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Suit filed in case of "Girl dead, boy injured at Glacier National Park

Discussion in 'Diving Litigation' started by Jim Lapenta, May 6, 2021.

  1. Esprise Me

    Esprise Me Kelp forest dweller Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    I get what you're saying, but at the same time, I don't think that what went wrong here had anything to do with what the course was called.

    One thing that definitely should have happened here was a pool session. Granted, an AOW course doesn't require that, and it makes sense that it wouldn't, since students taking an advanced class should be proficient in the basic skills they're building upon. It's been suggested in other threads that AOW should really be called OW II, or something along those lines, and I don't disagree--but would that have changed anything here? Is there any reason to think an OW II class would send students back to the pool?

    PADI and probably other agencies recommend a refresher course for any certified diver who hasn't dived in 6 months or more, and at least a local area orientation for anyone diving in different conditions from those in which they were trained. But why shouldn't an advanced course serve those purposes? Is a pool session a required part of a refresher course, or can those be done in open water?

    A pool session *is* generally a part of a drysuit course--if not a literal pool session, at least a chance to try it out in confined water vs. an essentially bottomless lake. But for the drysuit and all the mistakes made related to it*, this tragedy likely wouldn't have happened. After all, she'd already done a class in a similar environment with two wetsuits. All the other things that were wrong here probably wouldn't have led to her death if she'd been diving wet again, and fixing all those things might not have saved her if she were still diving a drysuit with no inflator hose and too much weight in her drysuit pockets. If the dive had occurred during the day, or she'd been given a light, perhaps the instructor would have noticed her distress, and perhaps she could have been rescued. Perhaps not. After all, Bob noticed and made efforts to save her, but was unsuccessful.

    *I'm including the weighting issues with those related to the drysuit. I think we can all agree that most people use a different and usually greater amount of weight with a drysuit, and so even if she did a weight check in her wetsuit(s) or lucked out and got an amount of weight she could work with, she still needed to do another weight check with the drysuit. Also, yes, she should not have been given so much weight in excess of her BC's lift capacity. BUT it seems like she "only" had about twice the amount of weight she should have had, maybe less. For all the debate about whether drysuit divers *should* use their BC or only their suit for buoyancy, if she'd been able to use both, she might still be alive.
    Bob DBF likes this.
  2. Seaweed Doc

    Seaweed Doc MSDT

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle, Washington State, USA
    Question for attorneys:

    Are stipulated facts included in the lawsuit that was filed? I assumed it's allegations that could be disputed?

    Presumably well-researched allegations likely to be accurate, but stipulated facts?
  3. rsingler

    rsingler Scuba Instructor, Tinkerer in Brass Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Napa, California
    @Esprise Me , you make my point for me.
    The presumption in our discussion is that she was a trained diver just adding a new skill. Or in the case of AOW, four new little skills. A night dive; an altitude dive; a drysuit dive; a "deep dive" (61 feet). Boom! She's a certified Advanced Open Water Diver!

    But she didn't have enough experience to do what she was "taught" in her first certification: call the dive. She received the lesson, but hadn't had enough near-misses to understand the importance of what she was taught the year prior.

    You can clearly point a finger regarding the proximate cause of death. But what set her up for it? Marketing BS.
    Rollin Bonz likes this.
  4. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    With me an AOW class participant, unless I was their OW instructor and know them and when the last dive was, will absolutely do a pool session before we do their OW dives for AOW. In a scenario like this, I would not have accepted her for AOW without doing at least one pool session.

    And knowing she had no cold water experience, given the water and surface temps in this location, we would likely have done a couple pool sessions, discussed exposure protection for diving cold water, then waited until spring for better conditions. At that point before we went to open water would do another pool session in the gear she was going to use, and then went and did a couple easy shallow non-class dives to see how those went.

    If she/we felt a drysuit was necessary we'd do the drysuit class before AOW, let her get some dives in with the drysuit, then do AOW.

    Would it cost more and take a lot more time? Absolutely. Would it be worth it? Given the outcome of doing it the way it was done, I'd say yes.

    My personal practice, if the diver has not been in cold water before in any way is to not take them into open water, even in a drysuit, if the temp is less than 60 degrees. I just feel it's better to ease into colder temps. 60 is pretty cold for many people the first time they experience it. 38-42 degrees is just downright scary to some people and detracts from the learning experience as a whole because of the focus on how cold it is.

