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Thread: Dive Operations enforcing rules

 


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    Dive Operations enforcing rules

    OK, I asked this question in the A & I section & yes, it was a bit off topic. So I'll ask here. What are people's perceptions about dive operators & their enforcement of rules. Most operators state their rules for diving regarding air in cylinder at surfacing, buddies/ solo diving, depth, deco, interactions with wildlife,.... & such. Do most operators enforce the rules (ground the wayward diver from future dives or some such consequences) or do they tend to bend the rules, or let the infraction slide to keep their clients happy & keep the money flowing? What are your perceptions? Personally I've seen both sides some are very strict, some are very lax. I personally follow the rules set (their operations, their rules), no need to rock the boat. Just curious to see what people think about the rules set forth by operators.

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    One group in SoCal will sit you for the rest of the day if you surface with less than 500psi. One of our local boats will not allow dives of more than one hour. I made a 67 minute dive from it and was scolded by the Captain. I haven't gone back on that boat since.
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    The only time I can remember making a conscious effort to follow the Dive Ops rules was on the Truk Odyssey. The Captain made clear that the only rule was that everyone must come back to the boat alive, or they would be left behind.

    Otherwise I tend to treat them as guidelines.
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    Depends on the op. Too restrictive and I will go somewhere else. Too lax and I just don't look at the people trying to hook their tanks up backwards. . Seriously though it really is more on the individual diver. Those ops that allow butt heads to get away with breaking the rules should expect at some time to be sued because those same people are usually the ones to look for a payout for their own stupidity. One quarry has very strict rules about diving one part of it due to a few deaths over the years. NONE THE FAULT OF THE QUARRY, but people do not want to be responsible for themselves. My thought is if they are that stupid the gene pool is just getting some natural thinning. But the lawyers don't see it that way. I go by the rules of the op. IF I don't like them I don't use them. But I know what they are up front. It's called dive planning and finding out the ops policies is part of the plan. Those who fail to do that deserve to be disappointed.
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    In my experience, most divers follow the rules for the most part, so I haven't seen a whole lot of transgressions upon which to judge. In those cases, though, there has been a reminder that almost reaches the level of a slap on the wrist with a wet noodle, followed by a solemn promise not to do it again. I have seen exceptions to that, though.

    One example was on a dive at a very shallow site in Key largo. We were given a very clear time to be back on the boat. When we returned, the crew called the role, while we broke down our equipment. Two people were missing. Eventually (more than 20 minutes later) every diver on the boat had completely stowed all gear, and every eye was on the water's surface looking for signs of the missing divers while all the other boats left the area, headed for home in the approaching twilight. Eventually bubbles were spotted, the DM swam out and freedived down to them, and the couple returned to the boat. The skipper asked if they had understood the return time, and they said yes, but because they had neither watches nor computers with them, they had no idea that they had reached that time. They spoke as if that were a perfectly reasonable excuse. The skipper's response was that he would make sure they had watches for the next day's dives.

    I have seen rules enforced, though.

    On the other hand, when two divers were pulling on their gloves in Grand Cayman, the DM informed them that gloves were not permitted. They apparently thought she was joking and continued to pull them on. She made it very clear she was not joking and made them take them off.

