Re: Not ready/qualified/trained/etc. to make a dive

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Posted by Jon Davies on November 20, 2000 at 10:41:55:

In Reply to: Not ready/qualified/trained/etc. to make a dive posted by Ken Kurtis on November 19, 2000 at 21:46:29:

This issue came up during my DM class and prompted quite a bit of discussion. The instructor, whom I greatly respect, took the approach that the DM is not a scuba cop. In the instructor's opinion, the best a DM can do is to explain the hazards of a certain dive and strongly (but diplomatically) encourage the diver in question to sit this one out until they have a little more experience under their belt.

The instructor recommended that a DM discretely makes sure that someone witnesses them giving this advice to the diver. At the same time, I would think that one of the most important things in this situation would be to avoid embarrassing the diver, which could inadvertently force them into making the dive because they didn't want to look like a wimp.

Although I don't think this is a perfect solution, I think it's probaby the best policy for most situations.

I think it's reasonable for someone running a charter to set certain standards for selling someone a spot depending on the type of dives on the itinerary, i.e., AOW, trimix, wreck cert., etc. But once you've accepted someone's money, I think they have the ultimate responsibility for their decision to dive or not to dive. Once a DM starts forbidding people from making certain dives, don't they open themselves up to charges of negligence when a diver gets into trouble underwater?

I have only faced this kind of situation a couple of times in the real world. On one occasion, a twentysomething Marine decided to make his third dive of the day at Catalina without his wetsuit jacket (go figure!). The water temp was high 50s/low 60s and I told him that I thought it was a bad idea. I explained the dangers of hypothermia but he insisted he didn't need the jacket. His buddies made some remarks about him being nuts but he wouldn't listen to them either. In the end, he made the dive and returned without any problems. Of course, he didn't say that he should have taken the jacket but I can only imagine how cold he was!

On other occasions, where there have been other DMs on the boat, I have buddied up with divers who I think might run into problems. However, I'm reluctant to pair up an inexperienced diver with a more advanced diver, unless there is no other alternative. (I always clear this with the more experienced diver first - many times they mind taking along a newer diver).

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