Re: Increasing safety

Outer Bamnks diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on June 28, 2004 at 23:10:38:

In Reply to: Re: What reason is there to have a DM on the boat? posted by Ross-O on June 28, 2004 at 19:58:58:

Ross-O wrote: "We all know that the DM is supposed to increase the safety of the divers aboard the boat."

I'm not picking on Ross here but I want to challenge that statemenet.

Having a DM doesn't increase safety when the passengers don't pay attention to basic guidelines or listen to what the DM says. Case in point (and not to pick on him either): Drifting Dan, who didn't listen to the part of the dive briefing that said if you lose visual contact with the rig, surface immediately.

It also makes a difference if your DMs are pro-active or re-active. Many stores teach their DMs (and even counsel them that they lessen their legal liability) to be reactive, in other words, to simply react to situations.

The classic example is a diver that a DM thinks is not suited to make a dive but he/she doesn't say anything (because that's proactive) but the moment the diver surfaces waving his/her arms the DM reacts by jumping in to get him/her (since that's reactive). In my opinion, that didn't do anything to increase diver safety, but simply may have prevented an unsafe situation from becoming a tragedy.

However I will concede that proactive DMs may indeed increase diver safety simply because they hopefully spot problems before they become accidents. Case in point would be our trip this past Saturday on the Great Escape where we tightened a good six or seven tank bands that stood a good chance of letting the tank fall out, caught at least one guy at the gate with his air turned off, and escorted two other divers who were very nervous and unsure of themsevles and who (IMHO) would probably not have had successful dives without some handholding and encouragement.

So when we talk about DMing, remember it's not all black-and-white and there are many shades of gray. I also tell our people that (IMHO) good DMing is invisible. Doesn't mean it isn't being done, but that it's thorough without being intrusive.

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

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