In Coz: You, Your Buddy, Your Group and Your DM. Who should do what?
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In Coz: You, Your Buddy, Your Group and Your DM. Who should do what?
In response to a good suggestion, (you know who you are) I am starting this thread to continue or at least create a place for the discussion of who does what in the warm waters of Cozumel.
1. I think a diver should look to be able to take care of themselves.
2. I think my buddy should be close, but I admit we aren't as good about that as we should be.
3. I think the group should be keeping and eye on each other. I have hung back to wait on a photog just to keep an eye on them when they are alone. I have helped keep an eye on newish divers when another diver has taken up all the DM's attention. You know the routine. Haven't been in the water in a year or two, convinced it isn't enough weight, floundering trying to get down. Just gotta smooth the edges.
4. I think my DM watches new and rusty divers closley until it is CLEAR they are relatively skilled. I think my DM should keep some degree of eye on everyone and keep us all safe. In Cozumel diving the DM is really the expert, right?
So here is a nice spot to move all those post on the Diver Lost thread. I think the conversation is valuable for new divers to Cozumel. Plus it will let the other thread rest.
I agree, Brules. My thoughts are the DM should take the divers up and get them in touch with the boat before returning to the group, whether it is one or a pair. The part between group and boat seems to me to be the highest danger area.
I have a million scattered thoughts on this topic.
I think everyone will agree that a skilled DM is a different person on different dives with different divers. I was once in a group of highly skilled photographers with a DM who had already been with them before. This DM was almost invisible during the dive. He essentially stayed near the group as it went about its photographic business; he was just there to fulfill a legal requirement--that is how he acted, and that is how everyone liked it. I will bet that if he were with a group of new divers at the same place with the same conditions the next day, we would have seen a totally different man, someone watching people continually, checking their PSI, watching for people straying too far, etc. It is hard to define the DM role, because it can change from one day to the next.
On another dive I was on, the DM blew an O-ring on the first stage very early in the dive. He took off the BCD, shut down his air as I handed him my alternate, and made the repair on the spot. When he then saw that he had lost too much air to continue the dive safely, he had to make a decision. He decided (rightly, IMO) that everyone on this dive had enough experience to be safe, and the current was light enough, so he went solo to the boat for a new tank while we looked at the nearby coral awaiting his return. What would he have done with a less experienced group? I suspect he would have had to take everyone to the surface while he got his new tank.
So what about the issue of divers having to ascent very early in the dive? I don't know what a normal procedure would be. My first thought is that I would shoot a bag from depth for their ascent. I would leave it up until they are on the boat. At that point the boat would deflate the bag and send it back down to me as a signal that everything was OK. (That's just my first thought, though.)
The divers have a responsibility to participate in the dive in a responsible manner as well. I was once in a group of highly experienced divers, and the one assigned to be my buddy chafed at the idea of having to follow the DM. He was always darting off, making my job as a buddy a real challenge, which was evidently not a concern of his. We were heading toward a feature at a site we all had wanted to see, and as the DM worked his way there, my buddy once again darted off from the rear of the pack to look at something. Caught in the middle, I pointed to where my buddy had gone when the DM looked back to see why I wasn't following. I could see the look of exasperation on the face of the DM from that distance. Seeing that my buddy would never be able to fight the current and get back to the group, he took the group to my buddy, which meant that we all missed the feature we had planned to see.
Very very true. With the common two tank morning dive profile of deep dive first to 80 feet or more followed by 2nd dive to 60 ft or so, it's a profile that puts a newbie right into the thick of it on their first dive.
Dive ops with a policy of keeping newbie divers on afternoon dives which are usually very tame, would be a great step in the way of safety. We all know however the half dozen reasons why this probably won't be happening anytime soon.
It's been really busy here and I have been way too busy to get on the board lately - so I haven't had a chance to read all of this thread - but wanted to say this in response to some over general statements of how "Cozumel Ops" do things - we are not all the same and we do not all have the same policies!
This is exactly why I have a very strict policy that I do not deviate from - and that is requiring a private DM without exception for newly certified divers with less than 15 dives in the past year and we reserve the right to require a private DM in various other circumstances as well - I've only had a few arrogant "buddies" object - but I am happy to say this is one policy/call I've never been wrong on - even with those who may initially object to it.
This is exactly why I have a very strict policy that I do not deviate from - and that is requiring a private DM without exception for newly certified divers with less than 15 dives in the past year.......(text deleted)
I have no problem with dive masters sending buddy teams to the surface together if they have a SMB on a reel. The exception would be diving barracuda, a night dive, or if conditions are less then ideal. Other than that, a buddy team should be fully capable of surviving a safety stop and a dive boat's captain should have no problem seeing one of their divers SMBs. This is about as dumbed down as I'd like to see this get to, and I'd rather see the divemaster stay with the group.
I like that policy, but could see divers who would be affected by it and don't agree with it just moving on to the next dive op where they can save the money on the private DM. Perhaps such a policy should be island-wide, but could it be enforced? Also, 15 30' dives in a quarry in the past year still doesn't prepare one for downcurrents deep on a bottomless wall.
Also, 15 30' dives in a quarry in the past year still doesn't prepare one for downcurrents deep on a bottomless wall.
To be honest I don't think that there are any dives anywhere that will duplicate the dives in any one location and in general 15 dives should mean 15 buddy checks, 15 descents, 15 opportunities for gas management, 15 minor issues as will happen on any dive and 15 safe ascents - a whole lot better than a new diver arriving on the island fresh out of padi course. Christi has to have some line in the sand and 15 seems a reasonable number as 15 in a year is more than just a "vacation diver"
Also to be fair 15 quarry dives - even at 30 feet - can result in a huge learning curve. With the lack of good viz and the cold that goes along with most quarry dives that is some serious task loading and I would sooner dive with a 15 quarry dive diver than a 30 dive vacation diver. At Dutch springs, PA where I certified, 30 feet is thermocline territory and although the zebra mussles have improved viz you are still talking poor viz with COLD water - now that makes for beefy divers.
I have dived approx 250 dives and still consider myself a beginner - I shudder to think that my 8th dive was in Coz off of a cruise ship with Sand Dollar and a deep wall with a ripping current - mainly because despite my training I had no idea what potential dangers awaited me - Hey I was on a cruise line with RCL - they would never let anything happen to me - Whew - there but for the grace of God goes I