On Acrimony and Acronyms

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Posted by Wayne on January 04, 2001 at 16:48:57:

In Reply to: Re: The view from here posted by MHK on January 04, 2001 at 15:15:10:

You are correct about us taking a dislike to the acronym and I recognise that it will be hard to change now that it has become part of the diving jargon.

IANTD's DIC? Well I never seem to hear about it in normal conversation, so I do not get offended. There are a few PADI ones that have irritated me in the past, too, but I ignored them (I have to admit that the offensiveness of them was usually the silliness of them - S.A.F.E. Diver -- Safely Ascent From Every Dive).

But it is not just the DIR word. It is the attitude of divers that offends. We just take the easy shot by saying things like, "Even the name proves its arrogant!" Face it, none of us wants to be called on the carpet for doing dumb or unsafe things -- especially when we do not think we are guilty.

You say that we agree that the DIR approach is one with advances in safety and yet we avoid it because of its name. I think this is a misunderstanding based on the 'name' being such an easy target that we cannot resist jumping on it. I think that it is more of a case where 'we' are always seeking to adjust and perfect our style of diving to match the dives we do at any time (whether to take along a snorkel, light, or a game bag for example). Before I leave for a dive, I go over my checklists and rationalize all the little accessories and goodies that I might want to have along in the divebag. I take more than I use, but the final decision on what is strapped on is made at the point of gearing up (snorkel, safety sausage, tail lights, slate) based on the dive that is about to take place. The way my gear is configured including how I snap my console to the BC, how I attach the octo, the amount and distribution of weight, are things I have evolved and continue to evolve in my search for the most comfortable diving possible. If I were embarking on a specific dive with a specific purpose it woudl be different.

For example, when we were diving the Yukon every weekend a while back, I took much less on the boat, and planned much more. I did not need my computer, because we had planned the depths and times and stops before we ever got into our suits. I still took the computer and observed it although it did not alter our plans. I was configured differently for this dive than, say, a beach dive at Long Point. I was optimized for the dive I was planning although I had redundancy (a computer that was not all that useful as a decision maker). Complete and thorough knowledge of my gear made me safer. My buddies on these dives had slight differences in gear, but I know theirs perfectly and they know mine. We go over emergency procedures even though we are family and have dove many years together. But the DIR crowd says we are unsafe divers by definition, and I get offended.

If the suggestion was: "Hey Wayne, If you keep that Octo where you could get it in an OOA situation, you will not be so desperate when your buddy yanks out your primary in a panic.", I would not feel offended at all. But when the suggestion is that I am an unsafe diver because the configuration is not EXACTLY like someone elses, I get pissy and shoot the messenger.

The all or nothing aspect is a bit tougher to explain. When I used to go backpacking I took great pains with my wife to make sure we had EVERYTHING we needed and no duplication except planned redundancies. I see DIR like that. Serious preparation for serious diving. The kind of diving I and a lot of others usually do is more relaxed and pushes fewer boundries. For this kind of relaxed dive, I often have more junk than I need. I often have my magnadoodle slate clipped on even there is absolutely no need for such an appliance underwater. But sometimes I enjoy a bit of discussion with the wife or kids as we alter our plans on the fly (swim). I see this as fitness to a purpose. And as the purpose of the dives in my life vary, so do the planning and gear. So I want to stay safe, have everything I need, most of what I want and cruise around underwater most of the time. This is not necessarily unsafe practise just because it is not DIR.

Now what I want to take from DIR. Hmmm. I really like the octo being where it should be -- near my mouth for when I use it when she runs out of air (that will be the day, the wife and kids use less than me) or has a failure that requires sharing my air. I have always thought that the idea of signaling OOA, give the Buddy Breathe sign and wait for the buddy to hand over an octo is a joke. Why lie to the students? If I am OOA and you are near me, I will take that reg and you might get it back in a while. If someone is OOA and yanks my reg, I will be glad that I was there and they were close enough that I could provide mine.

I am also comforted that my good old Jet Fins (I bought a new pair last year to replace some with 25 years on them) are still cool! But those springs that some DIRs use! I have never had a surprise with the straps, except personal sloppiness in surf, but that would have happened with any system!

I will take advantage of relevent knowledge and experience where ever I find it. So as I find things that DIR has to offer me, I will add it to my way of diving. Same goes for other divers. Recently a guy showed me a better way to work with my game bag. I am always learning and evaluating what I can do to improve my life.


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