Reprimanding Insta-buddy

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Jim Lapenta

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I play along with their ego for a few dives while on a live-aboard, and then just disappear out of sight while keeping an open eye of their bubbles. They soon get the message and find another buddy.

That is very arrogant and rude on the first dive.
One person's honesty is another's arrogant and rude. I make it clear at the beginning what it expected. Not ghost them and hope they don't kill themselves like you do. You don't even have the guts to identify yourself when you post advice that is likely to get people killed.
 

Beau Holden

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Several years ago I took a group down to Cozumel. One of the guys had asked to lead the group since he knew I went down there often. I agreed and it ended up being a group of six not including me, as I ended up being the odd man out. On the 3rd or 4th day of diving we knew there was a front coming through and it could get rough. On the 2nd dive, I came up with 2 of them and it had got very rough. When the boat came over the first thing the 2 did was to pull their mask down and regs out of their mouth as the waves were breaking against the boat and completely covering our faces. The guy on the boat was trying his best to get the two out of the water, then one of them could not get a fin off. I dropped down and got the fin off as I was getting pounded. I pushed off the boat and drifted until they got on the boat about 5 or so minutes later. It was complete sh!t show.

Now why do I go such a long lead up? I don't care who I offend or piss off when it comes my life or anothers life or safety. I can be called rude, arrogant or an a-hole, I really don't care. When I got back on the boat they knew without a doubt, I was pissed and they could have cost their life and mine by not following something as simple as keeping your mask on and reg in mouth in these conditions. I did not make friends that day and yes they wanted to shun me for the rest of trip. But I promise, they will remember that day should it come up again.
 

johndiver999

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Several years ago I took a group down to Cozumel. One of the guys had asked to lead the group since he knew I went down there often. I agreed and it ended up being a group of six not including me, as I ended up being the odd man out. On the 3rd or 4th day of diving we knew there was a front coming through and it could get rough. On the 2nd dive, I came up with 2 of them and it had got very rough. When the boat came over the first thing the 2 did was to pull their mask down and regs out of their mouth as the waves were breaking against the boat and completely covering our faces. The guy on the boat was trying his best to get the two out of the water, then one of them could not get a fin off. I dropped down and got the fin off as I was getting pounded. I pushed off the boat and drifted until they got on the boat about 5 or so minutes later. It was complete sh!t show.

Now why do I go such a long lead up? I don't care who I offend or piss off when it comes my life or anothers life or safety. I can be called rude, arrogant or an a-hole, I really don't care. When I got back on the boat they knew without a doubt, I was pissed and they could have cost their life and mine by not following something as simple as keeping your mask on and reg in mouth in these conditions. I did not make friends that day and yes they wanted to shun me for the rest of trip. But I promise, they will remember that day should it come up again.
Sounds like a really terrible situation, glad you were there to save the day! I'm not so sure I would risk my life, removing someone's fin, like you did.
 

Beau Holden

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I'm not so sure I would risk my life, removing someone's fin, like you did.
At that point, the only way to save me was to get them out of the water and on the boat. I was really ok after I got from under the boat and away from stuck fin. I had an SMB and a big pink fin to see me by...lol.. and plenty of gas.
 

Scraps

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I don’t think it’s my place ever to reprimand an insta-buddy.

Many insta-buddy conflicts can be avoided with frank communication before the first dive.

I offer insta-buddies a chance to be a real buddy, and I spell out exactly what that means.

Most vacation divers welcome the clarity and structure. I’ve never had an insta-buddy agree to my pre-dive description of buddy roles and then fail to make a good faith effort to be a proper buddy.

And if they don’t want a real buddy, that’s okay, too. I simply adjust mutual expectations accordingly.

Communication works. No reprimands required in either circumstance.
 

boriss

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Looking for feedback on how others deal with insta buddies that go off plan during the dive. Example is a recent dive on Vandenberg in Key West. I was leading/navigating as I have significantly more time on this ship than my boat-supplied buddy. Her first day on it. Nice day, mild to no current, 30-40 ft vis.

Started on ball 2 and explored to stern at ball 4. Rule of 1/3’s and it’s time to head back to line. I signal, it is acknowledged, and we leave 4th ball to head to 2nd. At 3rd I look back and find I am alone. I’m at 1300 or so and the plan is be at the line at 1000. I do the usual deal and look up/down/all around ect, and once assured she wasn’t next to me, I check my watch, NDL, and air, and I reluctantly head back to 4.

On way back to 4 she appears through the haze, and beckons me to follow her further back. Against my preference, I do. 1200. I am experiencing a tiny bit of “gas anxiety” at this point. I have no idea what it might be but she seems excited. Arrive about right where I had given the “pair up and head back” signal, and she points out a moray. I could not care less. I am maybe 1000 now and two balls back. I flash the ok and repeat the pair up and return signal, and this time I put the screws to it just a tad as I am not comfortable with the deviation from plan, as I like to stick right to the numbers.

We are off plan, I’m watching my gas, I am at 85 fsw or so, and I am slightly annoyed. At the line at 750, out of the water 500, no harm no foul. The plan had cushion built in, and it was used, with cushion to spare for more shenanigans if something had gone sideways.

All I say is onboard something to the effect of “You scared the crap out of me when I turned around and there was nothing but empty water!” and leave it at that.

