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Working Together To Make SCUBA Safer

Discussion in 'Dive Right in Scuba' started by Dive Right In Scuba 2, Nov 12, 2016.

  1. Dive Right In Scuba 2

    Dive Right In Scuba 2 ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Illinois
    The most recent diver fatality in Florida had friends and family calling and emailing me asking my opinion on what I thought happened. While they thought that they would get an earful from me, I’m sure it was disappointing when I replied with a simple “I don’t know” followed up with a “I don’t care to speculate”. Of course, I’m not sure why they’re surprised at my response, since it’s been the same ever since I too up diving almost a decade ago.

    Whenever a tragedy like this strikes, everyone within earshot wants to form an opinion long before the facts come out. Why? Well, in our new media world, we have become accustomed to instant information and answers. We want to figure things out and move on down our news feed. It’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, it’s just how it is nowadays. What’s the bad thing is how the media tends to feed into this. Yes, they survive on ratings and ad revenue which drives their need to provide the most compelling version of events the quickest. Often eschewing accuracy for speed, but for us as divers to truly learn from tragedy and ultimately make our sport safer, we need to sit back, not speculate, and allow the accident analysis to be done properly.

    For the most part, those of us who are avid divers are an analytical bunch. I mean, we have to be, in our sport we deal with a number of variables at any given time in our dive planning, actual dive, and even afterwards over cold beverages and hot wings! That being said, after an accident it’s in our nature to try to pick apart what went wrong, even before we have all of the facts! It is in this last statement where the problems arise, we don’t know exactly what happened, so we’re basically trying to put a puzzle together with only half of the pieces while drawing our own pictures to fill in the gaps of the missing puzzle pieces! In doing that, we end up with a distorted image of what happened. So, how can we properly learn from dive accidents and all become better divers?

    Well, first off, when an accident happens, no matter how much temptation there is, stay away from forming an opinion before the proper investigation is completed by the authorities. Yes, this is a feat that rivals quitting smoking for some, but it needs to be done! Secondly, respect the victim’s family, friends, and your fellow divers. We’re all a community and have suffered a loss. Let’s be cognizant of that. Finally, once all of the facts come out, let’s all have a civil discussion of what happened and how we can refine our training, equipment, and experience to ensure that it doesn’t happen again(or at the very least reduce the odds or a recurrence).

    Dive accidents, while horrible, tragic, and sad, are all learning opportunities for us as divers. We just need to approach them properly, allow sufficient time for investigation, and respect each other in civil discussions while we analyze them and take steps to make our sport safer overall!
    lowviz likes this.
  2. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    Okay, an analytic response to your post, with the 'spirited' controversy/debate over the same issues in the recent thread on a couple of rebreather diver deaths at Eagle's Nest in mind...

    This would be an easier pill to swallow given definite, reliable answers to these questions:

    ----1.) How often does that actually happen? Plus you've got to consider in context of what part of the world it happened.

    -----2.) How often are the full results (not some vague, useless summarization) then published publicly?

    -----3.) In what time frame, where & by what agency will this happen, and how will we be notified?

    How often do we ever get 'all the facts?' Even all the facts known to the authorities?

    There are 2 perceived agendas in these discussions that often get mixed up.

    1.) To discuss what fragmented info. was reported, use that to speculate reasonable possible scenarios, and discuss what can be learned from that, accepting that we're working with hypothetical theories that may not reflect what actually went down. This can still help inform the living, and satisfies the need of some for the stimulation of exploring the issue.

    2.) To act like some sort of 'Cyber CSI' and somehow connect the dots and establish what really happened, to include at times assigning blame for tragic outcomes (or demand authorities do so very quickly after the event). I don't think this is the conscious intent of any poster I've noticed, although it seems to sometimes be perceived that way by some of their critics.

    How commonly do all the facts come out? In what time frame? Honest question; I don't know.

  3. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
    The mindset of wanting to dive in a medium that does not support human life is rather different from sitting on the couch and watching sports. It is often hard for non-divers who have suffered a grievous loss to "get that".
  4. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    I was pretty happy that we actually got more info than we usually do. It's my opinion that information is often repressed for a number of reasons.
    • They feel we don't need the facts; only training. There are instructors out there who feel that there's no need for us to dissect what's wrong. I know two that are on the NSS-CDS board who feel that way.
    • It's not their job to give us the facts.
    • Good ol' boys club. It can be embarrassing for an instructor to have a student die in one of these accidents. It shouldn't be. The more we understand what happened, the less likely we're going to blame anyone but the divers involved.
    • It's not good for the industry. In this case, the accident was covered not only by local and state, but appeared on Good Morning America. The less we know about what happened the less able we are to answer critics. There's a push to close off Eagles Nest by an ignoramus and keeping us ignorant means he has a better chance at succeeding in his endavor.
    Here's an interesting anecdote. This past spring we had a CCR student death in Blue Grotto. I was given an eye witness account of what actually happened by an unimpeachable source and was asked to publish it without exposing the informant. I was attacked for letting the information out unvarnished. It wasn't my veracity as everything I posted was true. I was threatened by the agency because it put them and their instructor in a bad light. It's my opinion that they didn't want us to come to the logical conclusion about what caused this accident due to potential liability. They were so upset that they threatened to sue me. Of course, my response is to post such threats in the thread.

    As a caveat, I'm often given nougats of information that I can't share. I always respect those confidences and won't violate that just to get information out. I do ask if I can share information and like the incident at Blue Grotto, I am sometimes asked to disseminate the information.

    So while I understand and respect Aaron's desire for us to get all the facts first, I'm afraid it doesn't happen nearly often enough at this point for most of use to be satisfied with that. We don't want to die like they did, so we're going to speculate and try to glean whatever we can whether the powers that be like it or not.
    lowviz and Bubblesong like this.

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