Re: NAUI/PADI DM questions

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on March 19, 2006 at 19:14:30:

In Reply to: NAUI PADI DM questions posted by Erik J. Lindstrohm on March 19, 2006 at 17:56:06:

Interesting questions "Eric". Certainly worthy of examination and a healthy debate. Here are my opinions:

Since you are representing the shop, do you have the right, and are you expected to exercise that right, to cancel a trip because you feel the conditions were not ideal to conduct the dives?

Very tricky and difficult question. Don't know that there's a black-and-white answer. I realize I probably have a different relationship with the boat captains on the vessels we use because I AM a shop owner and I've been doing this for a while.

It seems to me that we generally try to reach some consensus. Yesterday was a perfect example. We discussed whether or not ot go for almost an hour and a half on the way over while monitoring/listening/participating in the radio chatter. Three boats cancelled, one boat made a single dive and went home, we stayed and did the whole day, though we had to abort one dive and recall divers because we couldn't hold anchor due to the wind. but our divers are were safe, and seemed to have a good time despite less-than-ideal conditions. Who made the right call? Again, I don't think it's black-and-white.

There's another side to this. Suppose you feel conditions are fine and it's the captain who's insisting you cancel. There's no question the captain has the ulitmate autority but that aside, what's the position then?

And here's an even better one: You as DM feel that conditions are unsafe. You tell the captain you think you ought to cancel. the captain feels otherwise and says everything will be fine. In the course of the day, an accident happens. During the investigation (or ensuing lawsuit), who will the blame be laid heaviest on when it comes out that the DM recommended cancelling and the captin overruled that?

Like I said, no easy answers here.

As the DM, once again representing the shop, are you expected to not let any diver on the boat you feel is a threat or otherwise problematic in their attitude that could affect the other customers on the trip?

I'm not so sure this question is well-worded. if someone is a "threat", I'm interpreting that as they mean to do physcial harm to a diver. I'd suggest you hog-tie them and call Baywatch immiedately to have them removed from the boat.

"Problematic attitude" to me sounds like they're simply jerks or you don't like them ("problematic attidue" being based on perspective and a relative term). You can't/shouldn't stop someone from diving because you think their personality is lacking.

However, assuming you really meant to imply "is an accident waiting to happen" I'd say stop them from diving. You may really get them angry but it's always going to be cheaper to refund a diver than it ever will be to pay off their estate if your suspicions were correct.

And ifg your dshop won't back you up on something like that, find another shop to work for.

Again, as the DM, are you expected to not let any diver on the boat you feel is a danger to himself or others around him?

See above.

If an accident occurs on your trip and a diver is injured, are you as the DM, required to take a drug test along with everyone else on the boat that was responsible in any way for the advanced safety or rescue of the injured diver as per the Coast Guard's request?

I'm going to focus on the word "required." I don't think so. DMs are not crew, they're not hired by the captain (assuming it's a shop charter and not an open boat). Therefore, the Coast Guard has no jurisdiction over them. (See the Drifiting Dan case as a reference where the Coast Guard couldn't sanction the DMs, since they weren't hired by the boat, even though it was obvoius they failed to perform their duties.) On an open boat, where the DM was hired by the captin, it's probably a fdiferent story.

Now, would it be a good idea to volunteer to take a drug test if asked? Probably so. But again, not sure what the point would be since there are jurisdictional questions.

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

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