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Letter of Complaint for Splash DiveCenter, Alexandria Virginia

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic States' started by Jeff Charlot, May 4, 2012.

  1. clustersixactual

    clustersixactual New

    # of Dives:
    Location: Northern VA
    I was certified to dive while in the army in Europe in 1974. I have been a Dive Master since 1992 and an Instructor since 1993. I am now a Assistant Instructor Trainer and help Course Directors teach DM's to be Iinstructors, among other things. I also live in Northern Va near SPLASH. I do not know the Hays but I have been in the shop.

    I do want to say this to Jeff and some of those commenting:

    1. You were not expecting too much in your training. Calm and collected can still be very rigorous. The Professional level dive training I got as a civilian was superb, with rigorous standards, and was as good as any of the military training I ever received. It was thorough, professional and non-regimented, but rigorous. If you had any doubt about quality you were right to complain. You had the right to demand and expect to receive the best.

    2. Those who are not pro's don't understand the role of DM's many times, especially in training. They assume a boat DM on a day boat is in the same role as a DM working instruction. They may have similar qualifications, but the roles are far different. A good training DM is vital to the success of any instructor and the safety of the students, and need instruction and supervision at their level as well. That is how they grow.

    3. There are several fine DM programs available in NO VA, as well as where you are now located. You can find them.

    4. The best way to research this is by word of mouth. Talk to every good instructor you see and ask for references. Dive with instructors as a DM every chance you can to hone your skills. Before and after every dive discuss everything with your instructor. Try your best to assess the divers (at whatever level they are being trained at) for the signs of possible problems. Problem PREVENTION is the best mark of a good DM and instructor. Solve it before it happens. When I hear "Oh my god I had this dive from h..." from an instructor, I start to worry that the instructor was lackadaisical and "phoning it in". Yes, problems can and do happen, but a culture of safety and professionalism minimizes them. When we are diving with students, whether in a pool, pond or ocean, we are working as professionals and have a literal responsibility for life and death. The students probably will not see it, they will simply feel safe and have a good time. But we will KNOW it.

    Also ask your instructor for feedback and a critique after every dive.

    5. I heard and believe I read that David Hays was expelled from PADI after a death in May in Lake Rawlings just south of Richmond. I have been there. I have not researched this in depth so I cannot verify. This would be terrible if true, but it might reflect on some of your observations.

  2. Katch

    Katch Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Woodbridge, VA

    There are several posts about it in the Accidents and Incidents Forum (over 330 posts):

  3. JSpree

    JSpree Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: VA
    from the Splash website:

    Just to note that they did not inform their PADI professional students about anything that was going on. They simply passed them on to other PADI pros when Splash was removed from PADI. PADI Pro students found out through through the PADI website about what was really going on. I no longer trust this organization and personally have cut all ties with this shop. It's a shame because I did like many of the PADI instructors that were associated with the shop who of course are no longer there either.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  4. Ice9

    Ice9 Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Alexandria, VA
    I've been away from SB for a while, and I was surprised to see this kind of complaint about Splash. I wasn't involved in the OP's class so I can't speak to what he claims. However, I was DM certified under Janet and David Hays some years back and I can attest to the fact that the training was very rigorous, thorough, and professional. I came out of it feeling very well trained and competent.

    I've worked with them both for a number of years and can tell you that they are good instructors who care very much for their students.

    I hope the OP was able to remedy his training issues and go on to enjoy being a DM.
  5. Katch

    Katch Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Woodbridge, VA

    Maybe Janet, but not David. Click the link about the death in Lake Rawlings. This thread started before the young women died under Mr. Hays' watch. He is no longer affiliated with the instructors or PADI.

    BTW: I wouldn't knock the shop. They picked up new instructors. I recently dove with Bill Chadwell on the U-1105. He seems very Knowledgeable and professional.

  6. captcurrent

    captcurrent Registered

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Jersey and Bonaire
    Reading this a couple of points come to mind

    first and foremost and diving accident is not good especially not a death .. the expelling of an instructor is only one step that can be taken..I have not seen the incident report and therefore comment is not appropriate

    Some basic thoughts the original topic

    The use of the term dive master is confusing....there is no standard definition. In scientific and professional diving this is usually a highly trained individual responsible for the operation and safety of the dive any assumption that PADI or any recreational agency is teaching this is a misunderstanding My WRSTC standards what is being taught is within the Definition of Recerational Dive Supervisor...(not a true standard but a gudeline that PADI is a signature to) and in most instructors mind is an attempt to help the candidate development the skills to move on to instructor.. Yes ability of instructors to move on to higher levels is based on the quantative measure of x number of people taught at various levels as opposed to qualatative measure (yeah poor spelling but you get the point)

    At most major non US resorts a "Dive Master" is a instructor who is leading dives.. not a PADI defined DM

    an overhead environment is a rigidly defined term . in simple terns an environment where the diver can not return directlt to the surface, I do not know an agency that allows ANY candidate except for those in appropriate training (cavern, cave advanced wreck) to enter into such an environment... To say that something is "not that much of an overhead environment" is akin to be a little bent or a little pregnant to be non PC

    for an instructor to allow a DM candidate to take students in such an environment is a major standards violation for the four organiations I am at least an instructor for....

    The way skills were presented has been covered well..... the original complaint is well based in this area in a failure to communicate... Good instructors at all levels cover the value of each task and skill to the candidate

    As far as the status of the dive center in question....again I lack any information... I would assume that PADI found fault in the centers QA procedures

    The fact that SDI has accepted them has two points... well PADI deals with stores and has memberships SDI is Store based with firm standards for those stores. They are aware of information rank and file does not have... the second is SDI is not fly by night... has a strong presence in the DC area.. If the center in question was beyond salvation why would they take them own. I personally know most of SDI senior management.. They are conservative and safety minded

    As far as using the dive center ... the question in all situations in my mind is the quality and suitability of the instructor you intend to take a course with...

    just my two cents and I do not represent these comments as being worth any more then you paid for them
  7. Ice9

    Ice9 Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Alexandria, VA
    The loss of a student is everyone's worst nightmare. Even after reading the reports in the other thread I'm still not 100% on what happened. All I can tell you is that I experienced a very high level of professionalism from BOTH Janet and David, and I have a lot of respect for them both. I would rest easy if either of them were to train any member of my family.

    That's just my $0.02
  8. hypertech

    hypertech Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    I wouldn't. I'm sure PADI got more information then the rest of us did and they kicked him and the shop out. There are plenty of other instructors out there who haven't been kicked out by an agency. Why risk it. I'd go elsewhere.

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