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Illegal Dive Centres

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by faze, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Jake-The-Snake

    Jake-The-Snake Solo Diver

    It isn't hard to imagine regulated dive shops, it just scares me. It is the costs, because of all the regulations in the aviation industry, that makes becoming a pilot such an deterrent, to the point that it is all we can do to keep the number of pilots static, rather than declining.
  2. flots am

    flots am Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Wherever you go in life, that's where you are.
    If your insurance company is DAN, they don't care (at least not in my policy) who you dive with. They simply arange for treatment and payment.

    A bigger concern is whether or not the dive center creates safe, competent divers.

  3. Mustard Dave

    Mustard Dave Rebreather Pilot

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Manchester, UK
    My first experience of diving was in the Canaries in 1997. I was 18 at the time and on a lads' holiday in Tenerife. We were walking along the road by the beach and a bloke approached us. He was English and he asked us if we fancied diving. None of us had ever tried it but we all fancied giving it a go. We booked a try dive the next day.

    I really loved it and fancied taking it up but at the time I didn't realise I'd be able to do so much in the UK and thought it would all be expensive foreign travel which I couldn't afford. Having learned to dive a few years back in England and now knowing better, it frightens me how poor the standards of this cowboy outfit was. At the time I never thought anything was amiss. It looked like a well run, well equipped shop with official looking logos on the signs.

    We were helped into our kit and then told to follow him to the beach. There was one dive centre employee (I say 'employee' because I have no idea of his credentials) to four total novices. He inflated our BCDs and got us to float in the shallow water. He told us how to equalise our ears, how to purge our regs and how to clear our masks. He then said "You press this to go up and this to go down".

    Everything went well and we booked a second dive. We went a bit further out on the second dive and a bit deeper. I cannot emember exactly how deep either dive was though.

    An insurance company trying to reject a claim on spurious grounds is not doing its job properly - it is acting improperly and potentially illegally. It does still happen though without a doubt. I haven't seen the threads you mention but I would be interested to see them if you have a link. I work in the major and complex loss division of a large loss adjusting and claims handling company. I am an engineer and advise the loss adjusters on claims involving damage to mechanical and electrical services in buildings such as fires, floods and light-fingered pikey types looting them for copper etc. We have other departments that handle the high-volume low-fee stuff like motor insurance and home contents etc. They work under an agreement with the insurer and in the event of a claim, your call goes straight to them. They will answer the phone as that insurer so you will have no idea you are dealing with a separate company.

    I have had to complete numerous courses on treating customers fairly and the various rules and regulations we have to abide by. We are legally bound by the Financial Services Authority and voluntarily to our industry's professional body, the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters.

    When we receive a new loss from an insurer, we will first establish policy liability, adequacy of sums insured, undertake background checks (claims history, criminal activity etc.) and establish the particulars of the loss. If there is a problem, (such as non-compliance with the terms of the policy, inadequate cover, suspicious claims history etc.), we will look to reject a payout, or report it to the fraud team if we suspect foul play. Assuming all is okay, we will look to ensure the payout is commensurate with the actual loss. We do not try to unfairly limit or reject a payout as it would lead to complaints to the FSA and CILA which are harmful to the business.

    I have a travel insurance policy with my bank. If I was to call the claims helpline, the call would be answered in the call centre on the ground floor of our offices as we are their contracted claims handler.

    I have been through the policy booklet with a fine-toothed comb and it clearly states dangerous activities are not covered. It then gives a list of what is not considered a dangerous activity. On the list it says:

    "Scuba Diving: Providing you are diving with an instructor OR you are a qualified diver AND you are diving no deeper than your certified depth, to a maximum of 30 metres."

    If your policy wording is similar to that, you are covered. Simple as that. If there is no stipulation that you must dive with a licensed dive outfit, you are covered irrespective of who you are diving with.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
    Colliam7 likes this.
  4. Kitty_Kat

    Kitty_Kat Marine Scientist

    Those don't sound like bad qualifications for any dive shop..

    I used to manage a pool and we had all sorts of things (similar to above) that were required for us to be in code. We were "legally" a business without following them, but the state had auditors that came around every so often to check up and if a pool wasn't following them they would be temporarily shut down until the problem was fixed. Perhaps the government in this area has caught up to something like this, recognizing the safety risks in an imporperly run dive shop and decided to regulate them.

    I really don't think it's a bad idea for any area. Diving is only increasing in popularity... Eventually some level of higher regulation will come into play. Some of my first dive experiences were with some slightly sketchy operations that likely were not properly certified... Even in my area (in the US) there are a couple of shops that I don't believe have acceptable facilities to be teaching in. The regulations for that "license" are pretty basic and would cover most issues I have seen with dive operations.
    cnar likes this.
  5. vladimir

    vladimir ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    I don't see the logical connection from popularity of an activity to the inevitability of "higher regulation." Scuba in the United States and much of the world has gone unregulated (by the governments) since its inception.

    Is it true that "diving is only increasing in popularity"? I guess that's good news for all our divemasters and instructors.

    The concern in this case is what an economist would call rent-seeking. A common strategy for manipulating the competitive environment is to artificially raise the obstacles to entry with licensing requirements that are unnecessary or unduly onerous. We don't know enough (from this thread) about the license required in the Canary Islands to make a determination, but that is the concern.
  6. Kitty_Kat

    Kitty_Kat Marine Scientist

    I'm not advocating that higher (government) regulation is necessarily good, but rather saying that the listed regulations seem pretty fair for this industry. The "written agreements" might need to be elaborated on. If there are additional fines/barriers required to becoming a "legal" business in the Canary Islands that are really unnecessary or unduly onerous, I would agree that the scenario fits the bill of rent-seeking. :( But we don't really know enough.

    Based on the number of students I see weekly, I would say the industry is getting a good amount of attention even in locations like mine which are far from tropical :D.

    Higher regulation is not always good, but my general observation so far is that more people = more stupidity. I like scuba's fairly unregulated state, but some things are pretty easy to have around for any op and go a long way in preventing the accidents that occur from having unnecessary endings. I can't think of any boats in my area that don't follow safety and maritime codes, have properly licensed captains/DMs, plans of what to do in an emergency and acceptable emergency equipment, or suitable facilities for the number of divers they are taking. IMHO, that's not a lot to ask. Just my 2 cents :D
  7. CamC

    CamC Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Isle of Man
    MustardDave, believe it or not, I agree with you 100% - despite my ill-advised use of the word "spurious". I've worked in the insurance industry for 15+ years myself, albeit on the life side rather than property, for a well-behaved and reputable company. Sadly, not all companies are as well-behaved as yours and mine

    Equally sadly, neither are all policyholders. You'll know this of course, but for the benefit of others, false claims abound and the company's duty is to weed them out, to avoid higher premiums for everyone else. (That's the other side of TCF ;-) It's probably most common/obvious on car insurance, but it does happen elsewhere too, and surprisingly often.
  8. vladimir

    vladimir ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    I don't really want to go down the well-worn argument of regulation vs free markets, except to suggest that well-run dive operations use their advertising to educate consumers. If divers were in the habit of checking for emergency oxygen, compressor inspections, captains' licenses, epirbs, etc., it would do as much for safety as any licensing scheme.
  9. cnar

    cnar Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Barbados
    The other condition is you're not diving alone (solo).
  10. Reck Diver

    Reck Diver Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Sorry, but I have to ask, Were you drunk when you wrote this post?

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