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Fish Rock fatality - South West Rocks, New South Wales

Discussion in 'Accidents and Incidents' started by DandyDon, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Divectionist

    Divectionist Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Gold Coast, Australia
    Pretty sure it would mean AOW. As far as I know, operators take OW divers out to the site, despite the depth and overhead exceeding what is normally considered within OW limits.

    Now we all know AOW means zilch, but I suppose it helps not making this too much about whether the diver should have been there. Before you know it, some regulation rains down on that place. Australia is good at that.
  2. John the Pom

    John the Pom Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    It would be interesting to estimate how many divers have safely completed this dive over the years - it would be a big number! It's probably safer than crossing the road.

    My regular dive buddy and I have done this dive. It is basically a very big swim-through, where you are, for a short while, out of sight of either end. There are none of the hazards of cave or wreck penetration dives, except that you have to be aware you are going into an overhead environment. It would be a tragedy if this resulted in some heavy-handed regulation.
    Wingy likes this.
  3. Glenndini

    Glenndini Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Australia
    It's an awesome dive site that's for sure. That view of the light at the end of the tunnel filled with cruising grey nurse sharks is spectacular. The first time I did the cave I did think to myself "I wonder how many people get freaked out by the dark, tight ascent up the chimney?". I've seen people get freaked by far less restricted places.
    Very sad to hear about this though. One of my favorite dives. Try to go back at least once a year. Next time will be a different feeling.

  4. Heg

    Heg Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Brisbane
    This lady was a friend of ours. I only just received the sad news from her husband yesterday, as we have been sailing from NZ to Fiji and have had no access to Internet for 9 days.
    I am not yet in possession of any facts but firmly believe that dive sites that involve narrow , overhead environments should require specialist training. AOW is not enough. Another friend of mine had just completed her AOW with PADI . She did this immediately after gaining her OW so would have a grand total of maybe 12 dives? I personally think this is ridiculous.
    Regardless, RIP lovely lady.
  5. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    My sincerest condolences. I visited South West Rocks years ago and absolutely loved it. I agree that going into that overhead is a risky practice.
    Heg likes this.
  6. NAUI Wowie

    NAUI Wowie Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Silicon Valley northern CA
    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. I was about to post something that agrees with much of what you stated in that many people do OW then immediately AOW after and thus even with AOW can be an extreme novice. So yes for a novice diver no matter the certification they should not attempt this dive however this dive in my limited opinion should not require any specialist training, but yes you are right 12 dives and you should not attempt this dive site.
  7. soldsoul4foos

    soldsoul4foos Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Portland, ME
    I am AOW, have probably 150 dives, very comfortable. I would never enter that without cave training.
    blueclearsky and Johanan like this.
  8. clownfishsydney

    clownfishsydney Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Sydney Australia
    The fact is, it is a very easy dive, no way to get lost really as you can see light from one end or the other for all but perhaps 10 metres of the cave. I have dived it perhaps 40 times over the past 30 years and tens of thousands of divers have done it during that time with no fatalities inside the cave as far as I know. All dives are guided by very, very experienced DMs or Instructors.
    judyo1 likes this.
  9. chris kippax

    chris kippax Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Australia
    Only the person doing the dive can comment on their willingness to undertake it with their current level of training. No one should dive a site with out some prior understanding of what is down there.
    No one is forcing you to dive and it is supposed to be fun!
    I am comfortable to do this dive but I can understand why others are not. The moral of the story is to look after number 1 and call a dive even before starts if you please. I can’t help thinking this poor woman may of wanted to call it even before it started.
    bowlofpetunias likes this.
  10. bowlofpetunias

    bowlofpetunias Oh no, not again! Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Sydney Australia
    I have done the cave and the chimney many times. IMHO the best dives at this site do not include the chimney. The shallow entrance allows people to penetrate a much larger entrance and go in to the dark as far as they want. The site is not one that will silt up and there is lots of room to move. The chimney is totally black once you get in to it and you have to go single file so you can't do much to help if someone panics.

    This is such a well known site and has had thousands of divers go through it. I think it has become a "trust me dive" that some people may feel pressured to do because they don't want to look bad. It seems that many divers take a very long time before they really are comfortable enough to call a dive or say.. "That dive isn't for me!" I think the take away message here needs to be: "Refusing a dive because it makes you uncomfortable indicates a competent diver not the reverse" When you learn to say "NO" you have mastered the most important skill of a safe diver!
    chillyinCanada likes this.

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