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Cave Training and Etiquette Real or Imaginary?

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by GDI, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. GDI

    GDI Artificer of Havoc & Kaos ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Florida & The World
    I cannot begin to express my frustration at what is consistently becoming a norm in the cave community. Cave divers kneeling on the bottom whilst making equipment adjustments as though routine and simple in nature. Reel lines ran mid passage, blocking entrances and side passages, multiple tie-offs using a common point. Diver teams failing to yield to exiting teams. And what I consider one of the biggest issues is divers performing dives that they are neither ready, trained nor equipped to do.

    Do I fault these divers? It appears that cave diving at least in this part of the world has become almost mainstream. The shear number of divers I see visiting some of Florida's premier cave locations is a huge leap to the number of only a few years ago. To be a cave diver is no longer to be considered the elite of diving.

    Again I ask myself, Do I fault these divers? NO, I lay fault with the agencies and the instructors. The agencies for permitting a corp of instructors who themselves are not often up to par of the once perceived cave diver status, yet have passed a streamlined learning process using a curriculum quite often based solely on academics and not practical application and /or refinement. Do not the two need to be developed together in achieving true mastery of a subject and practice?

    This quest of the agencies to quickly compete by offering the fast and minimal in training. A culture of quick gratification permeates throughout the dive industry. IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY THE CARD IS YOURS. And the instructors follow suit to this culture. Do they follow blindly or just out of " That is just the way it is", "It's the Norm" , It's the way I learned to do it"

    In reading the many social media forums a common observation is made regarding the lacking quality of today's cave students. Considering the usual arm chair mentality of these comments and the Its the other guy not me! mind set I have to admit there is a great difference in today's cave student then of a few years ago.

    Ok its not just the agency, it is the instructors!. Fair enough however there exists a culture to which and because of the agencies I do hold firstly responsible. To my fellow instructors I ask that you hold the cave students you teach to a higher standard. Time to raise the bar. What the agencies have are only words. Legally binding, possibly? A methodology? A lesson plan to follow, certainly. But they are only words and it is up to you the instructor to determine when that student is ready. Sadly I have to say many students are receiving their cards demonstrating the bare minimum.

    I encourage you as instructors , at all levels, to raise the bar. Stop the students from kneeling, teach them to handle equipment issues whilst maintaining neutral buoyancy and proper trim, tech them the etiquette of the cave. I think you will find the student actually will appreciate the higher expectations of them. They will have in truth earned the c-card not just because of academics learnt but also practical application. If the student wants the quick gratification card tell them cave diving is not for them. As for me I will I promise to review my expectations of standards and definitions of mastery and will make adjustments. Always learning always improving.

    To the many cave divers out there both newly certified and those certified of yesteryear. I challenge you to continue to improve. Be real and truthful to yourself, Critique your dive team and stop practicing bad etiquette and discipline. Learn what is good and what is not. Talk with older cave divers. You've got the c-card now make it an elite card of recognition. Cave divers of old become mentors, hesitate not to pass on some wisdom and suggestions when sought out.
  2. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    Every cave dive I do, I am grateful for the implacable insistence my instructors had on me performing to standards. It wasn't easy to get there, but I am very glad they made me do it.
    TONY CHANEY likes this.
  3. Dive Right In Scuba 2

    Dive Right In Scuba 2 ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Illinois
    Great posting! While I can't attest to the trend since I was intro/apprentice certified in 2011 and full cave in 2012, I can say that I have often wondered how some actually passed muster and got cave certified based on the skill level that I observed. My first pet peeve is that cave diving is not a race! I have seen so many set a penetration goal for a dive. Why? Isn't is awesome enough to simply dive into the veins of our beautiful planet? My second pet peeve is lack of control, buoyancy or otherwise. All too many times I have been exiting a cave and not only had divers entering not yield right of way to me but silt bomb the cave so that the rest of my exit "Ok'ing" the line is necessary. Why? Perhaps they are also trying to make their penetration goal.

    One thing I have always said about diving is, if I wanted to do something fast I would have taken up motorcycle racing. Personally I dig the slow and methodical process that diving, especially tech and cave requires.

