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Dive day After Action Report.

Discussion in 'Greater Caribbean and Bermuda' started by Bhtmec2, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Bhtmec2

    Bhtmec2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Puerto Rico
    493
    120
    0
    Dive day After Action Report.

    Well let me put this up front: I will not say who/what shop this is but wanted to make sure I was not just set in my ways and was looking at this day wrong. Yes there are always two sides of the coin. This is to bring out discussion of the right way to dive or teach.


    I chose this shop on short notice and no research. They are out of the way and do not cater to the cruise ships. I hate cattle boats so I hoped they would be a shop I could use in the future.

    I was just on an Island near by and had a day off so I decided to get wet. Well I called the usual dive shops and no one had room or had no boats going out. I was hoping to dive the General so I had to check with shops that go there. I prefer wrecks so that limits what boats to go on. Since Isaac had past the weather has been great and I needed to relax. Well I finally found a shop that was going out and talked to them and the DM/Instructor running the dives the next day. They were very friendly and we had a nice talk and I signed up. They advised me that they were taking a bunch of AOW students and asked if that was fine with me and I told them that I would just do my thing and stay out of their way. We were going to do a DEEP Dive for the first one on a wreck and then another dive at another location while they did a navigation exam. My desires were being taken care of and they did not have to do anything different. That worked for them and we both were on track for the next day…..

    Well I showed up a few minutes early and got to know the DM before the rest of the shop showed up. We were scheduled for a 0830 check-in and departure at 0900 sharp. Well the students started to show up late as did the counter staff. Part of the staff had one time line and the others had another one. The students sat around discussing their night time activity. They were hung-over and did not leave the bars until after 0200-0400…… This should have been my 1[SUP]st[/SUP] indication of the days dive. They milled around for an hour so now we are late. Well this is going to be a 95' deep dive today and this was going to be their first one ever. Two students did not even show up so we did not get going until after 1030 (starting to blow my time line for work I have to do in the PM). The shop DM's & instructors joked about the drinking and being hung-over. They did not discuss being late with all and never discussed that this could adversely affect them during the deep dives. I just milled around and filled out the papers and paid for the dive. Finally after listening to two of the girls saying that they were not 100% and I finally opened my mouth and suggested that they start hydrating and discussed the effects of no sleep and heavy drinking and how that could affect their body during a dive. They listened to me and at least started drinking water. I had to ask how long we were going to wait as this was screwing my timeline for my work in the PM. As I heard the DM's talking to the students I go the Dm off to the side and again told him and the instructor that I was there to relax and was not there to herd students that were hung-over. I did not bitch but they understood I was a little concerned. After we talked I realized that one of the people there was not an AOW student but a very young Instructor and he was one of the late night party group. Off I went and loaded the boat from the beach as I was tired of waiting. No dock so you have to walk out with your gear from the beach. It was about 3 foot deep out to the boat. This is not unusual here in the Caribbean so I was prepared with my gator bag.

    I got on the boat before the AOW students and got to know the 2 DM interns that were there. I set up my gear and talked to the Captain who owns the shop. They were all very nice and seamed to want me to enjoy my morning with them and I was looing forward to the dive. I did have to ask when we were going to get under way as their timeline was supposed to be from 0830-1330 and I had work in the PM. The Captain tried to get them going. Finally the students got on and we pulled out. The Captain gave the safety brief and the DM's gave the dive briefs again. Off we went and the students got their gear set up. It was a beautiful clear and calm day and we went to the first site. In route the instructor gave a brief and claimed due to a logistical problem the navigation exam would not be done today. (He forgot his gear for the planned exercise but did not tell the students he messed up.) Guess that is a logistical problem …:wink:…. The boat was clean and roomy and well organized and when we arrived at the wreck the DM candidates handled the anchor and all pre dive prep.

