According to the U.S. Coast Guard, six people died and two were seriously injured while diving for spiny lobsters in 2016. Hundreds of divers typically take to the water the first weekend of lobster season and the Los Angeles County Fire Department released these safety tips:
- NEVER dive alone.
- Plan your dive. Dive your plan.
- Know your equipment.
- Review your skills BEFORE you hit the water.
Captain Tim Burke operates Great Escape Charters and has been taking divers out to look for spiny lobsters for more than 20 years. Burke said divers need to stay calm and not panic when something goes wrong.
A new regulation was also adopted this season to protect divers. The start of recreational lobster fishing has been changed from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m. in a bid to prevent divers from looking for lobsters in the middle of the night.
Spiny lobster season lasts until mid-March.