    In conclusion, take your time...enjoy the slow relaxing ride!!
    ipsc1911, mheaster, CamG and 2 others like this.
  4. PfcAJ

    PfcAJ Orca

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: St Petersburg, Fl
    You've got folks still learning to dive in the cave environment.

    If they kneel on the bottom, they've got no business in a cave class to begin with.
  5. divad

    divad ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    Can you name the instructors that allow this?
  6. Omisson

    Omisson Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Whitestone, New York, United States
    Part of the problem is in the many agencies now certifying cave divers. In the beginning not so many- so everyone knew who to call out when standards fall short. Now who knows what agency a diver trained with or what standards were taught. The price of becoming a popular diving trend.
    rjack321 likes this.
  7. Superlyte27

    Superlyte27 Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Florida
    GDI, Don't get me started. And God forbid you point the finger only to be crucified, ostracized and threatened. It can't be fixed man. Don't even try. Let's back up... the diver's don't know what they're doing is wrong, or they don't care. Either because their instructor either doesn't recognize the issue or doesn't care. Try to talk to the instructor or the student and you're a hateful SOB. Try to convince them that it's not acceptable and you're the biggest prick ever. Bring it to the attention of the certifying agency and they'll tell you it's none of your business and that the agency can't handle a blemish on their good name.

    It's a joke man. And it's never going to change. So give up right now, before you care too much. I have, and I enjoy diving a WHOLE LOT BETTER NOW
    tbone1004, CamG, cerich and 5 others like this.
  8. rddvet

    rddvet DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
    Sadly it's true. One instructor who has an exceptionally well known name in cave diving puts out some of the ****tiest divers I've ever seen. People that can't do simple kicks. Apparently so many of this instructors former students have seen the decline that they've discussed an "intervention" before this instructor sullied their name beyond repair. Sadly much of the damage is already done, and it doesn't appear likely the former students will actually grow the balls needed to intervene.
    cerich and Tickler like this.
  9. karstdvr

    karstdvr Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: South GA
    I do fault the divers. Basic instruction is the license to learn beyond your basic skill set. I found from a survey I conducted and published in UWS that most people didn't receive adequate or minimum cave conservation training,but learning beyond the entry level is their responsibility. Cave divers need to take personal responsibility and quit blaming instructors/agencies for all their deficits. If your buoyancy and trim skills are inadequate and you are in a small passage,the whole dive you are bumping the walls/ceiling and stirring up silt, personal responsibility means you don't have the skill set to be there, and exit. Where yes I agree with your comment that there are deficits in training,since there are deficits in how instructors are made with some agencies,but cave divers can't continue to lay blame for all their failures on this alone,but accept personal responsibility, and work to improve.

    ---------- Post added February 27th, 2015 at 06:40 AM ----------

    I think the point of not knowing they are doing that is wrong is fairly short lived,because there is enough pervasive discussion and videos out there to give a person a general idea of how to do it right,now comes the, "don't care". The don't care is going to cost you and me access,because I know I sound like Chicken Little, and "the sky is falling...", the largest land owner of caves DOES CARE, DOES ASK, and the solution is something NOBODY will like.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2015
    tbone1004 and GDI like this.
  10. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    Sure there are more agencies, but I am pretty sure they all have adequate standards for instruction. When you see something that violates standards for one agency, it almost certainly violates standards for all agencies. Or do you have any examples of agency standards that do not pass muster?

    I can't help but wonder if there is a problem with what I perceive to be a high ratio of cave instructors to potential students. I get the feeling that the majority of people living in some parts of Florida are cave instructors. This must create a serious competition for students. There is a similar abundance of OW instructors, but my observation of the OW instructor world is that the overwhelming majority of them do it on a limited part time basis and are not looking to make a living at it. If not too many students take classes from them, it is not a seriopus problem for them financially. It seems to me that most of the cave instructors I know are highly dependent upon that income.

    I was a career educator, both a teacher and an administrator. In American high schools, many of the courses offered are electives that students choose if they are interested. If the students don't take the classes being offered, the person teaching those classes can lose a job. I saw all too often that the way many teachers got students to sign up for their classes was to make it abundantly clear that they would get a good grade without much effort.
    videofly likes this.

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