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DSMB requirement?

Discussion in 'Cozumel' started by gopbroek, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. gopbroek

    gopbroek Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Lewisville TX
    What are your thoughts on requiring divers to carry a DSMB in Cozumel? My personal thoughts are that they should be strongly encouraged but I also fear that a diver inexperienced at deploying one risks entanglement when attempting to deploy one.

    A few of the recent incidents I have been aware of are the losses of divers on 9 Feb 2016 at Santa Rosa and 19 Feb 2017 at Palancar. In both of these incidents, to the best of my knowledge the diver was left near the surface without a buoy with choppy conditions on the surface (not severe chop but less than ideal). Then there are divers being struck by boats. Last fall I spoke to a group of divers who got run over while on the surface, luckily one pushed off the side while another pushed off the bottom and narrowly missed the prop. Then I understand that on Monday the 20th at Palancar a diver was surfacing without a marker and was struck by a passing boat and took a prop strike to their forarm (I haven't heard how serious but hope not seriously)

    Like I said before I am all for carrying a Buoy and practice deployment often but I also understand that many divers, even if they carry one, may never have deployed one.
    lionfish-eater likes this.
  2. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    I have long argued that an SMB should be required. It takes little skill to inflate one at the surface, and learning to do this (at least) is now a PADI requirement for the OW certification. Deploying a DSMB requires much more skill, and we cannot expect all divers to be able to do it safely.
    Christi, gfaith and AdivingBel like this.
  3. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    I find it ironic that some dive operators have required computers for many years, and if you don't have one, they will supply it. When I have argued for SMBs in the past, people have argued that requiring them and then supplying them (with a rental fee) would be far too costly for the dive operator. One poster argued that purchasing enough for the divers would put dive operators on the edge of bankruptcy.

    Here is one that retails for $24.95. I have to expect there is at least a 50% markup on that, so I am sure a dive operator could get them for less than $15. That means an operation that has two 6-packs would need to shell out less than $200 to have a dozen on hand so that it could rent them out if every one of their boats were filled with people who did not bring their own. I hope that such an expense would not bankrupt too many operations. If they were to charge a modest rental fee, they would pay for them in a few weeks.
    Christi and Trailboss123 like this.
  4. cicopo

    cicopo Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    I think that if you dive with an op that sticks to the plan that "when 1 goes up we all go up" then having your own is a nicety but who wants to dive that way. If you have the skill set to dive well enough to dive your air & the op lets you go up on your own or with your buddy there are 2 safe ways to do it. Either you (or your buddy) sends a marker up or the divemaster sends one up. I have one for those occasions but have only sent it up once that I can remember. It has 20 feet of light rope attached & rolls up nicely at very little cost. If I've been hard on my air I'll go up & do a LONG safety stop above the DM who will eventually be sending his / hers up soon enough. If that's not an option I have one ready to deploy.
  5. redacted

    redacted Guest

    Strongly recommended, sure, but required may induce a false sense of safety. Might be better if the guide carried two so one could be left with early surfacing divers. This would relieve the guide from having to tow his marker for a couple earlier surfacers while still guiding the rest of a group.

    Terminating a dive early for the entire group will cost tips and future business.
    Christi and MMM like this.
  6. gfaith

    gfaith Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Desert SE of NM
    That is a good step forward. Now if it is an advanced skill to deploy a DSMB the dive organization should make it a requirement and teach it in their AOW course. There are just to many accidents or near misses when divers don't deploy them.
  7. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Arguably, it would be a good idea for all divers to carry safety equipment and be familiar with their use. I always carry a dsmb, spool, Dive Alert, Eeezycut Trilobite, and knife. I frequently have 1 or 2 lights and a strobe. Only items I've used more than once or twice are the dsmb and spool.

    Much of my diving is drift in SE Florida. At least 2 of the 5 operators I frequently use require a dsmb or smb on all dives, one of them supplies them if a diver is discovered not to have one, and they always ask. The requirement is listed on their websites.
    uncfnp likes this.
  8. Dave Dillehay

    Dave Dillehay Dive Shop

    Or better yet, do as the PADI DM manual says for drift diving, and come up under the umbrella of the DM. There have been far too many fatalities from divers coming up willy nilly and that is one of the reasons we do that. With big tanks everyone gets a long dive with little risk of being alone on the surface. Plus, with the DMs bouy on the surface the captain knows to ward off oncoming boats.

    And yes, I believe that DMs should be life guards as they are trained to be.

    Dave Dillehay
    Aldora Divers
    Jayfarmlaw, LCJ1313, mstevens and 2 others like this.
  9. KDAD

    KDAD Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Northern New Jersey
    Requiring divers to carry a DSMB in Cozumel? I enjoy diving freedom and am not a big fan more requirements although it sounds like it should be at least strongly encouraged.

    I do believe that it is a good skill for any diver to carry one and know how to use it, whether required or not. Drift diving with the possibility of getting separated from the group/guide with the flag? Yes, carry one. Surfacing separate from the group/ flag with boats zipping by overhead? Yes, carry one.

    I am fortunate that where I dive (NJ, FL) state law requires the use of a flag and most of the dive ops in SE FL require carrying one and knowing how to use it so I have experience using it and always have it with me. I could understand other divers not wanting to have to carry one or use one depending on the location and dive.
  10. macado

    macado PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Snowbirding in Cave Country (Florida)
    It should be a requirement in my opinion. Not just Cozumel but everywhere. There are very few times I dive without an dSMB.

    I use mine in Cozumel frequently. I have been up north outside the marine park or even far south near Maracaibo many times where significant chop/waves/heavy rainy has made SMBs hard to see. You don't have to be diving in the mid-Atlantic for surface conditions/visibility to deteriorate. It literally does happen. I feel like a lot of people think this is an unrealistic scenario; It's not. Giving the boat captain another source of reference to find you is always a good idea.

    As mentioned many times before on Scubaboard, It's now a PADI Open Water requirement under Dive Flexible Skills.

    Regarding the PADI skill requirement, I admit to just teaching inflating at the surface for open water students and deploying at depth for my advanced classes. If a student were to ask me about inflating at depth I would gladly show them. I explain why I think it's important.

    Also..while I feel deploying at depth is more valuable skill I think there is still a lot of value in simply just inflating at the surface. A 4ft-6ft orange tube in MUCH easier to see on the surface than a diver in black wetsuit waving their hands.

    Pelagicsal and gfaith like this.

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