Clarifying Misconceptions/Solo (3 of 5)

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on February 13, 2001 at 12:03:16:

My views on solo diving should be crystal clear (but then again . . .) from a post I made on January 4, 2001, called “Promoting vs. Discussing/Solo” (

The original post that started all this is from September 1, 2000, and is titled “Criteria for Solo Diving” ( and outlines my PERSONAL criteria for making a decision to do a dive solo or not.
----------------------------------------------------------------------Michael Kane (MHK) has repeatedly accused me, most recently on 2/12, of authoring a post entitled "How to Dive Solo." (It’s also been called at various times "How to Solo" and "How to Solo Dive".) The implication seems to be that I’m encouraging EVERYONE to dive by themselves, and just by reading the 300 words in this particular post, you will know everything you need to know about solo diving.

Once again, Michael puts quotes around the words which means (since this is the reason for using quotation marks) these are words I’ve written. Once again, this is false.

I have NEVER written a post “teaching” people how to solo dive. I have NEVER advocated that solo diving is appropriate for everyone. I have NEVER stated that solo diving is always safer than diving with a buddy. (In fact, on October 18, 2000, in a response to Michael titled
“Re: Glorifying Solo Diving” - - I specifically state
that I’ve never made those statements and ask Michael to cite where that statement was made, something which he failed to do.)

I would maintain that my comments on solo diving are no more a primer on how to do it than Michael’s comments on the Doria dives he’s done could be misinterpreted as “How to Dive the Andrea Doria.”

Hopefully, especially with the 1/4/01 post, my thoughts are pretty clear and I see no sense in rehashing old ground. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it. (And I know we’re not going to agree.)

I will say that I don’t think solo diving CAUSES any accidents. By that, I mean that I’ve yet to hear of something happening to someone diving solo (out-of-air, entanglement, heart attack, etc.) that wouldn’t have happened had a buddy been by their side. So I don’t think being solo got them into any trouble that couldn’t have found them with a buddy.

However . . .

I absolutely agree that diving solo greatly reduces your odds of DEALING WITH an accident. Although people die with buddies around and others survive problems when solo, there’s no question in my mind that you’ve got a better chance with someone to help you then
you do without.

And I think this idea of a new diver or someone not-too-competent as a “bad” buddy, and therefore justifying going solo, is a red herring. The WORST it can be is the same as being by yourself. But I don’t know off the top of my head of any instance where a buddy trying to
help a diver with a problem ended up killing them when they could have saved themselves solo. Even a bad buddy is better than no buddy at all, or at least is no worse than no buddy at all.

I look at a problem dive as having three components - (1) pre-problem, (2) the problem, (3) post-problem. It may sound like semantics, but I don’t think solo diving CAUSES accidents,
but I agree that it reduces your chances in SURVIVING an accident.

As with diving deeper &/or staying down longer, solo diving increases the risk factor in this sport. It’s simply a risk that some of us feel is manageable and are willing to accept. But it’s certainly NOT for everybody.

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, Ca.

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