Dive Boat Suggestions

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Posted by Jon Davies on May 03, 2004 at 12:39:57:

Thanks to everyone who has given their input on the dive boat procedures. There's been a lot of feedback and I'm trying to reconcile a lot of conflicting suggestions.

Three things are apparent, at least to me, and I've tried to bear these in mind when coming up with the proposals.

1. Any system is only as good as the people who are implementing it. Any system can break down if it's not conducted in a responsible and careful manner.

2. Any system that relies on a physical item for identification is flawed. If you count divers with a tag/wristband system, you don't really know if the diver is back; only that their wristband/tag is back. This could lead to a false sense of security.

3. There is no substitute for face-to-face identification of every diver on board. All efforts to improve the system should be focused on this method.

With these basic principles in mind, I came up with some ideas that are open to discussion. I welcome any additional suggestions that anyone has at jondavies@earthlink.net

Let me know what you think!

1. There is no substitute for a visual and verbal roll call. This requires the DM to actually WITNESS and VERIFY THE IDENTITY of every passenger on the boat. In other words, the DM must look at the person who is answering the roll, not just hear them reply. Roll calls must include first and last name and the diver's assigned number, and the diver must give a positive response, eg., DM: "#1 John Smith?" "#1, John Smith. I am here."

2. Anyone caught answering for anyone else on a roll call is done diving for the day. No exceptions. Period. If you are unsure about whether it's your name being called, ask the DM. This is stated unequivocally in the dive briefing at the beginning of the day and prior to the roll call at every dive site.

3. DM confirms the roll call with a head count to make sure it tallies with the manifest. DM may also conduct a tank count for additional layer of redundancy (although this doesn't account for freedivers or divers who brought 2 tanks). When using a tank count as a backup, the DM must pay particular attention to free divers and additional tanks.

4. If a shop/club DM is conducting the roll call, the captain or someone designated by him/her must be present to witness that the roll call is conducted in a satisfactory manner. (This is in the captain's interest, since he/she is ultimately responsible).

5. If a shop/club DM is running the dives, that person must meet with the captain prior to the first dive to talk about their procedures for roll call/head counts/tank checks etc. The captain must approve their methodology and, in the case of any disagreements, the captain's decision is final.

Any further points would be appreciated!


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