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Spin Off: Do you refuse to dive with a DM/quide in a new location?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Teamcasa, Jul 22, 2008.

Use of a DM/guide on new locations

  1. I follow the charters rules.

  2. I don’t use charters that require me to dive with their guides.

  3. I talk to the charter and ask to dive (w/buddy) apart from the guide.

  4. Once I hit the water, I do what I want.

  5. I only dive with DM/guides (new locations).

  6. I try to annoy/prove to the DM/guide that I don’t need their help.

  7. I never travel to exotic dive locations. Local Diving Only.

  8. I dive solo.

  1. peterbj7

    peterbj7 Dive Shop Owner Rest in Peace

    # of Dives:
    Location: San Pedro, Belize and Oxford, UK
    Legally here all dives must be accompanied by a registered dive guide. In practice if I have divers I know to be competent and safe I'll allow them to do their own thing under water, so long as they adhere to the overall dive plan. If anybody just "does their own thing" underwater without prior arrangement, and thereby creates inconvenience or worse for staff or other divers, that'll be their last dive with me.

    When I go diving as a tourist in other areas I follow local custom and rules. I will never "refuse" to dive with a guide, though I may try to avoid it.
  2. ClayJar

    ClayJar ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Baton Rouge, LA
    I suppose I have a more diplomatic sense of self than some people. If the rules are set, I will play by the rules. If during a dive I have to make a choice where following the rules would result in a patently unsafe situation, I will make the necessary choice to avoid the unsafe situation, fully expecting there to be repercussions anywhere from weighty discussions possibly as high as staying dry. I will not argue the rules, as I chose to follow them. In choosing to break them, even for my own safety, I would be making the fully-informed decision that the benefits to my safety outweigh the consequences of breaking the rules. However, I refuse to begin a dive knowing there exists a conflict with the rules whereby I cannot make the dive within my parameters of safety and enjoyment.

    Certainly, there are places that I may choose to avoid due to particular rules or likely situations. I would much rather dive a site that aligns with my personal preferences rather than a site that requires me to squeeze through loopholes.

    The edge case would be a site with unpublished surprising rules. If I'm already on a boat, and suddenly they tell everyone that pony bottles make you stupid and are therefore prohibited, I would be quite unhappy. I've been bitten by unpublished jack-in-the-box rules before at some inland sites, with the results being some of my least-enjoyed dives. In many cases, I have no desire to return.

    Basically, as long as the rules are out there, if you want to do the dive, you follow the rules. Sure, you may not be able to do some dives in some places with some ops, as you don't want to follow their rules, but there's nothing that says everyone is entitled to dive everything everywhere. There is, after all, no fundamental human right to dive.
  3. Boxcar Overkill

    Boxcar Overkill Barracuda

    If one has a guide, they should stay with the guide.

    Because if one splits off from the guide, there's a chance they could be left floating by themselves in the water at the end of your dive. All it takes is one medical emergency that requires the guide to surface and take an injured diver and boat back to shore for treatment. It's much better to be with the group at that point, because nobody is going to go back down to look for the lone wolf who decided he wanted to do his own thing rather than stay with the group.

    Off course if you don't have a guide, that point is moot.
  4. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    When I travel, I dive with my own buddy, but I have always been happy to stay in the vicinity of a guide. Frequently, once the guide is happy that we are competent, he spends his time looking for the cryptic critters we wouldn't find on our own.

    I've had one or two experiences where it didn't work out too well . . . One where the guide ran us hard into a fast current for ten minutes, chasing a turtle, which resulted in a very short dive (yes, even I can run low on gas under those conditions!) and one where the guide took off much faster than anyone in our entire group wanted to go, and we simply decided, the five of us, to ignore him. We've also unnerved guides a couple of times by sharing gas. Otherwise, I would say that dive guides have been a net positive on the vast majority of our foreign travel dives.
  5. Teamcasa

    Teamcasa Sr. Moderator ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Near Pasadena, CA
    I would think all of us have dived with a Speedy Gonzalez DM/guide at least once. My experience with them generally goes like this:
    Me: “Say Mr. Torpedo, I don’t really care to race around the reef on the next dive. Do you mind if my wife and I just take it easy on the next one?”
    Mr. Torpedo: “Sure, (proceeds to map out the next dive and what to look for) some of the others (usually other photogs) have asked the same thing, can they join you?”
    Me: “Sure, How about sending Joe (the other DM/guide) to follow us?”
    Mr. Torpedo: “Terrific!”

    This sort of conversation works out most of the time.
  6. RJP

    RJP Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: New Jersey
    D.) None of the above

    Any of the issues/challenges that are commonly cited regarding "diving with a DM" can be entirely obviated by talking to the dive operator BEFORE SIGNING ON WITH THEM to assess what "the rules" are, convey what you would like to do/see/experience, and come to an understanding as to how the dive will be structured, planned, and led.

    If you board a cattle-boat that mandates each diver holds hands with two DMs for the entire 30minutes of two 40' max dives, it's really YOUR FAULT if you show up with two sets of trimix doubles, deco bottles and a scooter and get all ticked off that they won't let you do a 3hr solo dive to 230ft.

    I've never had a bad experience with any operator or even an individual DM because of the up front communication I make sure happens. Anyone worth their salt will work with you to ensure that you can either have the experience you want with them, or they will flat out tell you that you might want to find another operator. In fact if that's the case they will usually recommend exactly which one of their "competitors" is a better fit for what you're looking for.
  7. LeadTurn_SD

    LeadTurn_SD Solo Diver


    I answered that I'd follow the charters rules.... their boat, their rules.... but I always like to have a good idea what those rules are before going out with them. Then I can decide if it's something I'm "ok" with.

    Having said that, 90% of my dives have been shore dives, the rest evenly split between friends' boats and charters. So with relatively few charter dives, I have not had the DM horror stories that some people have had.
  8. String

    String Master Instructor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Grand Cayman
    Plenty of national variation. Im not aware of a single charter boat in this country that provides a DM to act as a guide. In other countries i didnt come across any outfits that didnt force one.

    Personally if someone can give me a damn good site brief i'd MUCH rather dive in a pair than a group. If you have to play follow-the-leader than obvious i have to abide by that on their boat.

    From the other side sticking my guiding hat on some divers are a complete nightmare who without a guide to nanny them would get lost and/or into trouble rapidly. Some can also destroy a fairly good group dive as well.

    So i can see the merits from either side.
  9. scubamickey

    scubamickey I'm a GIRL!

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Alaska
    I just avoid going with ops that insist on "follow me" dives. Cozumel was the exception and that was only because the designated DM was a friend and he followed "us". Same thing in Hawaii. Everyone went in the water at the same time but we were told do just do our own thing and be back in 60 mins.
  10. MauiScubaSteve

    MauiScubaSteve Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Olowalu, Maui
    The vast majority of charter diving in Hawaii is guided. There is debate as to whether it's a law, the term supervised is subject to interpretation in some eyes, but it is in the regulation and 99% of the charters have a guide for every 6 or less guest divers. As Charlie has stated; with familiarity, competent repeat divers usually have more leeway. Catherine's perspective is unique, as she is not only inteligent, head strong, experienced and stunning, she also usually has military back-up. Although no guide has ever spanked her, I'm sure others have contemplated it as well.

    Even shore diving, depending on the site, I would seek an experienced guide for the first dive or so. Some dives do not require a first time guide, some do (if you want to see the good stuff). I know for a fact that many arrogant experienced divers who come to Hawaii and only do non-guided shore dives have left Hawaii without having as good a dive as many non-certified resort intro divers.

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