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Thread: Catalina Diver died today w/ Instructor

 


  1. #301
    The Lorax for the Kelp Forest


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    Although my original certification allowed me to dive to the recreational limit of 130' (obviously it was not PADI or another of the standard agencies, most of which did not exist back then), I rarely exceeded 60 ft for decades and I don't believe I ever exceeded 100 ft for almost 40 years. Most of what I wanted to see was in the upper water column anyway.
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  2. #302
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    Quote Originally Posted by openmindOW View Post
    I make no assertion about the Catalina case.

    Drbill, I see your point. However, I would not say that an Instructor does not have a duty to take physical risk for students under his supervision.

    I'm an Instructor and I feel I have a duty. That duty might possibly put me at risk. I accept that responsibility.

    It's hard to discuss in generalities, of course.
    I agree that instructors may assume some risk while doing their training. I do not feel any dive profession has a responsibility to take a risk that might be life threatening to themselves. In the specific case of the Catalina incident, this would have been a possibility... perhaps a high probability.

    When I was doing my repetitive dives in the 160-200 ft range, I informed the crew they were not to go down after me if something should go wrong and told my family that the crew and operator were not responsible should something happen to me.
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  3. #303
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    I appreciate all the insight that this dialogue has brought out; however, I have to point out that the idea that it's okay to go deeper than 60' after an AOW certification is okay, but not before, is asinine. This summer I went from having just an OW cert to getting my Master Diver cert and more. I am absolutely no more prepared now for a deep water dive than I was with just my OW. This arbitrary "requirement" is silly really.
    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence" -Mr. Einstein

  4. #304
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjjman View Post
    I appreciate all the insight that this dialogue has brought out; however, I have to point out that the idea that it's okay to go deeper than 60' after an AOW certification is okay, but not before, is asinine. This summer I went from having just an OW cert to getting my Master Diver cert and more. I am absolutely no more prepared now for a deep water dive than I was with just my OW. This arbitrary "requirement" is silly really.
    The "requirement" is strictly for during training. Outside of class, there is no scuba police... going beyond your training is not always smart, but it's not always suicide, either.

    During class, however ... which is the case with the accident in question... there is a 60' limit for OW and a 100' limit for AOW. Period.

  5. #305
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leejnd View Post
    ::::Sigh:::: Are we really back to this?

    So many of us have tried to speak to Thalassamania's insistence that if ANYTHING (barring an act of God, e.g. meteorite) goes wrong on a dive with an instructor , then it's the instructor's fault...somehow, some way.

    It's an indefensible position...but he will defend it to the end.

    I say, give it up. He will continue to hold his "blame the instructor for everything" mentality, regardless of how illogical it is...regardless of how many people, including instructors, come in here to explain to him the lack of logic behind it. Some people simply can't be swayed. It's kinda like religion. Some people's beliefs are simply unshakable, despite the total lack of logic or reality behind them.
    A voice of reason and sanity. Thank you so much for this post.
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  6. #306
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    You may see it as the "voice of reason and sanity" because it is lockstep with your personal agenda, but as I pointed out, your "voice of reason and sanity" is a gross misrepresentation of my position, not to mention a gross misunderstanding of the base issue(s).
    I refuse to believe that corporations are people until Texas executes one.

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  7. #307
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    I have held off a few days replying on this thread to see how things would play out. I still feel there are posts that need answering, so here goes...

    Quote Originally Posted by bowlofpetunias View Post
    I absolutely agree with Dr Bill here. An instructor can only be expected to do so much.

    Yes the instructor assumes a duty of care HOWEVER the instructor has a greater duty of care to their family! Your family has a right to expect that you will put their emotional, physical and financial needs ahead of the random student who winds up in your class.

    You have no control over the issues that student brings as a result of their life experiences and choices. You have a responsibility to do your job to the highest legal and moral standard possible short of sacrificing your life and health. Just my .02
    Am I reading it correctly that you would place your family's financial comfort above the life of a student? Really? I hope anyone with that mindset finds a different way to make a living.

    A couple others have chimed in on both sides of the topic of an instructor's responsibility to assume risk. From my perspective, the instructor is responsible for providing 100% of the preparatory training an OW student requires. The instructor also makes the decisions about when and if a student is ready to enter the water, and when they are ready to advance to more difficult/risky skills and environments. The instructor makes those decisions for students who aren't ready to do it for themselves.

