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Do You Have A Diving Worldview?
Airworks - 10/13/2020 5:32 PM
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Category: Personal
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Do You Have A Diving Worldview?Over the years, I have become intensely committed to scuba diving as a way of training for many of life’s challenges. The knowledge, skill-set, and discipline involved in safe scuba diving help me in many ways even outside of my dive involvement.

A rather comical incident recently happened at work that serves as a great example of what I mean.

My defense contracting responsibilities require that I work the "graveyard shift". I am usually the only one around at that time (besides security guards). While using the toilet one morning at around 3 a.m., there was a complete power outage in the entire mall-sized building. I immediately sensed panic setting in, but my dive training in "black-out" situations (e.g. finding an object in 1’ of muck at a depth of 80’) helped me to remain calm and focus on breathing. I closed my eyes momentarily, and re-opened them in an attempt to adjust to the darkness, but there was no light source anywhere.

I finished restroom business slowly and deliberately, and stepped out into the adjacent hallway. There was a faint emergency red light on, so I carefully made my way back to my desk to grab a flashlight.

Power was restored about 45 minutes later.

That humorous episode could’ve gone terribly wrong from a hygienic standpoint, but my dive training experience kicked in when I needed it.

In my opinion, what are typically known as "fun" dives should be so much more than mere recreation. Many divers, including myself, look at EVERY dive as recreation AND training. At the very least, we become more comfortable in the water and with our own gear, making us increasingly confident in our abilities.

At the same time, however, we need repeated reminders that though the underwater world is beautiful and compelling, it also presents some rather harsh realities. We must approach each dive excursion with great humility, knowing our individual strengths AND limitations. The physical laws at work in submerged habitats should never be taken for granted. They are not merciful, and “bargaining” with them is a non-starter.

As the dive industry thinks of ways to increase scuba diver participation and how to reinvigorate inland diving (many statistics indicate a decade-long decline), please remember an important fact: the more we dive, the more we WANT to dive. The converse is also true: the less we dive, the more we think of reasons not to pursue it because other things will quickly fill up our limited time schedules and drain our financial resources.

I strongly encourage dive shop owners and managers to always put customer service first, particularly toward fully certified, capable, and practicing divers. In fact, I am firmly convinced priority should be given to them, because their consistent involvement and eager participation in scuba diving will continue to motivate and inspire novices and younger participants.

Maintaining a passion for living and a sense of wonder about the natural world tend to fade the older we get. That is an unfortunate reality. Life has a way of jilting us the more we live it.

To shop owners and managers: PLEASE help us maintain our passion for diving! Let us get wonder-struck and wet as often as possible. Cost effectiveness should always be considered from a business perspective, but focusing on meeting the diving needs and wants of good customers is a much worthier approach, and healthier for the overall dive industry in the long run.

In a very real way, dive shop owners and managers who operate and maintain inland quarry or lake dive sites and do not allow some weekly, or at least mid-week, dive opportunities for individuals who can make the time to get wet, are not fully embracing the chance to encourage and enhance that market segment. I’m a perfect example: as a defense contractor with a flexible time schedule, I would be the first in line to dive the local site on Wednesday’s just after lunchtime.

Let me move on to what the gist of this article is supposed to be.

I’ve offered some of my personal perspectives on what diving means to me, and have thought long and hard about whether or not I have a diving philosophy, or worldview.

I do.

For most of my young adult life, philosophic interests, particularly if they had a religious bent, meant nothing to me. In fact, I was a very practical atheist. Several years ago, I had an encounter that changed my life and the way I view the world. At this point, I am an unabashed believer in God and follower of Jesus the Christ.

So here’s the thing for me as a Christian who scuba dives:

When I’m in the water with a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, I am what I was intended to be. Fully aware that I am perpetually “in Christ”, and completely dependent upon Him for sustaining me even more than the tank and regulator are filling my lungs with vital and life-giving air (all graciously provided by Him anyway), it is not possible for me to be lost and die without the sure hope of eternal life with Him.

Because of Y’Shua, I can live courageously and without fear.

In life and in death, I remain in His Awesome Hands!

Al

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