    In Cayman Brac, a woman was the first to exit the water after a dive, followed by her husband. (She later told me that she had been the last to get in the water at the beginning of the dive as well.) The DM asked her for her computer. She didn't have one. He asked for her tables. She didn't have any. She said she shared her husband's computer. She was not allowed in the water again for 24 hours, and when she went back in she had a rented computer on her wrist.
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    The most strict I have seen was when I dove in the Galapagos. Most of the rules were sanctioned by the Ecuadorian government. We were required to stay with the guides, unless low on air & must surface with our buddies. We were not allowed to touch any of the animals (especially the whale sharks). If caught that was the end of the diving for the trip. I have also been on a live aboard that required to see your ending pressure on your cylinders when you exited the water. Then I have seen operators that would allow you to do just about anything that you wanted to do, as long as their equipment came back at the end of the day. Their dive masters would even lead OW divers 200 ft back into a very silty sea cave. While I agree, divers should be reliant on themselves (Yes, I'm a closet solo diver at times) & should not blindly follow a dive leader into unknown or dangerous situations, I've seen at times where the rules seemed a bit over the top.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Lapenta View Post
    Depends on the op. Too restrictive and I will go somewhere else. Too lax and I just don't look at the people trying to hook their tanks up backwards. . Seriously though it really is more on the individual diver. Those ops that allow butt heads to get away with breaking the rules should expect at some time to be sued because those same people are usually the ones to look for a payout for their own stupidity. One quarry has very strict rules about diving one part of it due to a few deaths over the years. NONE THE FAULT OF THE QUARRY, but people do not want to be responsible for themselves. My thought is if they are that stupid the gene pool is just getting some natural thinning. But the lawyers don't see it that way. I go by the rules of the op. IF I don't like them I don't use them. But I know what they are up front. It's called dive planning and finding out the ops policies is part of the plan. Those who fail to do that deserve to be disappointed.
    Yeah, good points. Almost all my boat dives have been in Canada & U.S. I think one or 2 places required the return with 500 psi rule. Other than that, things seemed to always go pretty smoothly with a minimum of (reasonable) rules mentioned. One time during my week in Panama a guy didn't "follow the leader" and zig zagged all over causing my buddy and I to become "detached" the group. The DM had to go find him. Don't know if he was admonished by the DM or Captain, but he wasn't the "Mr. Popular" on the way back that he was on the way out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TMHeimer View Post
    Yeah, good points. Almost all my boat dives have been in Canada & U.S. I think one or 2 places required the return with 500 psi rule. Other than that, things seemed to always go pretty smoothly with a minimum of (reasonable) rules mentioned. One time during my week in Panama a guy didn't "follow the leader" and zig zagged all over causing my buddy and I to become "detached" the group. The DM had to go find him. Don't know if he was admonished by the DM or Captain, but he wasn't the "Mr. Popular" on the way back that he was on the way out.
    Then there are the "special" rules for just a few of us. A buddy of mine and myself were diving in the keys with a well known dive op (who is a member here) and followed the "be back with 500 psi rule", in fact we came back with 750 psi. On the next dive the captain gave a different briefing...be back on the boat with 500 psi...... except you 2 (pointing at us)....you be back in an hour !! Seems an hour and 15 minutes and back on with 750 was not OK.

    And in case anyone is wondering, it was all in good fun and taken that way. We were back in 62 minutes if I remember correctly. I have no problems with boat rules if they are reasonable and used with some common since.. If the rule is back on the boat at 500 and I climb back on with 495 it will not go well to try to stop my diving.
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    I remember I caught all kinds of hell for not.. after entering the water...

    spinning around, facing the dive boat and giving the big dramatic hand over head OK sign.

    The capt. started busting my balls about it the second I got on the boat. I told him "I thought the perfectly executed duck dive was a good enough signal that I wasn't drowning" he kinda shook his head (I think he chuckled a little).
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    There is also the other side of the equation, allowing a dive when common sense dictates otherwise. I have been on liveaboards in eight to ten foot seas, with the ladder going horizontal in the troughs at night and the captain allowed the dive. While the two divers were down a squall blew in and they almost got seriously injured re-boarding the boat. The captain said he would never do that again. Just had another case on a liveaboard in rough seas were the buddy jumped on top of her buddy and smacked her pretty good. Had to return to port and so on. The Captain again was stupid, seas washing the normal dive deck so he allows a giant stride from the second deck. What about the loss of dives to the other paying customers during the back and forth transit. Divers were probably quite capable of the dive but mother nature is a brutal bitch and should not be toyed with, the ocean will be there tomorrow.

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