Lawsuits are something you expect to happen to The Other Guy. Certainly not to you. You’re a good instructor. You teach responsibly and follow standards. Your students love you and would never dream of actually suing you. And, in your fantasy world, peace and harmony abound, and every child gets a pony. Yeah…right.
If you cave dive, it’s almost inevitable that one day, for any of a variety of reasons, you may be forced to leave a reel in the cave that you hadn’t intended to. It’s usually because you were not able to make a subsequent dive during which you planned to retrieve a primary or jump reel you installed on a previous dive. This could be because a team member wasn’t feeling up to it physically, or perhaps an equipment malfunction prevented you from diving. Whatever the reason, it’s important that you not simply leave the reel without telling anyone and have a plan for its removal.
This article is aimed specifically at dive retailers, instructors and anyone else who sells or recommends equipment to students. Its message is simple: The kind of snorkel we’re generally recommending or selling to beginning scuba divers is absolutely, positively the worst kind for them to buy. And we’ll tell you why.
Social media can be a great way to share your cave diving experiences with others. It can also be an effective tool for promoting classes, trips and other activities — even if those activities do not involve cavern or cave diving. Unfortunately, most of the cave diving photos and, especially, video we see posted on Facebook, You Tube and Instagram pretty much suck. Which is a shame because they don’t have to.
If you are going to post diving advice on Facebook, you might want to take the time to check your facts and think things all the way through. Case in point: A person I know recently responded to a thread that had nothing to do with gas sharing by saying, “Most PADI divers use that AIR2 crap.” He later justified his position by posting this:
Most dive instructors would agree that it is far harder to break bad habits than it is to never allow those habits to form in the first place. It’s why we are so adamant about students not putting masks on foreheads or leaving tanks standing upright unattended. Yet, despite this, most instructors allow students to form four of the worst possible habits just by continuing to teach “the way we’ve always done it.” Some divers manage to break these habits with time; many never do.
Does this sound familiar? “The Open Water Diver course is designed to prepare students to plan and make no-decompression dives with a qualified buddy — independent of supervision — in conditions similar to those in which they were trained.” Odds are this statement, or one very much like it, will be the first paragraph that appears in your Instructor Manual under Open Water Diver Course. And I’m here to tell you it’s bullshit.
People often ask me where I get my material. It’s really very simple. I just go to a local open water dive site (any site will do) and wait ten minutes. What I will see during those ten minutes will be more than enough for a lengthy article. Today was no exception.
The most counterproductive word in diver training is the one instructors use to justify not making learning to dive more realistic, more relevant and more effective. That word is should — along with its siblings should not and shouldn’t. These words have done more to stifle meaningful change in diver training than any others in the English language. What do we mean by this? Here is an example.
The “standard” flutter kick taught in Open Water Diver courses is one cave divers simply don’t use. Instead, they have a repertoire of propulsion techniques that allows them to choose the right technique for each situation. These techniques not only allow cave divers to move efficiently, they help divers avoid silting out the cave or damaging fragile formations. It is for this reason that every diver should learn these techniques, to help protect fragile coral and aquatic life as well, and keep the visibility pristine for others.