The convergence of improved telecommunications and increased worldwide travel has opened the door to companies interested in serving the medical needs of travelers. The last few years have seen significant growth in travel medical insurance, telemedicine and travel evacuation services. Many of these are traditional insurance companies expanding their offerings, some are just integrators bringing together the varying pieces needed to serve the market.
Few companies are better equipped to deal with medical emergencies while traveling, especially those on the water, than DAN Boater. Beginning as The National Diving Accident Network (NaDAN) in 1980, and renamed Divers Alert Network (DAN) in 1982, it was created as a non-profit medical, education and research organization, with the mission of connecting scuba divers with physicians and facilities experienced in diving-related accidents. As part of the Duke University Hospital Hyperbaric Center, the physicians at DAN understood the need for the proper assessment of diving accidents and quick access for victims to recompression or hyperbaric treatment, and the organization grew rapidly.
Because medical insurance policies do not cover the treatment of diving-related accidents, DAN saw the need to assist injured divers with the financial burden of costs incurred because of these situations. In 1987, DAN introduced the first dive accident insurance program, and membership doubled within a year. DAN’s two-pronged approach of providing both medical information and insurance was life saving for many divers.
DAN also learned that transporting injured divers to medical facilities was a diffcult and costly procedure, so in 1992, the group added emergency medical evacuation to their insurance services, a product now known as DAN TravelAssist.
Given that most scuba diving is done from a boat, and frequently around small islands, DAN ended up tending to medical emergencies in remote locations around the world. In this, DAN saw the opportunity to serve the medical and evacuation needs of boaters and travelers who did not have anything to do with scuba diving.
In 2015, DAN expanded its offerings once again and created DAN Boater, which provides travel and medical emergency services to boaters and adventure travelers worldwide. DAN Boater also continues the nonprofit education and research aspect of the organization’s original mission, providing member boaters with key medical information and resources.
DAN Boater membership includes access to their 24-hour Emergency Medical Hotline, which is staffed by multilingual hotline medics. Services can be activated anytime a member is more than 50 miles from home. Upon calling DAN Boater with a medical emergency, members are connected with a trained specialist, who assesses the situation and determines how to serve the member best. DAN then organizes an appropriate response to the medical emergency, which could include securing the services of local physicians, arranging hospital admission, or organizing a medical evacuation. Members are also provided with $150,000 of coverage for worldwide medical evacuation.
If a member suffers a medical emergency that requires inpatient hospitalization while traveling in a foreign country, DAN Boater will pay the covered expenses up to the bene t limit of $25,000 for transportation to the member’s hospital of choice within their home country. DAN Boater also maintains contact with sick or injured members until they are well enough to continue traveling, and relays any necessary information to family members. DAN Boater does not provide medical insurance — the cost of medical care is still the responsibility of the member. But DAN Boater does offer members non-emergency services, including a specially dedicated medical assist line through which members have access to medically trained staff .
DAN Boater will also not directly engage in search and rescue of a member or removal of a member from a vessel at sea, but reimbursement for these efforts up to the $25,000 benefit limit is provided. Verification is required that an approved rescue service or agency undertook the effort to save you or a covered member.
MEDICAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
Another helpful member benefit of DAN Boater is access to the group’s Medical Guides. DAN Boater has assembled a large volume of medical information uniquely suited to boaters and adventure travelers — guides are available on such topics as seasickness, water-related sports injuries, injuries from marine animals, activity-specific first aid kits and more.
DAN Boater’s services extend to prescription drugs, as well. If you or a covered family member requires prescription medication or replacement eyeglasses that are not available to you at the time of travel, DAN Boater will contact the prescribing physician and ship the required medications or eyeglasses to you whenever possible and legally permissible.
COMMUNICATIONS AND STAYING IN TOUCH
A call to DAN Boater can resolve many travel-related issues, but that assumes that it is possible to make the call. If boating or other travel is going to move members outside of cell phone service, it is recommended to carry a satellite phone or satellite emailing device to reach assistance if necessary.
Another helpful safety measure when boating is to identify a Dedicated Person Ashore (DPA). A DPA is familiar with your float plan, including times and points of departures and arrivals. The DPA can act as a communication link or intermediary between organizations like DAN Boater and other shore-side services you may need.
DAN Boater rounds out their member services with an unmatched list of additional assistance, including finding lost or stolen items, locating consulates and government agencies, and connecting with translators and legal aids for non-criminal issues.
With more than 35 years’ worth of experience handling medical emergencies on land and water — including 10,000 evacuations and 10,000 emergency calls — DAN Boater is undoubtedly one of the best crew members to bring along on a cruise, whether you’re traveling near or far.
Marinalife Members can save 10% off a DAN Boater Membership. Learn more at https://danboater.org/marinalife