Re: Waivers/duress

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Posted by ken Kurtis on November 19, 2001 at 13:34:26:

In Reply to: Re: Value of c-cards and log books posted by George Austin on November 19, 2001 at 11:40:07:

As far as I know, the "signed under duress" claim is a red herring. To the best of my knowledge, I don't know of any diving waiver being thrown out for that reason, certainly not recently. (But if anyone else has knowledge of a speficic case, I'd certainly be interested in knowing the details.)

Waivers for diving are now a long-standing practice in our industry, from the time you start your training to doing local trips and foreign travel. To claim "I didn't know I'd have to sign a waiver and was forced to do so" would be pretty disingenious, especially for someone who's certified and can be shown to have already signed them in the past.

Historically, the "duress" claim came about when the diver was already on a boat and handed the waiver at the dive site and told to sign it or he/she couldn't dive. (The mythical teaching scenario - I don't know that this ever really happened - is that as the diver is about to do a giant stride off the boat, the DM says, "Sign this.") And that's one reason that you are (hopefully always) asked to sing the waiver BEFORE the boat leaves the dock. In theory you can decline to sign as a condition of diving and get off the boat.

My understanding from both PADI and NAUI is that nowadays waivers are invalidated because they're incompletely filled out or not signed at all but generally (and it will vary state-to-state) waivers for recreational diving are held to be valid.

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

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