The Assessment of Daily Energy Expenditure of Commercial Saturation Divers Using Doubly Labelled Water

Sanjoy K. Deb*, Eimear Dolan, Catherine Hambly, John R. Speakman, Olav Eftedal, Mohammed Gulrez Zariwala, Ingrid Eftedal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Commercial saturation divers are exposed to unique environmental conditions and are required to conduct work activity underwater. Consequently, divers' physiological status is shown to be perturbed and therefore, appropriate strategies and guidance are required to manage the stress and adaptive response. This study aimed to evaluate the daily energy expenditure (DEE) of commercial saturation divers during a 21-day diving operation in the North Sea. Ten saturation divers were recruited during a diving operation with a living depth of 72 metres seawater (msw) and a maximum working dive depth of 81 msw. Doubly labelled water (DLW) was used to calculate DEE during a 10-day measurement period. Energy intake was also recorded during this period by maintaining a dietary log. The mean DEE calculated was 3030.9 +/- 513.0 kcal/day, which was significantly greater than the mean energy intake (1875.3 +/- 487.4 kcal; p = 0.005). There was also a strong positive correction correlation between DEE and total time spent performing underwater work (r = 0.7, p = 0.026). The results suggested saturation divers were in a negative energy balance during the measurement period with an intraindividual variability in the energy cost present that may be influenced by time spent underwater.

Original languageEnglish
Article number687605
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the divers, captain and crew on the DSV Deep Arctic. Access to the 2018 Bahr Essalam diving campaign was granted by TechnipFMC and Mellitah Oil & Gas B.V.

Data Availability Statement

The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be made available by the authors, without undue reservation.


  • saturation diving
  • extreme environment
  • hyperbaric
  • energy expenditure
  • doubly labelled water
  • 18.6 ATA


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