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I'm a pretty new diver. Last month, after several shore dives in Monterey, I took my first warm water, boat diving trip. Everything went great for me; I had a fantastic time. On the last day we were joined by two guys who obviously were great pals and highly experienced divers. The dive shop set up our gear; we just got into our BC's and rolled backwards off the side of the boat. After the last dive, I learned that they had sent one of the pals over the side without turning on his air. He joked about it ("That was a tip buster!") but there was a little edge to his jokes. I'm sure he and his buddy (and the DM) had enough experience to solve the problem quickly, but I imagine that could be a serious issue with someone inexperienced and/or prone to panic. So how would that rate on a scale of one (no big deal, this sort of thing happens all the time in scuba) to ten (shocking negligence, dive shop shoud be reported)?
Most would say that ultimately it's the job of every certified diver to be responsible for checking that their gas supply is operational/sufficient, remember, for most of us, mommy stopped tying our shoe laces a LONG time ago too!
It is ALWAYS the responsibility of the diver to personally verify that their equipment is set up and ready to go when they go into the water. I would never ever expect a dive boat to turn on my air nor would I trust that to ever happen. Always always do a pre-dive buddy check. It only takes a few seconds to go over whats needed.
luckily, if you show up on the boat looking like you have a clue and have a 'tech' look about your gear/configuration, the boat crew will happily give you the leeway to do your own thing and stay away from your gear, so they can focus on those divers that really do need the handholding, so I'm happy and the DM's are happy too!
It isn't good that the person who set the gear up didn't turn his gas on. But it's REALLY bad that he didn't notice. I'll bet nobody on the boat did a buddy check, did they? It's commonly omitted, but the reason you were taught to do them is that properly done, they will pick up these issues.
People sometimes ask why you should be able to reach your own single tank valve -- this is why.
Come with me and Peter to the Philippines this fall!
A journal of my open water class (from 2005) can be read here.
Okay, you've heard all our opinions. Want to know what the science is? http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/
Lake Washington diving: "And I ask myself, 'Why am I here, and is that another 25 cents I just exhaled?"
This is why I always set up and check my own gear. Even when on a boat where the general policy is for them to switch tanks, I switch my own. In fact, when doing buddy checks, I will go as far as telling the person I am checking that I am not going to touch their valve on their tank and will ask if they are sure they turned it on (and to check it). My reasoning is this...I've heard enough stories about people checking a valve and, thinking they are turning it on are really turning it off. I don't want anyone touching my valve after I've turned it on. And I always double check my valve and ask my buddy if they've checked theirs. At least by making each other aware of this, we won't forget.