    After we anchored the DM's briefed the dive site and what the students were going to do. The plan was as follows:

    1. Enter the water and descend on the anchor line to 15' and do a check.
    2. After all is OK they would descend down the line to the top of the wreck. This wreck is rolled over on it's side so the top is almost the keel.
    3. DM will check the anchor which is at 95' in the sand and secure it if needed. They set the line as desired which crosses the wreck so if you have current problems you can get to it from either side.
    4. A swim around will be conducted and then go to the stern on the bottom and wait.
    5. The Instructor then would guide them through the wreck on the many open hatches and go in and out (follow me with 8 students and 2 DM candidates).
    6. Return to the line after 25min bottom time.
    7. Group check and ascend the line as the DM removes the anchor and sends it up with a bag. Hold on to the line as there is sometimes is a current.
    8. Ascend to the safety stop and wait.
    9. The DM candidates would then do a drill with a SMB. One carried the marked and the DM would have the reel.
    10. After this drill all would surface and board the boat.

    Well after the brief I quietly mentioned to the owner about the penetration since I have been on this wreck. I asked if this was smart to take them into this vessel since it silts up in a few points easily and since several of the students said they did not know the frog kick. The DM when they said this said don’t worry you will just be making it harder for the person behind them and laughed. I mentioned that only the Pri DM and I had lights and he said that they would be following closely. I mentioned that they were not properly trained and they told me if they were teaching PADI wreck that they were not able to penetrate but since it was AOW that did not apply. I shook my head and I reminded all of the staff that I would be there but doing a Solo Dive so I would be down there but I would be exploring the other end of the boat and they could focus on their training. They were OK with that still and I said I would stay out of their way and we may bump into each other down there. I told them my dive plan to include my bottom times and my route and I would link up with them as they did their safety stop. They were OK with that. The DM candidates were first in with a DM and then the AOW student's staggered in. If finally went down and sort of shadowed all of them while they hung on the line. At 50' one student had a problem equalizing and none of the DM's or instructor knew it. I worked with him going up in steps and he finally went up to the boat when he could not clear his ears. I went back down and no one knew he was gone. They were going around the wreck and I let one of the DM's know one was back on the boat. I went exploring and we kept passing on the outside. I went to the point I intended to penetrate and decided that this spot was not good as things had shifted inside. I went to the rear and ran into the group going in. I tied off and the instructor wanted me to go in before him. I motioned him in first and turned on my light and entered. It was a mess. Kicking up everything and they were big gaps between people. I laid a line and made sure that no one got lost. When they came out no one even stopped for a head count at the exit points from what I could see. When you enter you have to go through 4 bulk heads and do 2 turns to get out so this was not a swim through. I went back and recovered the line and met up with the group as they finished a swim around the ship and went to the anchor line. They all started up the line and I free ascended watching them. I hoped that they were all accounted for.

    At the safety stop I watched the instructor give a DM Candidate a (Surface Marker Buoy) SMB and he was motioning what to do. The DM candidate from my point of view had no idea what to do. They had no reel since the DM who was getting the anchor had it. I gave my finger reel to the instructor and they tried to configure and shoot the SMB. I had to swim over and show them how to hold the finger reel so they would not drop it and lose it. The poor DM candidate did not know how to inflate it. The instructor showed her and she got a little air in it and up it went and just laid on the surface. I went up and got on the boat and the rest came up shortly. I de-rigged and changed tanks and waited to get my reel. Talked to the DM candidates about the SMB and tried to give them a few pointers to help them. They were receptive but the instructor said that both passed. Shoot one never touched the SMB during the dive.

    I talked to the guy that had problems with his ears and helped him with some saline spray and a little afrin to try to help the blockage. Had to explain what probably caused his problem (drinking/lack of sleep/dehydration). It was funny that the young instructor made a big deal that he went all the way to the bottom and put his console in a depression and it showed 94' which was his deepest time to date. I found that a little funny as he was teaching AOW and I would have hoped he had been deeper like 120' +/- if he is a PADI instructor. The AOW lets you go deeper than 94' ……. That is just me…..

    In route they changed the second site to make a fun shallow dive. The Captain and DM asked me if it was ok and I told them it was. They kept trying to meet my dive location desires and I thanked them for that. At the second site the students did no skills and just jumped in and went where ever they wanted. I was down for 59 min and got back on the boat. We returned to the shop at 1540 and rinsed off the gear and I returned to the hotel as fast as possible.

