Lobster whistling class

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Posted by Homar on September 10, 2001 at 01:43:47:

In Reply to: whistling technique. posted by Maciek on September 09, 2001 at 22:18:02:

I have been requested to provide my comments about how I would structure a lobster whistling class, if given the opportunity to set the standards.

My classes would very stringently resist the current trend towards discounted and streamlined whistling education. One agency has taken streamlining so far that its multimedia educational materials suggest that whistling is easy, all you have to do is put your lips together and blow.

To start off with there would be no pleasant point of purchase, instant gratification cdís for sale. Absolutely no Andean flute! If you want to know how to whistle for lobster you have to come to my class. That also will set the tone that what I'm teaching is valuable and specialized to meet the local demands of the student. For example, I believe Cayman lobsters are vastly different than Southern California lobsters, and thus have their own unique whistling demands. Accordingly, the one size fits all lobster whistle will by definition be deluded since it is based to the lowest common modulator.

In my view I would encourage meeting with the student prior to the class and telling them that they are about to face a marine creature that could potentially kill them. I wouldn't sugar coat it and hide behind the *unlikely event* nonsense.

I would also let them know up front that there is a likely chance that absent a competent performance in class that I would NOT certify them but would confiscate their lobsters anyway. The approach to the class would be that the student will need to be proficient, not just demonstrative, of the following skills:

Whistle R & R in less than 10 seconds, then a 50 yard swim without whistle and an ascent with lobster from 30' without mask;

Buoyancy control would be a controlled lobster measurement without using the line and not dropping to the bottom or surfacing.

Trim would need to be demonstrated before I would issue the c-card. I would not pass someone who doesnít know how to use parsley and lemon wedges.

The initial c-card would expire after 1 year and would be renewed only if the diver has caught 10 lobster in that period of time and submitted them to me for verification. Moreover, in no case would the card have a life of greater than 3 years and you would need to demonstrate that you whistled up and submitted 30 lobsters in that period of time, with 10 being submitted in the last 12 months. Absent these continuing catching and submitting requirements you would need to do a refresher class

Butter management skill would be taught so that the diver at anytime during the dive would be able to guesstimate within 1 tsp. how much melted butter would be needed.

The student would need to demonstrate proper whistling techniques and would need to whistle a different tune during each of the instructional dives. I would want to see efficient salsa whistling, rock whistling, and country whistling, and I would require that the student whistle while staying 5' off the bottom and not silt it out or be out of tune.

Obviously the concept of *buddy* whistling would be ingrained from the start. Is the buddy in tune?? Is his backup whistle on accidently? etc. etc.

I would require CPR / first aid either during or prior to class, preferably prior to class. Being splashed with hot butter or squirted in the eye with lemon juice can be extremely dangerous.

Pre-dive planning and post dive eating would be the norm, not the exception.

Obviously I would be teaching using HP (hot plate) and wings and my primary method of teaching OOL's (out of lobster) would be by donating the primary whistle, which would be on a long lanyard. Unlike current training where anything goes, I believe that the student is coming to me to learn what I have to offer and I cringe every time I hear instructors tell students to try whatever they desire and then make up there own minds. They have no idea what they are doing so how do they know what to look for or ask about??? They are paying me for my expertise and I'll give it to them, I won't tell them to rent a lobster whistle and then blow them off.

One of the first things I would ask the potential student in the pre-class meeting would be: Do you want to learn how to whistle for lobster or do you want to buy a c-card. If I started hearing about *well, weíre having a barbeque next week so we need it quick*, I'll send them straight to Vonís.

I would be hard pressed to discuss *discounted* loss leading shops that claim to teach you how to whistle for lobster for $99 and if the student was worried about that kind of blatant marketing nonsense, I would simply tell them that they get what they pay for and move on in life. I would also be very candid in my comments in that I do NOT believe that lobster whistling is for everyone and I'm confident that my failure rate would be much greater than the 7% or 8 % that was reported last week. However, I believe that most accidents that occur on the outset of training and why most new whistlers do not continue is that in both cases the students lack the comfort level and confidence level. My students would be able to blow it on their own. That sort of reminds me of every time I buy a major purchase [car, big screen or what have you] you have the salesman telling you how great the item is, why you should have it and its superior craftsmanship, and then the first thing they do after you agree to buy it, is they then try to sell you added warranty *just in case*. The same ridiculous principle applies in lobster whistles. OK, I took your money, trained you and gave you a c-card that will last you for the rest of your life, but by the way you need another class next week to get the really big lobsters.

Just food for thoughts guys. Suffice it to say that after leaving my class you wouldn't be rushing out to buy $400 lobster whistles.



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