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What to do with an inexperienced instabuddy?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by absolute_mess, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    In SE Asia all the dives are guided. I have never experienced any rec dive in this part of the world without a dedicated dive guide. Like it or not you have no choice.
    I don't dive with complete stranger.
    I am a paying customer and baby sitting is definitely NO. It is NOT my responsibility.
    I made it clear to the guide in the pre-dive briefing so I usually team up with the guide. But I usually stay well clear of him/her.
    oly5050user likes this.
  2. lv2dive

    lv2dive Formerly known as KatePNAtl

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake City, FL
    You asked if there was anything we would have done differently. What I would have done differently, in your shoes, was probably word things just a bit differently when talking with her. I am not sure how the actual conversation went, obviously, but my sense from what you wrote below, is that you very much took a leadership role with this instabuddy and I wonder how she felt about it.

    I bolded several instances above where you "told" her something or instructed what to do. In these types of situations (which I have gotten to the point that I avoid most of the time to be honest!) rather than "telling" people things, I like to "ask" them *their thoughts* - for example: "My preference is to start the ascent at 1000 PSI since this is an 80 foot dive; what are your thoughts?" "I usually do this simple controlled ascent practice, and then I like to hang out at 15 feet for three minutes, what do you typically do?" "How do you want to communicate remaining gas, how often do you think we should check in with one another?" ETC.

    The fact that she complained of being underweighted then later admitted she had air in her BC makes me think she might have been a little defensive, and the lack of communication/grumpiness/ignoring you (see underlined items) makes me think that she had not bought into the dive plans.

    Clearly, she was a newer diver and struggling, and you were kind to be watching out for her... really, at the expense of your own dives. I wouldn't be surprised if she wasn't embarrassed about her challenges but that probably didn't make it any easier for her to be mentored. The question vs. telling approach is a way to get on the same page, without newer divers having to LOOK like newer divers if that makes sense. Just food for thought.

    tdtaylor, muteki, Cali_diver and 3 others like this.
  3. hroark2112

    hroark2112 Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    If I'm on a fun dive, and my buddy decides to not dive safely, I'm not going to risk my safety for him/her. Sounds terrible, I know...but I'm going to survive the dive with or without you, it's up to you to decide if you're going to survive with me.

    It sounds rude, but here in NC I regularly get stuck with buddies on dive boats who haven't got a clue how to be a decent buddy. I pay close attention to them, but I can't save them from themselves.
    Kharon likes this.
  4. Indydiver2

    Indydiver2 Registered

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Indiana
    Trying to be. As a new diver I have taked what is given to me.
  5. TSandM

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

    Man, I feel for both of you, having been in both roles.

    The first thing I would have done differently is that I would never have agreed to take a new diver on the dives you guys did. No WAY I'm going to 100 feet with a brand new diver about whom I know very little, except that she failed to hold a stop on our prior dive. If the structure didn't permit a shallower dive, I'd have requested a different buddy or sat out.

    I do a LOT of diving with new divers. What I try to do is set up a dive where, no matter WHAT happens, both of us will be okay. That means familiar. That means no current. That means shallow. And if at all possible, that means a third team member who is also experienced and whom I trust.

    When you have somebody as green as she was, you likely have someone who can't make good decisions about what kind of dive she is capable of doing. The first dive should have told you that a) she was challenged for bandwidth, as she wasn't checking her gas; b) she was challenged on buoyancy, as she couldn't hold a stop; and c) she was not particularly receptive to feedback. Dive 1 would have told me that Dive 2 needed to be a no-brainer.

    She made a lot of rookie mistakes. You can pretty much count on new divers doing things like that. I've had them lose buoyancy control and cork; I've had them swim off into the murk and require chasing. They NEVER respond to signals as you would expect an experienced buddy to do. But that was me -- I remember one of my first dives with a generous, patient, experienced buddy who watched me cork from 20 feet, TWICE. When you are the mentor, you have to be prepared to do at least a dive and a half, because you are doing your dive, and you are doing a good part of theirs, as well.
    DaleC, alewar, geogator and 9 others like this.
  6. Freewillow

    Freewillow Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Brussels
    Same opinion as TSANDM, first dive would have been enough for me. Common, an advanced PADI diver with 12 dives under her belt :(. This is a joke. How can somebody be "advanced" with that few dives. It is like beeing certified as a Divemaster with only 50 or 60 dives. :shocked2:. Give me a break :shakehead: I do not accept to be buddied with persons like that if on top, they are not capable to behave. As a paying guest, even if I am a Divemaster with over 600 dives , I am on vacation and I am diving with people that I trust and choose.

    People with that level of experience should be accompagnied by a paid Divemaster/instructor that accepts payed responsability.
    Kharon, Jim Lapenta and oly5050user like this.
  7. edwardjohnson

    edwardjohnson Registered

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Barcelona
    Great post and yes this is pretty common when you dive with instabuddies and as mentionned before it depends on who you´re stuck with... I gotta say though I don´t have much experience to give you a "right" answer, only opinions since I only dive with people I know and trust (pretty paranoid I know!)

    Pre-dive briefings should be longer than with your usual buddy to make sure you´re both on the same page and that you buddy knows exactly what he/she should do in any situation (a quick refresher) since some "newbies" quickly forget things they´re taught once given a OW certification. You should get to know the person a bit more before jumping in (you will be trusting each other with your lives after all)

    Start the dive with 5 mins revision of signals, checks and communication to make things easier later on (and try to keep it regular like air check every 10 or 15 mins) It´s not just to annoy others but also to see how much longer you can stay underwater. I remember my first dives with my buddy I was asking for an air check every 5 mins because I was keeping an eye on the depth and air to make sure everything was going fine (it annoyed him abit so I reduced the frequency after a while). You can also check once your air is 2/3 and 1/3 if you prefer. For my own safety, I always consider the other person I dive with to be forgetful and take matters to my own hand unless it´s an instructor.

    Safety stops shouldn´t be skipped if you see that she´s already reached the surface (your first dive). You should also make it clearer to your buddy that what she did was not ok for both of you and insists that she pays more attention (She probably wasn´t listening, again)

    My advice would be to take initiatives underwater and ask for how much air your buddy has left, and always assume that they are too busy sightseeing to keep an eye on you. Also you can go with more than one buddy, it would make things safer and more enjoyable. I still recommend diving with people you know!

    Good dives
  8. Foxfish

    Foxfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Perth, Australia
    Can you tell us a bit more about your dive profiles. Were they square profiles.ie. jump in, head to the maximum depth and surface when needed? What was your bottom time on the dives and surface interval?
  9. Kharon

    Kharon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    Why I dive solo!
  10. tomfcrist

    tomfcrist NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Virginia, USA
    I would have ditched her after dive #1. When I pay to go on a charter, I dont expect to have to take on an instructor role during my dives. Luckily for me, on the boats I usually go out with, I am pretty much allowed to to anything I want(within reason). Sometimes I dive solo if there is an odd number of divers on the boat, but I will NOT dive with a trainwreck. The operator has DMs on board for a reason, and that should be one of them. I would rather buddy with a pair of divers and deal with the hassle of a three man buddy team than babysit on MY pleasure dives.
    Kharon likes this.

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