Posted by Bill Johnson on November 19, 2001 at 22:37:13:
In Reply to: Who are the dive police? posted by Chris on November 19, 2001 at 14:41:10:
Why are you so afraid of divers getting educated? And what is the point of your post?
First your post promotes more diver education. You wrote, " I agree that the basic certification course should be more comprehensive than your typical one." Then demote diver education. You wrote, " certification level has almost nothing to do with diving ability." For this, you use the instructor certification as an example. You wrote, " There are people certified as instructors that can barely dive, I have rescued some of them." Here, you commit a fallacy that many make and assume that Open Water Instructor is the highest DIVER certification level there is. FYI, instructor is not a DIVER certification, and hence indicates very little about the cardholder's DIVER ability. All an instructor cert means is that the instructor can certify divers to dive to 60' in open water during the day! This says nothing about diving ability, much less advanced diving ability. Then you make a blatantly untrue statement. You wrote, " Some of the best divers have never gone beyond their basic certification." How can a diver certified Open Water be considered the best when he can't even go down to the dive store and get a nitrox fill, or a helium fill, or carry a light into Ginnie Springs cavern? Please, give me a break.
Finally, you start a slippery slope fallacy by asking who will be the dive police and regulation, etc. After all that, you offer no solution other than a feeble statement about personal responsibility.
Chris, we all agree that most open water training is watered down. Why? Because new divers aren't convinced they will like diving enough to be committed to an open water course that is equivalent to a NAUI Master Diver course. Capitalism has dictated that scuba education be sold in pieces instead of a huge chunk. Many divers dive tropically once a year or two and are happy with only doing 60' open water dives during the day. Other new divers quickly realize that their limited open water training is not enough to satisfy their needs to dive at a more advanced level, so they continue their diver education; this is PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.
Who are the dive police? They are the operators. When customers show up and pay the operator to be responsible for them (and don't tell me this isn't what many casual divers do), they expect the operator to take care of them. When they show the operator their Open Water Diver card, they are in essence saying, "I am certified to dive in 60' of open water during the day; take me to a spot that meets that criteria. Some divers are stupid and dive beyond their certified abilities, and some of them end up as statistics in each years DAN report.
Then there are the Chris's of diving: those that glean information and dive with divers who are better than them until they become fairly decent. The Chris's usually aren't great, partially I would argue because they haven't been professionally critiqued, but they are fairly decent. I believe these divers represent a small percentage of the diving public. In fact, I would argue that they avoid operators as much as possible, only using them when getting to a specific location makes an operator a requirement. So by and large, the dive police don't affect the Chris's.
Conversely, there is a great system for the dive police (dive operators) to use, certification cards, but they don't seem to know how to use it. For some reason, operators and the public seem to think that Rescue Diver, DM or Instructor says something about advanced diving ability. You can become a rescue diver without ever diving below 20', a DM without ever going below 30' and an instructor without ever going much deeper than that. It is the certifications that indicate a DIVER level of competence that count, and I don't mean Boat Diver or some other silly PADI patch.
I submit that personal responsibility is diving within your limits and seeking out a good challenging course for those who wish to extend those limits.
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