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Feb 19 2017 Cozumel diving fatality

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by Brianh1, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. Christi

    Christi PADI MSDT/Dive op owner ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Cozumel, MX
    Just curious - what was your role? Are you a local Cozumel dive master?
  2. lowflyer

    lowflyer Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: SW
    Christi, all of this makes perfect sense from a safety point of view, especially the fact that, especially as we age, the possibility of a medical issue requiring help from a buddy exists.
  3. EcoDivingPlaya

    EcoDivingPlaya Angel Fish

    What do you mean by "local" and "dive master"?
  4. tankdives

    tankdives Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: scuba-die-ving.com
    Enlighten me...esp Cozumel dive shop operators on this thread

    -What exactly is a DMs responsibility to divers he/she is guiding?
    -Is this something the dive shop or individual DM determines?
    -How is this communicated to divers who pay for your services?

    Seems to me the industry wants to have it both ways....create the illusion a DM will be there to assist/save in case of a crisis, while in reality this isn't the case at all - divers are solely responsible for themselves, whether a DM is present.

    So operators, here's an idea. Why not post your DM responsibility "policy" on your website along with everything else. So divers know EXACTLY what they're getting safety-wise and for their money.

    Or is being forthright bad for business?
    Jackie, kekomixtle and EcoDivingPlaya like this.
  5. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    I have argued or years that because of the nature of the drift diving in Cozumel, every dive operator should require every diver in their operation to carry one. If they don't own one, the operator can rent or sell one at a reasonable price. Does your operation require one?
    gfaith and Coztick like this.
  6. Gdog

    Gdog Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lacey, Washington
    Maybe this is just too simple, but some of the SMBs out there have a lp connector to inflate the bouy. Perhaps she had disconnected her lp hose to inflate her SMB, sucked in some salt water, and her throat spasms caused her to drown....just a thought.
    noj3333 likes this.
  7. mstevens

    mstevens Toadfish. Splendid is implied but not guaranteed. ScubaBoard Supporter


    I agree with that in theory, but the reality can be different. I watched as Michael shot toward the surface as if yanked by a crane, so fast that one of his fins was pulled off. By the time he reached the surface, air was streaming out of every seam on his BCD, not just the pressure relief valves. It took him a few moments to realize what was probably going on, then by the time he fought the current to reach his inflator he was already bobbing on the surface.

    Sure, it's an LP hose, but it can still deliver a lot of air into a BCD very quickly if it fails in a full-open position.

    Tracy had a very slow leak from hers that took a full day of diving before we figured out why she was having so much trouble maintaining her buoyancy. Disconnecting the hose quickly and easily fixed that.

    I agree that this typically should not be a problem. However, if there's grit or something that prevents reconnecting, your following point still holds true:

    This is one of the things I don't understand from this thread, and it's been mentioned a couple of times as if the only possible way to inflate a BCD is with a power inflator.

    Oral inflation is very easy, and it's all there was when I was training. I still tend to just add a little puff orally a lot of the time instead of hitting the button because I feel as if it gives me more control. I totally disagree that the inability to add air to a BCD via a faulty power inflator is a disaster.

    There are dive shops that are very safety-focused. People seem to have an absolutely great time diving with them, based on reports here.

    There are dive shops that appear to be more focused on satisfying divers' wishes or preferences or on minimizing fees, even if that means bending or breaking safety guidelines.

    Bad stuff can happen even when everyone tries to do things right. It's much more likely to happen when corners are cut or people become complacent.

    I dive with highly-competent buddies whose equipment and skills I know intimately. Despite this, over the years we've had all sorts of things happen that could have ended badly. Sometimes it's been training and experience that have made the difference, but very often it's been the irreplaceable support of a good boat captain on a properly-equipped boat, an experienced divemaster, and a team (including land-based personnel) who know what to do if things go awry and who plan for contingencies.

    Dave and Christi keep saying this stuff over and over. People should probably pay attention.

    Good divers never stop learning. Diving deaths are tragic, but it would be even more tragic not to learn from them.
    Texas Torpedo and Gdog like this.
  8. Christi

    Christi PADI MSDT/Dive op owner ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Cozumel, MX
    If you have to ask then the answer is no. But it was just a question wondering what your role in this event was.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  9. SoFlaDiver954

    SoFlaDiver954 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ft lauderdale, FL
    I was referring more to a panic situation where a task-loaded diver (or in my early example a diver whose valve was off doing a negative entry) may not think to inflate manually or act quick enough. If you are already dealing with an issue, taking your reg out to orally inflate a BCD could be challenging. I should have avoided using absolute terms, but being that this diver was apparently experienced and knowingly disconnected the hose, this is probably not the case. Whether it played a role in this tragedy or not, any equipment malfunction should be a dive-ending event. A small leak can turn into a big leak easier than a fully functioning kit. Also, I saw a reference to this being a LP hose instead of HP- a LP hose may be easier to connect but can dump more air than a HP hose because of the diameter (again, not related here but something to note).
  10. Dhboner

    Dhboner DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Toronto
    I have never met Christi though based on her well-thought out and eloquently worded posts here, I respect her and would be completely confident diving with her company. However my experience in Cozumel has not exactly dove tailed with her post. My experience on the island is limited (I have only manged to get down to Cozumel twice) but on both occasions there were serious issues. I will not name the dive shops involved because I may have witnessed the conduct of a DM who was not representative of the company policy, but on one trip we were discussing the destination for the first dive of the day and all but one diver wanted to try the Devil's Throat. The one dissenting diver expressed concern that he had never been that deep and felt he might get claustrophobic in any kind of overhead, no matter how brief. The DM tried to convince him it was an easy dive and when he still said he was uncomfortable the DM said he wasn't going to let him ruin everyone else's day so he was welcome to sit out the dive but that it WOULD be Devil's Throat. He was embarrassed and almost suited up for the dive until I took him aside and strongly suggested he sit it out, not be embarrassed and find another operator for the rest of his trip (as I did). On the following trip TWICE in one week the DM turned off my air before I splashed. After the second time, I told him to keep his hands off my gear. My point is that there are countless decent operators in Cozumel and no doubt hundreds of very responsible DM's but it is a competitive island and a lot of DM's need their tips to make ends meet and may not always have your comfort and safety as their primary concern, so choose your operator carefully, make sure you have the training and experience to do the dives that are scheduled, don't be bullied into going along with a dive plan that is above your training or comfort level and be confident in setting up your own gear and ensuring every component is working flawlessly...if it isn't scrub the dive until repairs are made or a replacement found.
    cicopo, kekomixtle, Agility and 3 others like this.

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