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NSS-CDS Board of Directors

Discussion in 'Cave Diving' started by Capt Jim Wyatt, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. Capt Jim Wyatt

    Capt Jim Wyatt Hanging at the 10 Foot Stop Staff Member ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: High Springs - Cave Country
    2,870
    2,151
    The NSS-CDS training program has been evolving very nicely for many years. Divers who are trained by the NSS-CDS are safe cave divers who are trained by up-to-date cave instructors utilizing the most up-to-date cave diver training philosophies, techniques, equipment, equipment configurations, and conservation ideologies. I see no value in doing away with this training program.

    Now look at the database of members and divers. It is outdated, putting it nicely. There is another database program being developed, even with a BoD member or two opposing it. I have full confidence that once this goes live the database issues will be a distant and bad memory. The database is being written by the same guy who maintains the TDI database, maintains Scubaboard database and maintains the Dive-Rite web page/database, and others that we are all familiar with.

    There is an election going on right now that will seat new talent on the BoD and those candidates have promised to bring more transparency to the day to day activities of the BoD. Hopefully the business they conduct will not have to "leaked" to us on an internet forum.

    Just like any organization, there is an ebb and flow within the NSS-CDS and it is definitely in an ebb phase currently. The flow phase will begin anew very soon and the organization could use your support, your constructive criticism and your ideas.
     
    NothingClever likes this.
  2. karstdvr

    karstdvr Contributor

    # of Dives:
    Location: South GA
    1,913
    683
    Good comments Ken

    Many of these things were discussed in a thread titled "NSS- CDS effectiveness.
     
  3. rddvet

    rddvet Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
    1,654
    1,616
    I generally agree that the CDS training system has evolved quite a bit for the positive in recent years. Unfortunately I wholeheartedly disagree to the notion that getting trained by a CDS instructor means that you are being trained by "up to date" excellent instructors. When I think of some of the instructors that should have hung up the instructor towel a long time ago or instructors that really aren't up to the par that I think they should be, most of them are CDS instructors.
    I am one that thinks the CDS should give up instruction and focus on conservation. Currently the CDS is a mess and can't even process memberships. It hasn't been able to be corrected in years. Add to that the number of CDS instructors I think should have their ability to teach reassessed, and that adds up to the need to simplify the CDS in my book. I'm sure many others disagree. But with the experiences I've had with the CDS, I have zero confidence in the organization, let alone it's ability to weed out people who shouldn't be teaching. I regularly tell prospective cave students that a CDS card no longer means you'll be getting top of the line instruction, so do your research on instructors and don't worry about if they teach for the CDS or not.
    The CDS has not been the best conservation group for a long time. The CDS has not been the best cave instruction agency for a long time. I think the CDS would be better served picking one and doing the best job it can at that one thing. For me, dropping the instruction and focusing on conservation makes the most sense. Look at the good work done at EN by CDS volunteers.
    * footnote: I'm in no way saying the CDS doesn't have good instructors. There are some exceptional CDS instructors. Unfortunately there's alot of very bad ones who got their certs or keep their certs because of who they know, who their friends are, or because they have "big names."
    *second note: Ken's comments confirm my belief the CDS should focus on conservation. It's what it's been doing the "best" at in recent years, and I believe if all energy was focused on it, could be the best cave conservation agency again.
     
  4. karstdvr

    karstdvr Contributor

    # of Dives:
    Location: South GA
    1,913
    683
    One of the key missions of the CDS is training. The sport came close to being outlawed because of all the deaths in the 70s, and if it wasn't for the NACD and CDS training program it would be nothing but sneak dives. If it wasn't for CDS/NACD training having so much success there is no way we would have the for profit agencies enter the sport because reward exceeded risk. This is like telling Ford, well you invented mass production of the car, and we have other manufacturers now, so you need to do something else. One thing I remember clearly from an article for UWS I wrote on cave conservation training, I did a survey. One thing that became evident was the for-profit agencies did little to none in cave conservation training, while all CDS students reported high levels of cave conservation training. Wonder why hand prints and fin prints in the floor have become more prevalent in the last few years.
     
  5. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    18,776
    11,284
    because the CDS is not the leader in training and by focusing on training like they do, they end up alienating non-cds divers. If they did away with training and focused on conservation, land-owner relations, improving cave diving as a whole, then they would have higher membership numbers and allow them to do better things.


    What is ironic about your last sentence is that since the CDS instructors are some of the worst, as pointed out by @rddvet , many of their students have abysmal fundamentals, particularly when it comes to sidemount and that has caused a lot of damage so I wouldn't make that analogy.
    Your Ford analogy is also bad because Ford is actually still mass producing cars as well as anyone else is. The CDS is NOT training divers any better than anyone else, so they should focus on what they are good at and align themselves better with what the NSS does. If they did away with training and shifted their mission totally over to cave conservation, cave access, and dive site improvement projects, AND they did it well, you would see a surge in involvement. As it stands, they are a training agency where membership allows you to dive Cow, and that's what the community sees it as. Who cares what they did 50 years ago, we need to care what they're doing now. 50 years ago they were able to impact the community by creating training standards that kept the caves open and keep people from dying. They did it well, but they have failed to evolve and have been left behind. Today they would be far better served at the three points outlined above and would actually provide a central body for all of the cave divers to WANT to be a part of. I think that is a far better use of their time and efforts.
     
