloped viruses can generally be easily inactivated, surfaces can be disinfected with household cleaning agents (6).

As research on SARS-CoV-2 is not yet complete, discussions are underway on how long it can survive on surfaces. Recent studies have shown that it can survive up to 3 hours in an aerosol droplet (e.g. by sneezes), in copper 4 hours, in cardboard 24 hours and in plastic and stainless steel 2-3 hours (7). In water, however, it is unclear how long SARS-CoV-2 survives. Studies on the SARS virus, called SARS-CoV-1, and the cause of an epidemic in 2003 have shown that it remained infectious for long periods in surface waters (lakes, rivers, wetlands, etc.) and previously pasteurized wastewater at both low levels and ambient temperatures (8). In chlorinated or brominated pools and hot tubs, the CDC states that SARS-CoV-2 is inactivated (9).


There is very little data on SARS-CoV-2, and many of them are preliminary. In times like these, scientists will look for related but slightly harder-to-kill viruses. In the case of the novel coronavirus, some data reports are based on the SARS-CoV-1 virus because it is more difficult to kill than the novel coronavirus. One study found that the SARS-CoV-1 virus loses its infectivity after being heated to 56 ° C for 15 minutes (5), and the World Health Organization also specifies this temperature and time (10). Another study found that the SARS-CoV-1 virus remains stable between 40° F (4°C) and 98°F (37°C) and loses infectivity after 30 minutes at 133°F (56°C) (11). .

The Divers Alert Network has received questions about the virus entering a submersible bottle because contaminated air has been sucked into the compressor. During the compression process of air, we can calculate, using the ideal gas equation T2 = T1 x (P2 / P1) (n-1) / n, that a four-stage compressor with 1 bar input pressure and an ambient temperature of approx. 26° C when compaction of air to approx. 275 bar/ 4000 psi a temperature between the steps in the cylinder of approx. 170. This calculation is very simple and does not take into account anything outside the ideal conditions. However, it indicates the current temperature at the time of peak pressure.

In reality, the outlet valve temperature will probably be about 75°C to 80°C and the gas temperature will be about 65°C, which occurs during each stage of the compressor (i.e. four cycles for a four-stage compressor, provided the outlet temperature of each stage is the same). Since this is definitely hot enough to kill SARS-CoV-2, it is therefore unlikely that COVID-19 will survive this process if an infected person coughs into the compressor intake. It is important to note that infected droplets exhaled by a person can be only 0.5 microns; The filtering systems alone would not remove them, but the virus should already be dead at this time.

However, it should be noted that the virus may enter the cylinder if a person carries the virus on their hands. Either as a result of an infection or if it unknowingly touches an infected surface and the bottle valve or the filling whip touches the route. It has been shown that some viruses are extremely pressure-resistant – an order of magnitude above the storage pressure of submersible gases. However, these studies were carried out on noroviruses, a non-enveloped group of viruses that are generally more difficult to kill than enveloped viruses (12, 13). Other studies conducted on enveloped viruses such as influenza only investigated the efficacy of high hydrostatic pressure at 289.6 MPa (42.003 PSI) (14). It is therefore very important to practice hand washing and disinfecting areas with high contact, including bottles and gas stations, as it is likely that a virus can survive at submersible gas storage pressure.

Quaternary ammonium compounds

Quarterary ammonium compounds or quats are a group of chemicals that are extremely common as active ingredients in cleaning solutions. These agents are hydrophobic and as such effective against enveloped viruses. Quats are thought to react with the virus envelope and “disorganize” it, causing the contents of the virus to leak and deteriorate. In addition, there is little evidence of virus resistance to these compounds (15). Studies have shown that Quats are effective against SARS-CoV-1 (16), and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of detergents containing these compounds in their laboratory biosafety guidelines for coronavirus disease 2019 (17).

There are quaternary ammonium-containing products that are commonly used in the diving industry to disinfect equipment. However, these compounds are harmful to the environment and caution should therefore be exercised when using and disposing of them (18).


Bleaching agent or sodium hypochlorite has been studied in many different concentrations and its effectiveness against viruses has been proven. It is a powerful oxidizing agent that damages the viral genome (19). According to the WHO, the recommended bleaching solution for general disinfection is a 1: 100 dilution of 5 sodium hypochlorite. (Note that some bleach marks have different concentrations of the active substance, such as those that are thickened and marketed to reduce spraying.) This dilution yields 0.05 or 50 ppm of the active ingredient and requires a soaking time of 30 minutes for objects to be immersed in the solution or at least 10 minutes when sprayed on to a non-porous surface (20). In a study specifically examining SARS-CoV-2, it was found that a bleaching concentration of 0.1 or 1,000 ppm was required to reduce infectivity when spraying on to a hard, non-porous surface (21). A second study with the same virus found that 0.1 sodium hypochlorite would inactivate the virus within 1 minute. A study of SARS-CoV-1 found that both 1:50 (0.1) and 1:100 (0.05) inactivated the virus after immersion for 5 minutes (22).