    It wasn't the first time I had to do it in colder water, but the first time I had to remove and replace my mask in REALLY cold water was an experience I'll never forget. That was under the ice in my ice class. Before that the coldest was in the mid 50s. I'd been in mid 40 degree water but not in a class and didn't need to do a mask R&R. There is a difference between 55 and 38. Since then I've done it at the bottom of Lake Erie and some quarries and every time, I hate the thought of doing it.

    I can't imagine taking a new diver with little recent experience and none in cold water, into the water in these conditions without serious reservations and long discussions about the risks. Risks that honestly I would not be willing to take.
  5. rsingler

    rsingler Scuba Instructor, Tinkerer in Brass Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Napa, California
    Exactly, @Jim Lapenta !
    But what does it say on the cap of the guy or gal who graduated at the bottom of their IDC?

    That's why an AOW course within standards of a dusk dive in a cold lake after a successful single drysuit session in the pool with a working inflator hose is, IMO still a bad idea. The student would likely have survived, but the certification would have been garbage, given the diver's lack of experience. The Standards are too loose. Good instructors add their own prerequisites.
    Rollin Bonz likes this.
  6. dlofting

    dlofting DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Here in Vancouver there are really only two temperature ranges for diving. The heated pool or the ocean which is usually mid 40s year round. So yes the mask R&R is a bit of a shocker. The saving grace is that the open water training environment is on an extremely gentle slope and my class was in about 30 feet of water.
    Cdncoldwater and Marie13 like this.
  7. paddydiver

    paddydiver Registered

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ireland
    The same is true for scuba, and that includes the drysuit specialty. Someone who had been using a drysuit for years, with hundreds of dives in them, but had not taken the PADI introductory drysuit class, should not have to take (and pay for) a beginning class in order to teach it. (I am not saying that is what happened in this case.)[/QUOTE]

    But that is one of the Problems that need addressing with the PADI system. You need 20 drysuit dives to be a Drysuit instructor and you only need to sign a statement saying you have done the dives. 20 dives doesn't necessarily mean you are competent in a Drysuit never mind being competent to teach someone else.
  8. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    But that is one of the Problems that need addressing with the PADI system. You need 20 drysuit dives to be a Drysuit instructor and you only need to sign a statement saying you have done the dives. 20 dives doesn't necessarily mean you are competent in a Drysuit never mind being competent to teach someone else.[/QUOTE]
    Don't get me started with the self certificated instructors. That's such a disaster, especially sidemount. 20 dives doesn't mean you are competent at anything, despite the performance requirements tending to be fluff for most con ed courses.
    Rollin Bonz and paddydiver like this.
  9. Coztick

    Coztick Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: calgary
    After all the incompetence and disregard shown, I struggle to understand how this instructor couldn't pull off a rescue.
    Her ears hurt so she let the girl die instead? Sounds more like murder to me.
    I'm assuming there was ample time for rescue...I couldn't view the story...
    eleniel and Cdncoldwater like this.
  10. Lostdiver71

    Lostdiver71 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Jupiter, Florida, United States
    The training agencies do require at least an annual update, either in person or online, at a minimum. Some like SSI actually have a person at each dive shop assigned to make sure that instructors are up to date. PADI REQUIRES all Instructors to read the Undersea Journal and Quarterly training updates but many Instructors do not. In the past I have advised an Instructor that they were violating a standard and was asked when it had changed, it had changed almost 2 years prior at that point. They probably ignored the updates as many do even though it is required to read and follow them. Standards are minimum requirements, the training agencies constantly advise that consideration should be taken of multiple factors including conditions and the experience of the person taking the course. Taking somebody into a course without recent diving experience or an evaluation is inexcusable even though it is done many times without incident. One of the reasons that I left the industry is I was tired of shop owners trying to get me to take shortcuts on training and to recommend gear that was not right for the customer so that they could make that dollar. My goal was to train people properly and safely and to have them as repeat customers because of how I treated them, that would make everyone more of a profit in the long run and get more business through word of mouth. Out of all of the shops that I worked for only 1 is still in business and they are the only shop that not only never asked me to do anything unsafe but at the time that I worked for them they actively encouraged me to pursue continuing education and the Manager made sure that everyone read and understood the PADI quarterly updates.

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