    rddvet likes this.
  6. rddvet

    rddvet Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Florida
    1,654
    1,616
    all courses I’ve taken and courses friends have taken outside of the cds by quality instructors include significant conservation. More over the jump to the conclusion that scars in the cave are due to being trained on conservation is a big assumption and personal opinion. How about the quality of instruction those people had? I think that has more to do with it then if they were lectured on cave conservation.
    Reporting on the great work the cds did in the past doesn’t correlate to it always being a great organization now and in perpetuity. The past is the past. Times change. The cds is not the same organization it once was. Maybe that will get fixed in the future. It hasn’t in the 10 years I’ve been cave diving.
     
    tbone1004 likes this.
  7. Manatee Diver

    Manatee Diver Stop throwing lettuce at me! ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Tampa Bay, FL
    2,521
    2,477
    Ok then, which non-DIR cave training agency is the leader?

    And I disagree, unless being a member of the CDS is required to join major projects; like with GUE. Or they control access to all of the major caves, like the CDAA and other local cave diving organizations. CDS numbers would get even smaller as most instructors don't have a reason to be a member. @karstdvr can probably answer this, how many paying members does the NFSA have? I am willing to bet that it is a fraction of the CDS, even though they have a visible direct impact on all North Florida cave divers, and the cost is over half of the CDS's fee. Yours and @rddvet seem more likely that it would kill the CDS than actually help it.

    And I would like to know how they are alienating other divers. Many of the newer cave divers don't even know that they exist. They are hardly like the GUE with the cult like devotion that can and actually has alienated divers.

    I am willing to bet that most of those instructors also issues certs from other agencies. In fact one questionable instructor that comes in mind, while being a CDS instructor, primarily issues other agency's certs.

    Now as mentioned above, outside of training there is little reason for a normal person to want to join the CDS. If they want to expand membership numbers beyond just instructors, then they need to give people a reason to join the organization. Perhaps by being more like the CDAA by being working with landowners to improve access, by running projects, and other programs. But I think that the CDS can do this side by side with their training program. The CDAA does this and so does the GUE.
     
  8. Capt Jim Wyatt

    Capt Jim Wyatt Hanging at the 10 Foot Stop Staff Member ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: High Springs - Cave Country
    2,870
    2,151
    What prevents this from happening in conjunction with a training program?
     
    jlcnuke likes this.
  9. tbone1004

    tbone1004 Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    18,776
    11,284
    @Manatee Diver none of the agencies are the leader, and that's perfectly OK. Why would getting out of training kill the CDS? They have a very small number of instructors, and until they gave a free membership to new students, I bet the 1,000 members that the CDS has minus the lifetime memberships and minus the free memberships is a shockingly small number.
    The argument that new diver training was what kept membership alive is what was used to keep the training side in the past, but I bet if you pulled all of their tax dox like we did when the NACD was dying, you'd see a steady decrease in the number of active members over the last 10 years.

    Alienating is admittedly a poor word choice for it, but your point that many of them don't even know it exists is part of the problem. If the instructors don't see a need to be a member of the CDS, then why would they tell their students about it? Instead, many of them talk about the NFSA and the awesome things they do, particularly at Peacock and Madison. If instead they were able to say "hey, you should give $15 to the NFSA because they support the state park sites, and you should also give $15 to the CDS because it holds these two awesome conference every year, they make sure that the caves have good lines and markers in them, good steps/benches at the surface, and whatever else they do, then I think you would actually get all of the instructors to push their students to join.

    If the CDS instructor is primarily issuing certs for another agency, it is proof that they don't believe in the CDS...


    Nothing in theory, but if the focus of the organization is on training like it is now, then it diverts focus of resources towards training and away from everything else. There is no point in the CDS continuing training because they haven't been the leader in quality training in a very long time and won't do anything to fix it *of note that none of the other agencies are any better and it would be entirely impractical to attempt to fix it*, so if they aren't doing anything different or better than any other agency, why continue to focus time and money on something that isn't going to have any return? Focus instead on the things that will actually bring good to the community.
    They can stay relevant in the training world by continuing to evaluate training safety standards similar to the RSTC, look at conservation specific type training that the other agencies will never do and work as a force to actually unite the entire cave diving community. That fulfills the articles of the constitution regarding education for increased awareness, safety, and skill in cave diving.
     
  10. Capt Jim Wyatt

    Capt Jim Wyatt Hanging at the 10 Foot Stop Staff Member ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: High Springs - Cave Country
    2,870
    2,151
    *OR* they want their students to get their cert cards timely. I did a NSS-CDS cave class ending 14 December 2020, I submitted it the next day and my student got his card on 19 February 2021.

    Whenever I submit a TDI cert the student gets an e-mail of a temporary card with a few hours, and then a hard card a few days later.

    *SO* Yes some don't believe in that part of the CDS program, but as I stated a few posts back this will improve very soon.
     

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