So where do "they" stand

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Posted by MHK on July 05, 2006 at 22:02:03:

I've opted to open a dialogue about the merits of certain diving protocols that are regularly practiced by all too many, that have been going on for sometime and that demands inspection. It has been said by many, that California divers are progressive, pioneering and even more battle tested then most recreational divers. In some small part, I agree. But what I can not phathom is why the stark resistance to change? Simply because other have done it before and gotten away with it?

This may not be the most popular position to advance, but then again what is worthwhile usually isn't the path of least resistance. I've laid out a very specific set of concerns that highlight the added risks associated with diving deep on air; diving solo; doing decompression diving absent proper training and proper protocols; diving advanced off-shore sites that demand additional protocols and gaining a mindset and appreciation for the consequences associated with such extraordinary diving habits. Predicatebly, some have raised extraneous issues to side-track the debate, but the tide is turning; people are listening; and more then ever before I'm encouraged by the support I see for safer and more efficient diving protocols. We've seen approximately 1 death per month in SoCal for several years now and whether some want to recognize the salient issue or turn a blind eye, is beyond the scope of my capabilities. I'll continue to do what I do, and I'll continue to be outspoken about the issue. If some want to say "it's the same old song" to them I say, then don't read my posts. But with one agency alone bragging about certifying 966,000 divers a year, and with the explosion cyber forums that adds many new divers to our cyber community on a regular basis, I think repeated conversations are warranted.

What is in equal parts frustrating to me and now a stated purpose on my part, I think it's imperative that now that dive sites like Osborne, Farnsworth, Cortez, Gordo, or the Moody, et. al. are more regularly in divers reach that speaking out against outdated protocols are even more important today then it was 10 years ago. While some worry about what I say about trip reports, many other, less vocal in nature, applaud and appreciate the fact that we continue to outline safer and more efficient ways to approach that kind of dive. The protocols that I have outlined and spoken out about are well noted and don't bear repeating in this post. But it does ponder the question, What do they stand for?

Does the density of the gas miraculously shrink in their tanks? Does C02 accumulate less in their physiological makeup? Does diving solo, and taking the extra gear associated therweith, decrease drag in their dives? If any of these miracles happen to happen on their dives I'd love to know how, so please feel free to post them.. I've invited, if not begged them, to discuss their methods but instead the issue(s) have been obfustacted in favor of dredging up outdated posts that I made years and years ago, or dives that I've done years and years ago.

Diving physiology doesn't really change whether you are nice, or even mean, on the internet. It is what it is. Accident analysis is routinely ignored in favor of the time tested themes such as "let's wait for the report" or " let's say nothing out of respect for the family". I've checked the archives of the local lists, and never do we revist the issue. For example, did anyone ever revisit why an extremely expereinced, technical diving instructor die on a dive such as the Yukon? A dive, his fiancee noted, that "he would have been embarassed to die on since it was considered so easy"?

It's easy to bury your head in the sand, it's easy to post trip reports when all goes well.. But the difficult part is to acknowledge that even though nothing went wrong that day, did it still make sense to approach the dive in that fashion?

A local diver recently had a major problem on a dive in San Diego. She was one of the most outspoken people ever on the net, and was on many, many lists. Such to the point that her friends were suggesting that if she weren't in a coma that she'd be pissed that we weren't analyzing her dive. I happen to know the person, and I agree with that analysis, but all too many have stigmatized accident analysis as pointing fingers, but the one underlying point that remains without dispute is that in any accident, or any fatality, it's obvious that something was amiss, so why not look for the reasons why and learn from it? It is often said that the first sign of decompression is denial, I offer the same thoughts with respect to dive analysis.

I'm encouraged by seeing recent trip reports highlighting "buddy teams", I'm encouraged when someone sends me a PM and tells me that before they do a dive they hear my voice before they do it. The greatest contribution we can make is getting divers to think. Some will ignore what I have to say, some will ban me from their list, some will say that I'm out for self-promotion, while yet others will ascribe other motives.. All to which I say, who cares? They don't want to hear what I'm offering anyway, so who cares what they have to say.

The issues are what they are. I've repeatedly said where I stand, but after all these years of obfuscation, and mean spirited debates, I still have no clue how, based solely on the merits, how their procedures are safer and more efficient.

I hope to continue to get divers to think.

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