Safety Culture - diving in the zone
“Thank [beep] for that! How lucky were we? We better not do that again.
Don’t tell anyone though, we don’t want to look like amateurs...”
Outside comments, debates, chronics
There are thousands of dive centres, resorts and liveaboards all over the world. Some are very good and provide excellent, safe and highly professional service. Others are not so good and are best avoided.
In his Scuba book series, Simon Pridmore often tells tales of diving close calls or near misses. He tries to identify the key factors and suggest what the divers might have done differently to pre-empt or better deal with what happened. All the stories are true. Some he witnessed, some were recounted by friends, and others just crossed his radar screen at some point to be filed away for future sharing.
Readers of my Scuba books often say how useful they find the stories I tell to illustrate key messages. The stories are all true. I wish I could say I made them up, but I am not that creative. Fortunately, life tends to be able to conjure up real situations that are far more instructive than those I could ever invent.
Recently, I was part of an online panel discussing the history of scuba diving. One of my fellow panellists mentioned the film Blue Water, White Death as having been a watershed as far as awareness of the need to protect large marine animals was concerned.
Getting back into diving after a break is something a lot of us will be doing soon, as pandemic restrictions lift. At least, we hope so. This is the story of one diver’s experience of returning to the sport—although, in his case, he had been out of the water for 20 years!
This issue’s column tells the story of two dives, which took place half a world away from each other. The dives placed two divers in a situation where they had to make a choice.
In part one of this series, which appeared in issue #103, I suggested a few commandments to consider in order to ensure, as far as possible, that your technical dives are safe and successful. These were: First commandment: Prepare paperwork; Second commandment: Nominate a supervisor; Third commandment: Deploy safety divers. In this sequel, I deliver a few more tablets of stone.
Today, technical diving is well into its fourth decade. We now have better tools, technology and systems than we did in the past and we know far more about which methods, decompression strategies and gear configurations work well and which do not.
In the book Into Thin Air, journalist Jon Krakauer tells the story of five people who died near the summit of Mount Everest in 1996. Two were expedition leaders, one was a professional guide and two were their clients.
“Wait, wait,” you may say when you read the title of this column, “What are you talking about? Aren’t those two things the same? Isn’t a dive instructor by definition a scuba professional? And what do you mean by ‘Road’?”