I agree with Chris . . .

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on March 14, 2009 at 20:28:49:

In Reply to: Liability Immunity Legislation AB 634 by Assemblywoman Diane Harkey posted by California Ships to Reefs on March 14, 2009 at 14:13:30:

Words I don't utter too often . . .


While I think the general concept is OK (though quite frankly, not essential to the process), the suggested letter is fatally flawed. And it also underscores one of the biggest when getting public comment on policy areas like these: Whatever you say better be factually correct. the second you start playing rhetorical games, you lose all credibility and any other comments you might make also get thrown out with the bath water.

From the suggested letter:

" Even so, all divers sign a liability waiver . . . even getting an air fill at a dive shop . . ."

No they don't. I don't know of a single store that requires a waiver to get an airfill. And even if there might be one or two that do, this sentence implies all divers sign at all shops for air, and that's crap.

"A diver can do everything right and still has a roughly 10% chance of decompression illness (bends) . . ."

This is absolute crap!!! Where does this come from? Whoever drafted this letter needs to cite some stats. Simply put, if there was a 10% chance of the bends there would be roughly 2.5 MILLION cases of the bends each year and there are less than 1000 reported annually to DAN.

" . . . and every diver who has been below approximately 60 feet has experienced nitrogen narcosis (rapture of the deep) . . ."

Also crap. EVERY diver??? SIXTY feet???? If an instructor wrote this, PLEASE turn your credentials back in to your certifying agency NOW.

I talked some time ago (and Steve Benevides chimed in with agreement) that if you're going to be writing letters to legislators, the WORST thing you can do is overplay your hand. Don't inflate numbers, don't make stuff up, don't go out on a limb with the truth. If you can't make your argument, then you can't make your argument. But to do so dishonestly (which I feel this suggested letter certainly is) makes a mockery of the sport and will undermine any legitimate chance of getting anything done.

- Ken
Ken Kurtis
Owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA

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