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This morning I decided to meet the local dive club to go shore diving with them. They are nice guys. We split into two groups and I went with the half going to the site that goes a deeper and requires a 200yard swim. Our plan was to stay around 55ft, max 65. I ended up getting paired with a newbie that had 8 dives and a brand new set of gear. He also wanted to film with his new gopro setup. By the time we got past the waves I can already tell he is going to be trouble from how he was handling himself.
I tried to convince him to go with the group that was going to stay shallow, but he wouldn't have any of that and the nearby divers wouldn't say anything. Sure enough, we get to the bottom and he starts having a horrible time with his buoyancy, chugging through his air, and wanting to film. He immediately starts going all over the place so I had trouble keeping track of him. After maybe 10 mins I catch back up to him and check his air, already at half a tank and he wasn't paying much attention. A diver next to me (other diver) is looking so I show him the newbie's comp and they start sharing air. I also noticed the newbie's tank fell out of the strap and is only held to his back by the strap around the neck of the tank. I decided fine, they want to be buddies and share, I'll check in on them if I see them but otherwise enjoy my dive.
Another 5 minutes pass and I notice the guy is using his own air again, down to 1,000 PSI, and not paying attention to his air still. I show the other diver who had come over, he checks his compass for the heading towards shore, grabs the newbie and they take off full speed without notice. One part of me wanted to just enjoy the rest of the dive, but I've already seen one diver die in the past and didn't want to see another. I also had plenty of air left (surfaced with 1200psi in an hp100) so figured I could share air if they were to run out on the way up. I raced after them and stopped the other diver and the newbie, pointed out that the newbie was down to 650psi and signaled we're going up right now.
Of course, now we're no where near the kelp forest so we're ascending from 49ft with about 10ft of vis in open water. The other diver grabbed the newbie and started ascending immediately. I tried to keep up, but my comp started yelling at me so I slowed down and did my safety stop. They skipped their safety stop and shot straight to the surface and didn't even wait for me to start swimming back.
I caught up and talked to them on the surface. The other diver said he had 700psi and the newbie said he had 350. I talked to them about not trying to race along the bottom and just following the kelp up next time. The fun didn't stop here though, next up we had to exit through about 3-4ft waves. Neither of them understood the concept of waiting out the set and just went for it.
The other diver ended up tumbling so I went in to try and help him up and give him his air again since he dropped his reg and wasn't able to gain footing. I've exited through taller waves before and can handle them fairly well, but I couldn't keep my footing for the next one while trying to help him and tumbled too. Luckily I saw it coming, prepared and did fine. The other diver ended up taking on water though.
At this point the other diver was panicking and coughing up water and we were sitting right where the waves were breaking. I decided to pull him back out past the waves and held him above the water so he could catch his breath. Thankfully the lifeguard came over to help out and we got him in. The newbie kept his reg in while tumbling and made it out ok. Having to worry about two divers in the surf would've really sucked.
I tried to impart some wisdom on them, hopefully they listened. Anything you guys notice that I should've done differently?
Other note, this is only my 30th dive, and half are from last year or before. Most of my more recent dives have been show up to the shore and go insta buddy. Having done this, I can see why solo diving is becoming more popular. Out of the few dozen divers I've met, I would say there are maybe 4 I would trust could help in a tough situation, one of which I met on here . Most would be useless; some would be a hinderance.
I've met a few good dive buddies from here, but they aren't always available. I've mostly been doing insta buddy to meet new people, and I've met some pretty cool ones by doing so. Out of all of them, this guy was the first that was an actual problem during a dive. Others have been fine, just not ones I would necessarily trust could save me under duress.
"Neither of them understood the concept of waiting out the set and just went for it." I am going to do some shore dives, really shallow and easy ones, with another guy not familiar with entering from the beach, can you explain waiting out the set? Do you mean waiting for a set of big waves to pass and then go in?
My advice is that when diving with a new buddy, have a very thorough predive chat. Share experience levels, last dive done, experience in or familiarity with the site you are diving. Discuss your expectations for the dive and theirs. Make clear who is the leader, and get agreement on important matters: profile, when to turn the dive, buddy proximity, movement, etc. On the facts the OP presents, exiting the water at the end of the dive should have been a big part of the pre dive discussion. Waiting to deal with these things until after you are underwater makes it impossible to do so. Live and learn.
We did discuss a lot of that. I knew he was a newbie diver with 8 dives, knew he hadn't dove this spot before but had done shore diving. As a group we discussed the site layout, our plan for diving it, and turning around when we got to around half a tank. The other diver was not my buddy. He had just also noticed beforehand that this guy might require hand holding. At half a tank he wanted to share air instead of turning around so I let him take over being his buddy and I just stayed with the pack. There were about 10 of us diving the site in total.
Next time I will discuss proximity too, and check if they actually know how to time sets.
I ended up getting paired with a newbie that had 8 dives and a brand new set of gear. He also wanted to film with his new gopro setup....I tried to convince him to go with the group that was going to stay shallow, but he wouldn't have any of that ...Anything you guys notice that I should've done differently?
Personally, I'd recommend not getting in the water with someone who has an unreasonable dive plan, or that you have concerns about. I'd wager that 99% of scuba accidents occur on dives where one, or more, participating divers had "concerns" prior to the dive, but didn't take action on them. Sometimes it's hard to recognize peer pressure, or ego-induced pressure (not wanting to appear weak, hesitant, fussy etc), but those are critical factors that can negate safe decision making.
It sounds like the noobie diver concerned needed supervision and/or counselling. Unfortunately, he didn't recognize that need. This is a typical attitude in a culture where our 'right to free choice' is sacrosanct... nobody likes to be told, or even advised, what to do.
When surrounded by other relatively inexperienced divers, there was nobody 'credible' or authoritative enough to get that message across. Supervising and mentoring divers needs that credibility.
If a diver isn't happy with the situation, then they have a veto... they can refuse to be involved. That action is normally sufficient to get the message across. If it doesn't, then at least you've safe-guarded yourself.
Sadly, far too few divers opt to veto issues that they are unhappy about.
If it was just me and him, I wouldn't've taken him to 60ft. I would've maybe done 20ft or called it entirely. In this case, he still would've dove since it was a group of 10. In retrospect I wish I went with the other group when he wouldn't. They saw more too. If I'm with a group I'll definitely be more forceful about not diving with someone I don't want to be buddies with though.
jar: I was confused by that too, but he wanted to take over being buddies with him and I was perfectly fine with that until I saw him jetting off full speed along the floor with the dude. If they would've stopped and ascended I would've stayed down and enjoyed the rest of my dive.
At least someone in the crowd kept their head on straight. It's a wonder those two didn't have an accident. Now for me, I would have told newbie from the beginning to put the camera away or find a new buddy. It seems that as soon as people get a c-card (or even before), their main objective is to become an underwater photographer. Mastering air consumption, buoyancy, and confidence are far more important for the first 100 dives or so. (This is my own opinion about newbies and cameras and it will not change no matter how many newbies reply that they did ok with theirs, thank you.)
Anyhow, I think you handled the situation very well, and I hope the other two learned something.