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Thread: Poor/dangerous behavior by instructor (not mine) -- what to do?

 


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    Poor/dangerous behavior by instructor (not mine) -- what to do?

    I had a very disturbing experience last week, in which an instructor tried to pressure me to penetrate a wreck at night (in which he intended to stir up sand to reduce visibility), knowing virtually nothing about my dive experience. We were in a group which included at least one of his students working on a wreck certification, but my buddy and I firmly told him twice before going into the water that we would be staying outside the ship, and he still tried twice more underwater to get me to go in.

    I stuck to my guns and stayed outside, but he did get my buddy to do a swimthrough he didn't seem comfortable with (after which the buddy refused to do any further penetration). Once we all surfaced, I chewed out the instructor. He still refused to admit he had done anything wrong.

    I have already sent a detailed report of the incident to his dive shop, and I will call to confirm they have received it. Is there anything else I should do? Is it appropriate to contact his certifying agency? He was not *my* instructor at any point.
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    If he wasn't your instructor and you had a buddy then you did the right thing by declining to go in. Unless he was physically shoving you into the wreck, I don't think it's inappropriate for him to invite you in to see if you'd changed your mind once you were in the water. People often change their mind when they see something isn't necessarily so scary as it might have been in their mind.

    Did you speak with the instructor afterwards or did you just launch at his dive shop and start contemplating how else to escalate things?

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    I don't understand. On the dive in question, the instructor was training a wreck diving student. He and the student had a dive plan: to penetrate the wreck. You and your buddy had a different dive plan: to remain outside of the wreck. The two different buddy teams should have separated and executed their respective dive plans. Why didn't that occur?

    If a diver on a different dive team tried to pressure me (during the dive) into changing my team's dive plan, I would flat out ignore him (unless there were some sort of emergency, which clearly wasn't the case here). If he persisted, I would wave "goodbye" to him (thereby acknowledging his communication) and continue on with my dive with my buddy. After we surfaced, depending on the circumstances and how much/how he actively tried to pressure me, I might choose to discuss the matter with him. If we did discuss the incident, I would calmly state something along the lines of: "Kindly leave our buddy team alone." I personally don't think that a more escalated response (e.g., report to dive shop, report to agency) is warranted, but then again I wasn't there.

    FWIW, in my mind, there's a difference between a short swim-through and formal penetration of the wreck, although both could qualify as overhead environments. To be sure, both carry increased risk to the divers involved vs. remaining outside the wreck in an open water environment.
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    I spoke to him afterwards, and he continued to insist that I should have gone in. ANY diver should respect that no means no and not keep pushing (let's keep in mind overhead penetration with low viz was involved), but I think this is especially true of instructors, who really should be leaders with respect to dive safety.

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    Do you know what agency the instructor was with? PADI specifically forbids wreck penetration at night as part of the wreck specialty class.

    I guess my reaction to this guy would depend on his demeanor underwater. If he simply looked at me and made an inviting gesture inside, I'd ignore it and I wouldn't have been motivated to do anything more. But if he made forceful gestures or grabbed me and tried to push me into the wreck, that would be different, and I would have been quite a bit more annoyed.

    The standards violation (if PADI) is also a different story, and should be reported to his shop and to PADI. I do not know if other agencies share this rule.

    All of the above is written with the idea that the "penetration" was more than simply swimming through something no longer than a diver's body.
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    Bubbletrubble, part of this issue was that my buddy was one of his students (not for this particular dive, but in general), so the guy had some influence on him. When we started to go off and dive our own dive, the instructor chased us down and motioned him back, so I stayed close.

    Certainly part of me thinks I should never have gone in the water with them, but it was supposed to be an easy dive with my buddy.

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    TS&M, he's an SDI instructor. The first thing they did was a fairly reasonable swimthrough. I'd likely have been willing to do it in the daytime with someone I trusted, but it was pretty narrow. After that they actually went down into the hold of the ship and back out another hole. It's big and cleared out, but I definitely don't have the training for it, and my buddy did not either, which the instructor knew, and it was definitely not a training dive for my buddy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TSandM View Post
    Do you know what agency the instructor was with? PADI specifically forbids wreck penetration at night as part of the wreck specialty class.

    I guess my reaction to this guy would depend on his demeanor underwater. If he simply looked at me and made an inviting gesture inside, I'd ignore it and I wouldn't have been motivated to do anything more. But if he made forceful gestures or grabbed me and tried to push me into the wreck, that would be different, and I would have been quite a bit more annoyed.

    The standards violation (if PADI) is also a different story, and should be reported to his shop and to PADI. I do not know if other agencies share this rule.

    All of the above is written with the idea that the "penetration" was more than simply swimming through something no longer than a diver's body.
    It's my understanding that the PADI wreck specialty is explicitly not a penetration course. If it's a PADI instructor doing penetration then you have a bigger issue. If they were to remain in the light zone and the instructor motioned to "come in, it's cool" and the OP didn't want to go that's fine. The instructor is still within his right to say, "You should have come in, it was totally cool" on the boat afterwards without fear of prosecution.

    If the instructor was doing an actual wreck penetration (technical) course, I'd be amazed that he'd be interested in having new divers follow his class inside.

    The OP sounds like she's on a mission, I just don't quite get it.

    ps - just saw that you wrote he was a SDI instructor, sorry bout that.

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    I think you have two issues here;
    1 - the instructor "pressuring" you to enter a wreck - You can say NO and dive your own plan.Easy solution to problem mentioned.

    2 - your buddy leaving you to go with the instructor - I would be more mad at your so called buddy than I would at the instructor,IF the two of you had discussed and agreed to your dive plan before the dive .If your buddy left you I would be questioning him/her as to why.

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    ktkt, you did the right thing...There was a similar thread/post about a so-called guide/instructor that tried to pressure a diver(s) into a cave that weren't certified/comfortable.....It reminds me of one of the most basic rules in diving: "ANY diver can call any dive for ANY reason at ANY time w/o ANY recriminations".....The prima donna/macho types have no business in the sport...Glad you reported it, hope the other divers [ cave ] did too...HIGH FIVE !!!!!

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