Random Jottings

Diving and litigation.......

I know that it is a very 'American' thing and that is what has triggered this random jotting, but what do you think?

This has been triggered by the news that the family of Rob Stewart of Sharkwater fame have lodged actions against his buddy and the dive boat and just about everyone you can think and have added details to the claim stating that the operations in question illegally sold equipment to Libya? WTF!

Having been involved in an accident my self should I have taken action and against whom? The dive buddies.....for what, the emergency helicopter, well maybe as the first one broke down and had to make an emergency landing to transfer me to a second, but at the end of the day diving is inherently dangerous and I have to say that training has been significantly dumbed down from my formative years.......

Think about it, in the good old days training agencies (BSAC and SAA) put the fear of God into you before you ever saw salt water with basic decompression theory taught before you went into the sea and thats a 'good thing' some agencies simply don't do deco, which is all well and good but if you are a newly minted advanced diver (more later) going on a liveaboard trip to Egypt on three or four dives a day then pretty soon you will have short dives if you want to stay out of deco. Your options well ask other divers or simply 'computer says', neither are conducive to a long incident free life, as you will not understand the whys and wherefores and as such question what you are being told. Dive buddies and computers do go wrong, is five minutes deco 'about right' or far too short or long????????????

My next concern, calling people 'advanced' makes some of them believe that they are, think a moment would you go into an aircraft piloted by a guy with twenty flights experience? Would you say that a gal who has driven a car twenty times is experienced? I would hope that you think about that and then think about when you really are advanced, 100 dives? 20 dives in that situation, after all the North Sea in May is soooo different from the Red Sea at any-time and that includes kit configuration as well as temperature and clarity.....a thirty metre dive onto SS Somali is chalk and cheese to a thirty metre dive onto SS Thistlegorm. So in telling your buddy or dive operator that you are 'an advanced diver' are you placing yourself at risk of injury or worse, when people tell us that they are advanced you assume a level of competence, this isn't always the case.

I remember that on one of my dive holidays the resort 'specialised' in training and certifying Open Water Scuba Instructors, basically you went from never putting gear on to fully certified over a very intense period with five dives per day on the house reef......these guys could then go and instruct despite their lack of a broad experience...........technical divers tend to be much more selective in their trainers but for basic PADI training ask your instructor about their dive history, it can be quite illuminating!

There are times when litigation, or at least investigation and clarification are a good thing. A few years ago there was a case where some poor guy lost his life and the UK coroner asked the training agency in question a series of questions regards their processes and procedures, I can't say that I have read a close out on this investigation so I guess that the company in question is 'pleading the fifth'...... not useful or informative to stop future problems.

I do think that older divers are generally accepting of the risks and know that accidents do happen, younger divers or more accurately 'newer', well? I worry that lots of the pseudo-legal paperwork in place from some organisations may encouage litigation usually not from the survivor but rather the remaining family and dependants.

In summary realise your skill level and get experience then hopefully you won't end up a statistic!

And especially...............

Dive safe


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