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What to do with an inexperienced instabuddy?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by absolute_mess, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. Tigerman

    Tigerman Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Norway
    Had an instructor whos also a tech diver (and now teach some tech infact) do the same trick in the red sea, only he didnt realize untill we where at 30 meters that there was something wrong.
    The guy he signaled was all "yeah, right, youre kidding, right?" but he wasnt.
    Between being very busy with guests on the boat and a gauge needle that stopped working he thought it was gas in there tank he forgot to swap between dives - and obviously that was wrong :p
  2. victorzamora

    victorzamora Solo Diver


    Yeah. Me, too. I'll PM you.
  3. kmerrill

    kmerrill Garibaldi

    # of Dives:
    Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
    I am a working diver in the inshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean, (Bay of Fundy). While every dive through the winter is solo, because you can't urchin dive elbow to elbow with a partner, and the visibility is crap in most places where we work, I still have an idea of my partners' whereabouts. It's my position that I will never leave the water without my partner. If I run out of air, I will get another tank and go find him/her, as the case may be. On a recreational dive like you've described I think I would have dragged her by the scruff of the neck, (or first stage), to your deco. stop and dumped the air out of her BC for her so she wouldn't embolize. But that's just me, I don't have patience for stupidity or ignorance.
  4. Dhboner

    Dhboner DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Toronto
    I don't do "instabuddys" anymore. I consider even recreational diving to be a high risk sport and I will not put my life in the hands of someone I don't know and have no reason to trust. On the rare occasions when I vacation dive I am with one of my sons at all times (we dive as a team at home). If I were to find myself without a buddy on a dive boat I would very politely and diplomatically let the DM or captain know my concerns and that I would prefer to dive with the DM or without a buddy. If that wasn't practical or allowed I would likely pass on the dive. I know that sounds a bit extreme but I have found myself in a few situations in the past where an "instabuddy" was such a cluster F$#&k that I spent the entire dive keeping an eye on them and preparing for the worst case scenario.
  5. biscuit

    biscuit Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: Arizona
    Well...hmmm... I haven't posted in quite a while, but since you asked...
    My number one rule with new, inexperienced buddies, as well as those with hundreds of hours U/W, is still the original rule of all rec diving: plan the dive and dive the plan. Then if we can't stick to it on a first dive, there won't be a second.

    Our pre-dive discussion has to include agreements on basic communication signals-- look there, can't clear ears, buddy up, how much air remaining, there's discomfort or an equip problem, how close we need to stay to one another and things like that. We have to agree in advance on when to surface based on time down or air left. And we don't make exceptions once we're in the water. I always have a slate and pencil clipped to my BC and take notes while we're talking. Actually, I also carry a 2nd smaller one or the type that fits on the wrist, and after I make a note or two I offer it to my buddy as if it just occurred to me that he/she might like to jot down some things too. I find that buddies really do pay attention to their notes while we're moseying around below, whereas they might not remember what we agreed to otherwise. On the other hand, if the new buddy doesn't write down anything at all, I think to myself Steeerike one! And no cameras on our first dive.

    Another thing I do is stay above about 50 feet so that a buddy's unintended pops to the surface aren't as hazardous as from twice that depth. I would never descend below 60 feet with a new diver; IMO, deep dives (80+) need to be done in a structured situation with an instructor or a whole herd of DMs who are getting paid to handle problems, not during my pleasure dives.

    In that same vein, I'm not going to 100' with even an experienced diver who is nonetheless a stranger to me-- not on our first dive I won't. I don't think there's any question that your buddy was narc'd and I'm wondering if your aggravation with her earlier behaviors caused you to miss that likelihood? Seemingly agreeing with you to rise, yet dropping down instead, is a pretty classic symptom, as is speeding up and slowing down without reason (such as following a fish, for example). Yet another symptom is acting as if nothing is wrong or upsetting, as she apparently acted when you found her on the boat. Narcosis can affect short term memory in some people so she might not have even noticed taking off without you near the end of the dive.

    Missing out on a dive sure beats participating in unsafe practices with questionable partners, if only because losing a dive isn't the worst that can happen.

    Dhboner likes this.
  6. Derek S

    Derek S Divemaster

    I've not posted in quite some time, and I didn't read much beyond your initial post, AM, but I'll throw my .02PSI into the ring.

    As some others have stated, when paired with an instabuddy, it's always good to have a pre-dive briefing to kinda set the ground rules. That said, some divers aren't receptive to it at all, and some nod in agreement on the surface, but do something completely different once you're wet.

    At the end of the day, YOUR safety is paramount. Yes, it's great that you cared enough for this total stranger that you risked your own health to make sure she was ok, but there's no sense in there being two ill/dead divers because one was too stubborn/inexperienced to do what was needed.

    IMHO, that diver should not have an advanced cert. The OP that sold her that cert (yeah, I said it), was only thinking about profit. The DM(s) or instructor(s) that were with her on those cert dives should have seen her inexperience/lack of regard for safety and made the right choice to do some remedial training before issuing the card.

    Like others have said, plan the dive, dive the plan. And when that goes sideways, it is imperative that you do what you need to do to ensure your safety. If you can help your instabuddy too, so be it.
  7. diverscubapro

    diverscubapro Angel Fish

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Bergamo IT
    well..what can i say ? it's a situation that i live every time i dive in boat of commercial operators...i don't have a fixed buddy and my mate don't come in water (even in boat) at all....so every time i have a different buddy. Sometime ood, sometime bad, sometime very stupid...I have know a amn in spain and after 20 years we dive together and we are strong friends...

    My approacch to Scuba diving is very far in time..i dive from my age of 14th...and the first rule was : be conscious of what you are doing and your life first ! This for me me means : you have to solve if possible your problems from yourself and never risk your life for others...sure if they are stupids ! In effect, your buddy is a freh diver and have to "listen" your suggestions...if not, remember : is YOUR dive ! maybe i am too strong but....Another thing... i come out from water often with 30 bars...sometime with 20...rarely with ten...but i know what i am doing ! The rule to cut-off the dive at 100 for me isn't a reasonable rule...it depend on the dive.
  8. Don Quixote

    Don Quixote Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Taipei, Taiwan
    My thoughts:
    - Noticed that most on-the-spot buddy pairs hardly stay together during the dive. But all have a common reference, the dive master, which is not mentioned in your post.
    - Even with my permanent buddy (wife), we do get into a bit of misunderstandings every now and then even after over 80 dives. We discuss and try come out with preventive measures.
    - Solution to the photography problem - Only one should do photography during the dive. The other has to take care of navigation, depth and air time.
    - Force each other to report on air pressure - a shake on the fin to get attention, two fingers on the palm to signal for air pressure report.
    - Force to move or ascend - shake on the fin for attention, signal direction, hands crossed to signal the other to stop taking photos and get moving.
    - Most new divers have problem with buoyancy - If he is swimming downward dangerously, touch the arm to get attention, grab the top of his tank and orient him to the right direction. At a safer depth, force check buoyancy by taking a superman flying position then index finger point to the buddy to do the same thing.
    - Deploying SMB - signal an open palm (five) to ask him to stop, two fingers to the eye and point to your chest to signal him to watch you. Then, deploy the SMB.

    Need a lot of pre-dive discussion with the buddy as others have pointed out. Overall, really need a lot of above and underwater communication. And, discuss problems in-between dives and agree on a preventive measure.

    - Don Quixote


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