Diver Training and the Five Monkeys

MonkeyThere’s a popular video entitled The Five Monkeys which helps explain why so many people do things that are completely unnecessary, while having no idea why. Although not based on an actual experiment, the underlying concept has been validated by other studies. The “Five Monkeys” concept applies to diver training as well. I continue to see instructors and training agencies teach skills or require equipment items that are either completely unnecessary, or which should have been superseded long ago by updated procedures.

Misleading by Example

Bad ExampleWe’ve all seen the disclaimers: These people are trained professionals. Do not try this at home. And what do warnings such as this help guarantee? That some idiot will, indeed, try this at home. That’s why there are the Darwin Awards. Thank goodness this sort of nonsense doesn’t go on in the diving community. Or does it?


Strategies for Cave Diving on Summer Weekends


What is the best strategy for cave diving in north-central Florida on busy summer weekends? Cave explorer Win Brown may have summed it up in one word: Don’t. Seriously, if you can limit your summertime cave diving to weekdays, you’ll be happier for it. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for many people.


Cave Maps From a Different Perspective

PerspectiveWhile filming this week’s Cave Country episode of ScubaNation, producer “Bitchin’ Mitch” Horne asked me whether it would be possible to produce an effect in which you start with a Google Earth zoom-in on a particular piece of real estate, just above an underwater cave, that have that dissolve to reveal the cave underneath.


Top Five eLearning Mistakes 4

Top 5 MistakesEven though it has been around for roughly 15 years, few things in diver training remain as controversial as eLearning. Just this past year, Dive Center Business published a scathing article pinning the blame for the current decline in equipment sales — at least in part — on eLearning. Many dive retailers and instructors will tell you, at length, what they don’t like about eLearning.

Six questions to ask before issuing replacement C-cards

CobwebsOne of the most common emails my dive store clients receive goes something like this:

I was certified through your store ten years ago. I’m leaving on a vacation next week and can’t find my certification card. Can you get me a replacement?

Does that set off alarm bells? It should, because it could easily be the sign of an accident waiting to happen. Here is just one story that illustrates what can take place when you issue replacement c-cards on a “no questions asked” basis.


The Ultimate Weight Check 6

Weight checkAt the surface, a properly weighted diver will float at eye level. This statement, or one like it, appears in virtually every diver training organization’s materials. What you won’t find agreement on is whether this is with a full lung of air or half a lung of air. It may also be unclear is whether this is done which a full tank or one that is closer to empty. It doesn’t matter. No matter what your Open Water Diver manual says, it’s probably wrong. At least much of the time. Why is that?

Put the checklist down, focus on real ability 6


Most of us are aware of a trend in public education in which students are not allowed to participate in competitions or games that have clear winners and losers, or in which everyone who participates doesn’t receive some sort of trophy or medal. The rationale is that it is better to leave students totally unprepared for the realities of life than it is to bruise anyone’s fragile ego. Well, guess what? We’ve apparently reached that point in diver training as well.


Role Model for Disaster 1

Role ModelWhat happens when the people we rely on most to provide good role models for new divers drop the ball? That’s easy. The divers get bad information and, as a result, make poor decisions. This is why being a role model is so important.

Seven reasons why Buddha hovers are bullshit 1

No BuddhaGo to Google Images. Search for Neutral Buoyancy. Along with images of the NASA Neutral Buoyancy facility and Neutral Buoyancy Turtle, you’ll see a lot of photos like the one on the right. To most divers — and, sadly, most instructors — the so-called Buddha Hover is synonymous with buoyancy control. Unfortunately, as Penn and Teller would say, it’s total bullshit. And here are seven reasons why.