    Well I silently took in how things good and bad. I did think the shop was very friendly and their equipment was being maintained properly. Well being friendly is not enough and their way of running a dive/training is not for me. I am a picky older diver as some have said and from what I have seen that day they are doing the least amount of work and they are giving away the certs. In my opinion they are Dive mill. This is only my opinion and I am sure people will say differently. I did enjoy the dives even with the short comings because the worst day diving is better than the best day in the office.

    What do you think? Am I jaded or my conclusions sound reasonable. Sometimes people say I am very focused on safety and procedure but I think it has served me well since I began diving in the mid 70's as a Civilian and during my time in the military.
     
  2. deeper thoughts

    deeper thoughts Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location:
    6,177
    1,997
    113
    I remember being in the Caymans and we did a dive with the DM and another couple. Our max depth was around 120 and so were the others. The couple were doing their second dive since completing OW. I guess this happens alot
     
  3. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    16,975
    8,835
    113
    Friendly is not enough. I have to say that had I been on the boat I would have had an obligation to report the actions of this instructor. First of all he serioulsy violated the no overheads rule. The students were not properly equipped for a penetration even if they were allowed to. Which they are not. That the shop also allowed hungover people to dive is a whole nother matter. And I certainly would have reported the new instructor for his completely unprofessional behavior and attitudes. Laughing off the silt matter would also have been enough for me to confront him and ask if he really felt that way and had any idea how dangerous that attitude was?
     
    Magnolia3 likes this.
  4. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

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    We had a discussion about a hungover student a while back, and the reaction from a number of folks was that if instructors refused to take hungover people diving, or to certify them, then almost nobody in a resort location would ever get certified. Discouraging, but it is apparently the way it is. I do think the instructor should have said something about it.

    I am appalled at the story about the student who couldn't clear. As a DM, my single biggest responsibility is to keep track of where all the students are, and try to watch them for any problems. And I don't do it in Caribbean viz, either . . . How difficult is it to roll over and look back at your group, and make sure everybody's there?

    And, of course, the wreck penetration story touches a nerve for me. No wonder we lose open water divers in caves . . . They get TAUGHT a lack of respect for overhead environments and silt. Sigh.
     
  5. Bhtmec2

    Bhtmec2 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Puerto Rico
    493
    120
    0
    Jim

    I have been trying lately to not argue or confront or fight so I just tried to keep it in. You are right on all points. The hungover students and one even still had beer on his breath. He brought a 12 Pk for after the dive. I do not mind after dive drinks depending on the dive profiles for the day. I just feel that this day of diving was various accidents waiting to happen. I know that I am not the dive police so I opted to mitigate the issues by making comments and maintaining my distance at times.

    Luckily we all survived to dive another day..........


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  6. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    4,114
    1,642
    113
    Sadly, this could be a copy and paste from many dives I've seen over the years. I've dove/taught all over the world and this is far too common. I won't "accept" it but I understand all the factors involved. Most of us as seasoned divers are apauled by this, knowing how many things could have turned this into a tragedy. In fact all it takes is one accident and most of these casual students, in-experienced pros and indifferent owners will be affected for life. My contribution to this sport is mearly to use common sense, guide others in doing the same, increase my skills/knowledge, avoid putting myself in compromising positions by agencies, shop owners and even by students. By this, hopefully, we and others can continue to enjoy this sport safely.
     
    beendiving likes this.
  7. beendiving

    beendiving Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location:
    48
    24
    0
    I just posted something on my facebook pg about how stupid I thought people were for drinking and diving not even 5 minutes ago because
    I read a post about a self proclaimed shark expert saying how he was drinking tonight and going out diving tomorrow!!!and then they wonder why they get hurt while diving!!!
     
  8. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    16,975
    8,835
    113
    I understand your position dude. My problem is if, as a professional, if I don't report stuff I see like this my ass can get in a sling if something happens and I was aware of it. I'm kinda of a radical anyway when it comes to safety and the fact that my mom was killed by a drunk behind the wheel of car would also have had me asking what kind of drinking problem those students had. I don't care if someone wants to tie one on after the dives are done. But to show up still smelling like booze indicates a serious problem with judgment in general and no way would I have even taken them out. That an instructor would show up like that is disgusting to say the least. He has no business teaching anyone anything. Sounds like zero to hero anyway. And I doubt I would have been able to not call him on it. And inform him I was turning him in. I certainly would not show him anything remotely resembling respect.
     

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