Next day some guys are plowing through fan coral and holding onto the reef. I give them the “lift up!” signal, and they stay higher.

So I will try to teach or “correct” people who are damaging a reef but I have little to zero motivation to try and teach an insta buddy. I believe I should have noticed more quickly that I was alone, and that a pre-dive conversation of positioning would have been useful, and I can lay the blame for that on myself. Further to that I’m nobody’s keeper and feel little responsibility to say or do anything that would appear to be reprimanding. Unless one were to turn off my tank or shoot me with a spear I’m basically going to do my best dive and zip it when others go off plan, unless it is going to hurt some other person besides them or me, or the reef.

My wife and I disagree on the etiquette for a cattle boat, and she feels I have a responsibility to that diver’s NEXT buddy to address and issues post-dive, and animatedly so if necessary. I say the next dive buddy is responsible for themselves, I am not. I zip it.

This is a 1000 shades of grey situation, with almost infinite variability, but how many of you internally shake your head and zip it, vs having a post-mortem with another diver, being frank about the reasons that we have a plan and stick to the plan?

TL;DR How often do you scold people, I guess is my question.

You've already gotten plenty of feedback and it seems you're pretty receptive to it, which is great. Here's one more :)

Since you're the planning type, include in your plans what'll happen if you separate from your buddy or if there's a major discrepancy in gas. From the sounds of it, this was a recreational NDL dive. You were essentially at deck level, meaning not too deep and near the mooring lines. You could always ascend on another line (or even launch a DSMB) and have the boat pick you up, meaning there's no reason to panic/have anxiety (which further increases the SAC rate). It's open water and you can go directly to the surface.

I can't judge, I wasn't there, but based on reading the thread and your own admissions, I don't see much warranting the post. In the future, I'd recommend an HP100 cylinder (or higher capacity), however, especially since you like to plan in 3rds for open water. Most local/vacation divers here don't plan that way for open water NDL boat dives, in my experience. DM usually says "I want you back on the boat with 500psi."
 

halocline

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Thirds for an OW dive is pretty conservative, I personally wouldn't do it unless there was some specific reason. And if an instabuddy told me he wanted to dive to thirds as a team on a nice relaxing OW dive, I'd probably say something like 'go ahead but don't expect me to follow suit'.

I appreciate the fact the OP was trying to do the right thing diving-wise in terms of teamwork, but the reality of that type of easy going warm water charter diving is that people will basically dive the way they dive regardless of a pre dive discussion. We're not talking about people trained in team diving in technical environments where the margins for error are much slimmer and the procedures much more codified.

Having dove with instabuddies all across the spectrum from terrible to amazing, I try to not take it that seriously, certainly I wouldn't get upset at someone in that setting unless they did something that directly threatened my safety. I try to be a good buddy and a nice person to others on the dive boat. If someone else isn't, I don't let it ruin my day.
 

FishWatcher747

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I appreciate the fact the OP was trying to do the right thing diving-wise in terms of teamwork, but the reality of that type of easy going warm water charter diving is that people will basically dive the way they dive regardless of a pre dive discussion. We're not talking about people trained in team diving in technical environments where the margins for error are much slimmer and the procedures much more codified.
I wouldn't call diving the Vandenberg in Key West easy going warm water charter diving. 3 different people died diving it in a 9 month period in 2020-2021. It is a deep recreational dive and the currents can be wicked. (I have never dove it).

I can see the OPs perspective. He is not a redundant diver and per his training his buddy is his redundancy. At a deep recreational point of the dive he has no buddy and no redundancy. That is nowhere I would like to do a CESA.

My recommendation to the OP is look into a solo diver course. It doesn't mean you have to dive solo but if the instabuddy disappears you have your own redundancy.
 

SlugLife

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Thirds for an OW dive is pretty conservative, I personally wouldn't do it unless there was some specific reason. And if an instabuddy told me he wanted to dive to thirds as a team on a nice relaxing OW dive, I'd probably say something like 'go ahead but don't expect me to follow suit'.
I mostly agree.

An underlying concept of "rule of thirds" is that you have 2x as much gas, as you would need to safely return to the surface. In a penetration-dive, that generally means 1/3 there, 1/3 back 1/3 reserve. For open-water, you might plan to start returning at the point you have enough air for two people to safely surface, plus a small buffer. For example 300 psi to surface per person, 250 psi buffer would suggest: 300 x 2people + 250 reserve = 850psi. Notice that's not much different from if you intended to end the dive with 500 psi remaining for one person (300psi + 500psi = 800psi). You could also think of a reserve or the 2x return gas, as being for yourself, if you encounter some kind of difficulty, such as an entanglement.

However, a much better option IMO, is to get a large enough pony-bottle (I usually suggest 19cu for recreational, or 13cu for travel) and treat that as your redundant emergency air-source.
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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Thirds for an OW dive is pretty conservative, I personally wouldn't do it unless there was some specific reason. And if an instabuddy told me he wanted to dive to thirds as a team on a nice relaxing OW dive, I'd probably say something like 'go ahead but don't expect me to follow suit'.
The reality is, people try to squeeze out as much dive time as they can. Most of us do. Unfortunately, people are not taught in open water about min gas / rock bottom gas / whatever you want to call it. We all know how simply ascend a little until the next min gas value is hit.
 
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