When using bleach, the use of gloves, a mask and eye protection is recommended. Mix the solutions in well-ventilated areas and use cold water as hot water decomposes the active ingredient. It is important never to mix bleach with other chemicals and to remove all organic matter from objects to be disinfected, as this also inactivates the active ingredient (21). Objects disinfected with bleach must be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water and left to dry before use, as they are corrosive for stainless steel (in higher concentrations) and irritate mucous membranes, skin and eyes (20, 23). It was also found that highly concentrated bleaching solutions are harmful to life-sustaining devices and cause metal fatigue and, in some cases, hose failure during the hart-anthrax attack. Therefore, these solutions are not used by EPA units for diving equipment if effective alternatives exist.

Soap and water

Washing hands and surfaces with water and soap is one of the most effective methods of protecting against the virus. The type of soap used is not important. Washing with water in connection with soap does not kill microorganisms, but physically removes them from a surface. Running water alone can help remove unwanted material from surfaces. The soap physically pulls any material from the skin into the water (24).

Divers Alert Network was asked why soap and water don’t work for diving equipment when recommended for hands. Soap and water must be combined with mechanical action as indicated above in order to be fully effective. Soaking the diving equipment in soapy water alone is not an effective method of disinfection. Combining soapy water with mechanical effect would theoretically prove more efficient. However, there are some parts of the diving equipment that are not easy to reach without disassembly, such as the inside of a regulator. Since an exhaled breath passes through the interior of a regulator and has contact with the membrane, the lever arm and other inner surfaces, it may be better to place the controller in a disinfection solution.

EPO Guidelines

Irrespective of the active substance or the method for disinfecting the diving equipment, the proven efficacy against the novel coronavirus is of the utmost importance. The EPO’s “List N” is a collection of products that have proven effective against SARS-CoV-1 and will therefore also contribute to the killing of SARS-CoV-2. Outside the U.S., local government agencies may also have registered disinfectants. Following the instructions for use for each individual product ensures its effectiveness.

When product manufacturers register their products with the EPO, they must submit a list of uses for the product. It is unusual for registered products to include “Diving” on list N. Respiratory masks or materials that make up the diving equipment are more likely. When selecting a disinfection solution from list N, it is important to verify that the Epa registration of the product indicates the use for the materials concerned.

Some products that are usually recommended by manufacturers of underwater breathing apparatus are classified as quaternary ammonium disinfectants registered with the EPA only for use in the food sector and are not currently on the EPA’s List N. The EPA does not consider them to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 when applied to these materials and surfaces.

Best practice

When selecting a disinfectant, it is extremely important to use a product that has proven to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 or the hard-to-kill SARS-CoV-1. The list of registered disinfectants can be found in your local authority’s pesticide registration system if the products listed in EPA List N are not available in your region. When using these products, be sure to follow the instructions and use the specified personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves or eye protection) when disinfecting. If registered products cannot be found, be sure to use the disinfection logs described by the CDC.

After disinfection of the devices, care must be taken to ensure that the devices are not re-infected, e.g. by handling them during storage. The staff of the dive shop should ensure that hygiene is disinfected by frequent hand washing and regular disinfection of areas of high contact, including petrol stations (as described in the “Heat” section of this article).

Finally, consider upgrading your existing contingency plan to include a potential COVID-19 infection by employees or customers. Make sure that you outline all disinfection logs and ensure that they are carefully followed by all employees. The most important consideration is the health and safety of your employees and customers.

Sources Proof:

  1. Coronavirus [Internet]. World Health Organization. World Health Organization; [cited 2020Mar26]. Available from:
  2. Factsheet for health professionals on Coronaviruses .[Internet] European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. 2020 [cited 2020Mar26]. Available from:
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  4. Fehr AR, Perlman S. Coronaviruses: An Overview of Their Replication and Pathogenesis. Coronaviruses Methods in Molecular Biology. 2015; 1–23.
  5. Chan KH, Peiris JSM, Lam SY, Poon LLM, Yuen KY, Seto WH. The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Viability of the SARS Coronavirus. Advances in Virology. 2011Oct1;2011:1-7.
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  12. DiCaprio E, Ye M, Chen H, Li J. Inactivation of Human Norovirus and Tulane Virus by High Pressure Processing in Simple Mediums and Strawberry Puree .[Internet] Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems; 2019 .[cited 2020Mar27] Available from:
  13. Lou F, Huang P, Neetoo H, Gurtler JB, Niemira BA, Chen H, et al. High-Pressure Inactivation of Human Norovirus Virus-Like Particles Provides Evidence that the Capsid of Human Norovirus Is Highly Resistant Pressure. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2012May25;78(15):5320-7.
  14. Lou FB, Huang PA, Neetoo Hundefined, Gurtler Jundefined, Niemira Bundefined, Chen Hundefined, et al. High-Pressure Inactivation of Human Norovirus Virus-Like Particles Provides Evidence that the Capsid of Human Norovirus Is Highly Resistant Pressure. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2013Nov25;78(15):5320-7.
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