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Scary bad Advanced diver.

Discussion in 'Going Pro' started by Frosty, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    Recently I have been too busy to work on the 2 books I have in progress. What I have been doing is updating older articles to reflect new developments and experiences as well as produce learning agreement examples for other instructors and shops. On top of writing and editing for SDI/TDI.
    So what does this have to do with this thread? Quite simply a new article, and possibly a written checklist to use when conducting one of these refreshers is starting to take shape in my mind. One that would actually be filled out and given to the diver and a copy kept by the instructor to document the level of skill the diver has shown and any concerns the instructor may have.
    I have a couple agency produced checklists for refreshers where you check off a skill as it is done. But there is no place for comments or notes that indicate the level of comfort or skill with which the diver completed them. You certainly can't hand over the slate to them at the end. You'd spend a fortune in slates.
    It seems as well that putting the comments in writing and giving them to the student would be highly beneficial for them to review in the future. Depending on the level of the refresher there may be so much information circling around in their head that they promptly forget the verbal counseling or simply not hear it at the time. Being able to go back and see that "Jim told me I needed to work on x and that XX was a good way to practice doing that" could make a huge difference in how they approach the skill.
    It could also cover your butt in the event that should they go on a dive and something bad happen. If it was due to a lack of knowledge or skill that you were supposed to have covered and said they "mastered" (dumb word) because it was checked off as having done it could pose a problem. However if it was indicated in writing that they did do the skill but they had some difficulty and were counseled to practice this more before attempting x dive, and you both had a signed copy of that evaluation, it might be a help. Going to have to call my insurance company and see if this is a viable option.
    When I teach a tech class I keep a daily log of everything we did with comments about each student. We are already required to do that with most student folders as they progress through say the OW class. But beyond that it really is left up to the instructor as how to document further classes as to specific skills.
    Might not be a bad idea to use this new list for every class. Gonna have to ponder that.

    Just some thoughts. If I do it and get something together I'll put it in the files section of my facebook group. Log into Facebook | Facebook
    Scuba Christine likes this.
  2. laikabear

    laikabear Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pasadena, CA
    I don't know if 200 dives is correct, but if the person isn't logging dives, they could easily assume 50 = 200 over a couple of years.

    It doesn't surprise me that someone who has in the past completed a PADI AOW could get to the point where they don't know how to set up their own gear or remember how or why to do a weight check. They may have never worn a weight belt if they have a weight-integrated BCD, and they may never have done a shore dive.

    They may only do vacation dives once or twice a year, or dive in conditions where someone sets up their gear, and then a DM leads the whole dive, watching everyone's air for them. Perhaps the DM estimates everyone's weight requirements and chooses that, too.

    I've only been diving since October and on Day 1 in the pool was when I got a reality check that this is a lot more complicated than I thought it was going to be. I am determined to become a good diver and I'm taking steps to do so, but I could have just as easily done my vacation dives in November and then not gotten in the water til a tropical vacation next summer. I probably would not have remembered much from my classes if I never practiced anything. While those people are not as likely to be on Scuba Board, I am sure that a lot of divers fit that exact profile.

    I recently sold my BCD because I went to a BP&W, to a nice lady who is a tropical vacation diver. She has been diving for several years and has many more dives than I do, but never sets up her own gear. She thought I had a lot of diving experience and knew a lot (LOL!). It's just that I dive locally and manage my own gear. I had to walk her through the BCD features and put it on and adjust it for her. Of course, I did that with kindness and tried to be as helpful as I could.

    The bottom line is, what is your relationship to this person and why did they do a checkout dive? If they are wanting to do more advanced diving and to learn to manage themself rather than be babysat, good for them! I would explain politely but frankly that they need either to repeat the OW class, or to schedule some private 1:1 training. How about going through the exercises in the OW Diver book again on their own, and then scheduling some practice time for skills?

    If on the other hand the person is not amenable to learning and just wanted to be told they are ready for more advanced diving, then that is problematic. Hopefully they came to you because they want to learn more. As a beginner I am still well in the "ignorant" phase but I am actively trying to learn more. I would hope that someone I came to for help would be honest with me and either try to help educate me, or refer me where I could educate myself.

    I had a recent interaction with someone who did not do that at all, who told me I am a waste of time and the dumbest person they have ever sold gear to. It was very disheartening. I don't think I am dumb at all. I'm just a beginner. I doubt any of us came out of the womb being a scuba expert. We should be welcoming people like your diver if they are trying to improve and get more out of our wonderful hobby, right? Anyway this post kind of hit home for me because I'm still upset about how I was treated recently. I hope you can help this person improve.

