Posted by Jim on April 29, 2004 at 23:30:01:
I divemastered on a lot of boats during the 1980s in Ventura, CI, Pt. Hueneme and S.B., sometimes for the boat but mostly for the shop. We didn't get paid, we worked for passage and there were 3 or 4 of us on board. The shop owner who trained us insisted that we check people in and out on the log, do a roll call/visual verification before leaving and a headcount. A quick scan of the tank slots provided some assurance and backup to the three primary methods. We dreaded leaving someone behind. It happened too in those days although not frequently. I recall the story of one guy left behind at Santa Cruz but was able to swim to the sound range facility and find a unlocked vehicle with the keys on the floor and then radio SeaOps for assistance.
I stopped d.m.ing for several reasons. Being deposed for an accident I did not witness was one of them. But it quit being fun when boats became rushed with divers scrambling to make gate times so the boat could hop scotch all over the Channel Islands. I noticed a real disconnect between shop d.m. and the boat d.m. and thought this lead to a decline in safety. Ever try giving a site briefing over engine noise and a compressor because the skipper doesn't want you using the PA? Besides, the skipper's site briefing sucked and did not cover the items the shop wanted covered in its briefing. But what diver wants to listen to two briefings. Finally, because of rising costs the shops started cutting back on the number of d.m.s they paid for from two or three to one. I didn't mind working for passage but getting paid $50 for working a 40 passenger dive boat for four dives was the insult. The end came when the shop revoked the discount that I had received which was the same as instructors.
No, I don't d.m. any more, but still work as a substitute lifeguard and other things.
You want good d.m.'s train them, treat them like a member of the crew and a professional, and let them have a little fun and they are less likely to make errors.
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