Question for Ken Kurtis

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Posted by MHK on February 12, 2001 at 14:06:15:


Your partner Billy Wright and Karl Huggins have both called me and suggested that I should tone down some of my comments. I hold both Billy and Karl in high regard and as such I will approach this from a different angle. Both Billy and Karl indicated that I, and the rest of this list, are entitled to a response so I'll invite you in as nice a fashion as possible to respond to a paradoxial juxstaposition that in my view doesn't seem to make much sense. In both cases these are issues that you have very publicly advocated a firm position.

My understanding from your posts, your comments and your actions indicate a extremely vocal anti-Nitrox position. I'll stipulate for the record that I do NOT question your right to run your shop in any manner that you see fit. My question does not in any way, shape or form challenge your right to run your shop in any manner. But when you say such things as * Nitrox WILL kill you if you breathe it* this goes beyond the scope of running a shop and delves into the area condeming a VERY widely accepted industry practice. You have indicated in private and in past e-mails, that you cite your name, your shop and your NAUI instructor number in your signature because you believe those that read your posts are entitled to know that you are a professional and as such your words speak from an industry leaders position. Accordingly, NAUI ( your agency ), PADI, GUE, YMCA, SSI, IANTD, TDI, BSAC, ANDI, Lesser & Assco. & Jardine and other's all have arrived at the conclusion that Nitrox is a very viable medium of diving and conversly will NOT kill you if you breathe it. In fact, in direct contrast to your solo diving position whereby it is condemed by the agencies such that to the extent that you desire to undertake such a practice that most agencies, including your agency NAUI, request added imdemnifications if the form of a SOLO diving waiver. Such waiver informs, reminds and requires that the diver acknowledge the added risks associated with solo diving and agree to hold harmless the waived party to the extent a accident occurs in this dangerous practice. Furthermore, there is overwhelming anectdotal evidence that supports the fact that Nitrox can, and does, make diving safer. Short of Chris' posts below I am aware of no expert, agency, legal analysis that supports Chris' THEORY, in fact there are simple a multiplicity of things that can, and do, go wrong when soloing, and the results are generally manifest.

The recent DAN statistics that you have provided seem to strenuously challenge your scare tactics of the resulting panacea of deaths as a result of the use of Nitrox. You have further added to your precarious position by indicating that NAUI endorses your claims to * legal liability* concerns respecting Nitrox. This strikes me as inconcievable inasmuch as NAUI teaches up on through Trimix. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to review your submission to OSHA respecting the granting of a variance request waiver in the Dixie Diver's matter. With all due respect, your position is somewhat indefensible, as OSHA has come to conclude.

I have tried on many occasions to have you directly respond, but in many cases your positions have been moving targets. First, as I recall, you objected to the marketing of Nitrox and the use of the descriptive term * Safe Air*, then it appears that you have invented a legal position that fly's in the face of the agencies actions, but seem willing to rely upon the agencies acquiesence to your claims. Will you please inform us as to what legal authority, precedent, or opinion that you are aware of that suggests that there is a *legal liability* concern respecting the use of Nitrox??? Bear in mind I'm focusing the questions, not on your right to run your shop in the manner with which you see fit, but on the broader position that you have so forecefully advocated in that Nitrox is dangerous, Nitrox WILL kill you if you breathe it, and any other psotions that do NOT relate to your right as a shop owner to do as you see fit..

As I noted in another post, it seems ironic to me that you have drafted your own waiver, rather than use the industry standard waiver, but yet rely on some nonexsistent notion of *legal liability* concerns respecting Nitrox. This medium is taught, accepted, insured and advocated by every major agency whereas solo diving is condemed by the major agencies..

You have in the past went so far as to post a * How to Solo* list but yet as an industry leader, you advance a cause that in the most generous terms, is added risk, and denounce so vehemetly a medium of diving that has proven benefits associated therewith.


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