    You have to believe that the student doesn't know the risks or how to manage them when they step through the classroom door. Anecdotal evidence tells us the student might believe the instructor is a "Dive God" who will keep them safe wherever they go. The student trusts that the instructor isn't going to put them in a situation that might cause them harm. If the instructor hasn't anticipated this and acted accordingly, who is responsible? Heck, reading posts here about the number of certified divers who will follow a DM into a situation beyond their skill level suggests that an instructor is remiss for assuming that a diver coming for an advanced class is prepared for it. If you're teaching an advanced class to a student whom you haven't previously taught or dived with, you had better not assume too much about their skills or knowledge. You can say that a diver showing up for AOW ought to have a mastery of everything related to the OW course, but that's just a cop-out. We all know that there are enough divers out there who don't have that mastery to make it a foreseeable issue. Assuming they do is a risk for their safety and yours, or at least your financial well-being.

    With all that said, if you place someone in a situation where they are at risk, you absolutely have the moral obligation to assume that risk to get them out of it. What the criminal or civil law has to say about it, I couldn't tell you. I'd hope and expect the civil law to line up with moral responsibility and criminal law to be a bit more lax than that. Even then, the last thing I want from an instructor is for them to be thinking about legal issues when deciding how far to go toward saving a student in trouble. If you want to worry about your family's well-being, express that by ensuring that your students are ready to advance before allowing them to do so, and by keeping your students out of risky situations that they might not be able to handle.

    Is the instructor in this circumstance responsible for this diver's death at any level? I neither know, nor do I want to go there. This is just a response to the generalizations that have been posted here.


    As a side note, I would wager that there are quite a few divers who went below 60' as new divers with only OW certification. There are plenty who did "follow me" dives because there was a dive pro leading the way. I would also wager that quite a few of them would admit that it was a risky thing to do after more experience in the water and reading a few threads around here. Is 65' more dangerous than 55'? probably not to any significant degree. Is 100' more dangerous than 30'? Yeah, there's a lot more risk down there. Where does one draw the line? Better off to make it on the conservative side, and I couldn't argue with 60' as a reasonable number. If you don't like 60', where would you draw the line?

  8. #308
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thalassamania View Post
    You may see it as the "voice of reason and sanity" because it is lockstep with your personal agenda, but as I pointed out, your "voice of reason and sanity" is a gross misrepresentation of my position, not to mention a gross misunderstanding of the base issue(s).
    Sir: with all due respect (and I do mean that sincerely as you do have far more experience with teaching and diving than I do) I'm not sure that I have a personal "agenda" other than my position, based on my personal teaching experience, that situations can arise that are beyond one's ability to control and that being unable to control some situations (as in my previously described gorilla student's ascent to the surface in the pool) does not necessarily indicate a failure on the part of the instructor. My student had demonstrated a skill successfully a number of times with no indications of nervousness or hesitation. To suggest without having seen the student that there were signs I missed that he had not really mastered the skill is simply prima facie not reasonable. I thanked LeAnne because my understanding (which may be flawed) of your stated position is that the instructor (in this case me!) must have missed something and did not prepare the student adequately. I do not believe that to be the case. I am one who is willing to admit errors when I make them in hopes of learning not making the same error twice. I do not believe I made an error in this case.
    Last edited by stedel; December 8th, 2009 at 12:07 AM. Reason: grammar
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  9. #309
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    bsee65 ... that's not what I got from Petunia's post, the last part of her post stating that as an instructor ...
    " You have a responsibility to do your job to the highest legal and moral standard possible short of sacrificing your life and health."
    I think this is a reasonable statement.

  10. #310
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    Quote Originally Posted by D_B View Post
    bsee65 ... that's not what I got from Petunia's post, the last part of her post stating that as an instructor ...
    " You have a responsibility to do your job to the highest legal and moral standard possible short of sacrificing your life and health."
    I think this is a reasonable statement.
    I agree. IMHO an instructor does NOT have a moral obligation to place their own life in risk if they face a situation with a student that might seriously jeopardize them. I think they should take every reasonable precaution (as I feel was the case in this specific incident), but they are NOT obligated to commit suicide.
    Dr. Bill: I once had a 6-pack but now I have a full keg... well, maybe just a pony!
    Dr. Bill: Not THAT kind of doctor... but I'll take a look at it anyway!

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