    FWIW I have 23 dives, mostly in SoCal, and I have finished the PADI AOW.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
    StefinSB likes this.
  3. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    I'm so sorry that a dive shop employee was that rude to you. Don't take it to heart. This totally reflects on the employee and not you! Wow.

    The rest of your post is good input.
  4. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    laikabear, All good stuff. But I can certainly see how someone who did PADI AOW could forget everything. By not diving regularly, diving once a year on vacation, or taking 10 years off from diving. In all of those cases that would be me. After 10 years of regular diving it would take an awful long time though. The part that gets me is the 200 dives he supposedly did.
  5. drl

    drl Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Chicago suburbs
    Sounds like instead of 200 dives, he did 1 dive 200 times. :D
  6. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    That's still 200 total dives. You'd HAVE to have picked up some of this stuff.
  7. Frosty

    Frosty Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Auckland NZ
    TMheimer---Youda thunk !!!
    TMHeimer likes this.
  8. WarrenZ

    WarrenZ The Ultimate Bad Example ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Las Cruces NM
    If I was on a dive boat and was a total spaz such as described I would hope that someone would be honest with me and tell me either what I needed to improve or recommend the proper training to me.
    Mia Toose likes this.
  9. OrangeCountyScuba

    OrangeCountyScuba Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Orange County
    As a diver, irrelevant that I am an instructor, whenever any of your "spidey senses" go off listen to them. There is a reason that we all were taught to be self sufficient, to a certain degree, and be aware of what is going on with anyone in your group. If you think that the person is blowing smoke up your a** and do not demonstrate proficient skills for a particular dive or trip then it is your responsibility to say NO! Whether or not they heed your warning is another matter, but at least you can remove yourself from being potentially being drawn into a lawsuit after that diver dies.

    Ok my personal experience with this. Right after High School (2007,2008) for two consecutive summers I worked on Catalina Island as a dive master and instructor. It was almost a daily occurrence that I would be approached by tourists to the island about wanting to dive either off the dive boat or dive park. As a side note, IMO Catalina is the EASIEST "Cold Water" diving out there, whether boat or dive park. However, the first question I learned to ask was, have you ever been in cold water? While this question is relative to the person let me elaborate, has that person worn a 7mm suit, boots, gloves, and a hood? If they have not, generally speaking they will not be prepared to dive in cold water or at least they will have generally more anxiety because of the intensive use of exposure protection in comparison to tropical diving. As a follow up question, I ask where they were certified, how long their class was, have they done any dives on their own after their open water class? From this you can typically deduce what experience they have and possibly whether or not they will be mentally fit for a "cold water" dive.

    To the OP, it is not that uncommon especially in destination diving to have people that are "certified" to not know how to set up gear and so on. It is shameful that many instructors in tropical destinations, who only deal with students that want a scuba "crash course" cause its a bucket list thing for them, not something to take seriously. It is not necessarily the fault of the instructor in this situation, but that of the industry who sets these very low standards. The instructor who probably wants to train the students better, is being pressured by the shop who wants to make the money to do it quickly and pressured by the clients that want to have the quick course. This is where the problem lies, if the instructor was to stand on principle in this situation he will lose the business, most likely, since those perspective students will just walk to the next shop that will do the certification in the time frame they want and the instructor will be be out of a job because now he is turning business away from the shop. It is a very simple solution to a very complex problem, the agencies want to make money that is a given, however the educators need to get together and demand that every agency require a higher level of competency and skill set by the OW students. There needs to be a standard set for ALL agencies in regards to time in classroom, time in pool, and time in open water. If we could accomplish this, I am well aware a lofty goal, then we would be able to get rid of this issue of incompetent divers who think they know what they are doing, so a confident moron, recipe for disaster! I completely understand that if someone was living in Hawaii and learned to dive there wanted to come to the West Coast and do some diving but were educated that it is a different style of diving and requires a slightly different skill set, we would obviously take the time to show them the difference but that generally is not going to be….here is your gear see you in an hour!

    Ok I will get off my soapbox. I am not trying to offend anyone with this, just personal experience and personal issues with the agencies as a whole. The OP or any of us would like to try and get away from ill prepared students whom think that because their card says Advanced on it, they can do and go wherever they want.
  10. DustyC

    DustyC Barracuda

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: 'Murica
    Nine, not 10, but your point is clear.

    Deep and Navigation DO mean something, and they are both required.
    PPB is the most common first-dive for AOW, and can be taught (within standards) to be VERY meaningful and helpful.
    Fish ID and U/W Nat'l can be VERY good classes, but my guess is you have not had them and could not teach them.
    I think your point is that an AOW card might not mean much.....but it usually means more than you give it credit for, and it could mean a lot.[/QUOTE]I've seen shops do AOW without deep.

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