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Story about deaths @ Dutch but being complacent anywhere is not good.
LatitudeAdjustment - 7/27/2015 11:09 AM
Category: Health & Safety
Replies: 9
Greg - 7/27/2015 1:52 PM
"Some say it’s the training — or lack thereof — and not businesses such as Dutch Springs that are more likely to lead to dives that result in accidents or death."

This point should be investigated further...not the placement of signs with the number of people that have died.
Eric_R - 7/27/2015 5:28 PM
I don’t recall seeing any signs telling me how many people have died on the roads I drive everyday.
You can die participating in any sport. Every sport has a certain level of risk and you know those risks before you participate. That actual risk is often reduced by the knowledge gained from previous injuries or deaths but you can’t remove it all. I wonder how many people have been killed in route to Dutch Springs. You might as well make them liable for those also. If I dive in a local lake from a public access and get killed, can my family sue the state because they provided access? Seems no different. Now if I was killed because the dock collapsed on me while entering the water then I would think there would be case for neglect.
LatitudeAdjustment - 7/28/2015 5:10 AM
Yes the training used to be more until they split up the course, for those of you who don’t know the old PADI/YMCA/LA "Certified Diver" course would be equal to a Master Diver today.

I’m not sure I buy the training side of the story but the writer probably isn’t a diver and I applaud him for not calling them oxygen tanks. Most diving deaths are medical emergencies that just happen to happen underwater and most likely the diver knew he had a problem and kept diving anyhow.

The other is we get complacent, I knew a diveboat Captain of a well known east coast diveboat with thousands of dives who was diving solo, got tangled and drown on a Jersey wreck.

I’ve talked here before about a dive travel agent also with thousands of dives who streamlined his kit to the point he had no signaling devices and drifted in the Galapagos for 1:44 before we found him.

None of these has anything to do with what quarry, lake or ocean you are diving and everything about we are exploring a hostile environment and it will kill you if you don’t pay attention. I’ve had a couple of cars that tried to kill me and I slipped off a cliff I was free climbing. Life is like that, if you don’t pay attention it will bite you :(
tstormdiver - 7/28/2015 6:25 AM
I can not say I agree with your statement that most diving deaths are attributed to medical issues. I would say it is all a combination of: 1. Inadequate training- I’ve seen OWSI’s that I would not pass for my OW class. If the instructor themselves can not dive, then how can some unsuspecting student know how to dive? 2. The "dumbing/ watering down" of courses- Agencies tend to go with "Anyone can learn to dive". Since I am an affiliated instructor, I don’t get much say on who I teach & cringe when I have a junior,... In most cases (not all) 10-14 is a bit young & immature IMO. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the "family activity" thing,... but the maturity of the kid should be taken into consideration before signing them up & rarely is. The courses are also so worked down because of the busy schedules of the students,.... it is difficult to give them all the information they need. There are some that if they could earn their certifications in 1 hr, they would.... The instant gratification, thing. 3. Divers diving well beyond their training. I’ve seen 2 versions of this. First version is the ignorant diver who either does the dive, or blindly follows the dive leader into situations in which they do not belong, without a clue to what they are getting themselves into. They don’t know, what they don’t know. The second version is the diver that believes they don’t need any additional training or any stinking, money grubbing instructor to teach them how to do very advanced diving safely,... with the mentality of "the pioneers did it without training". True,... but how many of those pioneers are still around? Not many,... Most paid the ultimate price for developing that kind of diving. Why reinvent the wheel? I am not saying that there aren’t divers that could teach themselves,.... but it is generally very far & few in between. 4. Complacency- Yes, it does kill. As a cave diver, I found this past spring that I was becoming complacent with my dives. I got a wake- up call in April when we arrived at Ginnie Springs & found out that the night before, only an hour after we had left, that there was a fatality. That next morning, we arrived as some recovery team members brought out a scooter belonging to the deceased. For some reason, it struck me VERY hard,... I had to sit out a dive & collect myself. It made me really reflect on how I conducted my dives,... & I made adjustments to correct it. yes, I had done so many dives in Ginnie, that I had become too comfortable. That fatality, gave me the wake- up call I needed, before the unthinkable happened to me. 5. Medical, does happen, but not as often as other issues. 6. Other reasons for accidents in the water- improperly maintained equipment (rare, but it does happen). Inadequate equipment for the dives. I have seen tech divers that looked like they walked out of Fred Sandford’s junkyard, with stuff hanging everywhere, instead of being cleaned up & streamlined. I have seen some equipment "engineered" with so many potential failure points, it would make your head spin. Am I saying that every diver must have the newest, most expensive equipment out there? Absolutely not. But it should fit the complexity of the dive. Don’t bring a small claw hammer to a job that requires a 10 lb sledge hammer. Use the appropriate tools. To some degree in diving, there has to be some trial & error,.... but keep in mind, that in some kinds of diving the margin for error is very small. OK, OK, I’ll get off my soap box now. Anytime we lose a member of our diving community, for whatever reason, it is a loss. We need to investigate what happened & why it happened & learn the lessons about it.
tstormdiver - 7/28/2015 6:51 AM
I personally think that 1 death, is 1 death too many. Realistic? No.... but every death that can be avoided is a "win".
LatitudeAdjustment - 7/28/2015 10:04 AM
From tstormdiver: I can not say I agree with your statement that most diving deaths are attributed to medical issues.

I was just reading a dive boat Captains trip report on a NJ forum and he commented that most problems are medical but this year he has seen 3 equipment failures right after they had been serviced! NJ diving is deep, dark and your buddy is usually out of sight, this is why NJ boats require a pony set-up.

This is the reason I do shallow local dives with the gear before a trip, they are most likely to fail right after service, not with a hundred dives on them. Again, don’t get to complacent with your gear or skills.
tstormdiver - 7/28/2015 2:12 PM
Gotchya. I do quite a bit of quarry & cave diving. The quarries are dark, murky & cold,... not much (any) current. The caves generally have currents, but are crystal clear & warmer (68- 72 degrees). I service my own equipment, as I am our shops repair tech,... I do make it a habit to at least get into a pool after servicing my stuff, before taking it on a serious dive. Then again with 17 regulators, 18 cylinders 5-6 BC’s of various types... :)
BobW - 8/08/2015 4:17 PM
I agree that complacency can be a major issue perhaps more in experienced diver or new divers that are overconfident particularly when combined with panic . A few years ago there was a fatality on the Islander Wreck in the Saint Lawrence at the town of Alexandria Bay. The islander is a popular training site drawing folks from Syracuse and beyond. It starts in about 25 to 30 feet of water and is about 40 feet at the deepest point. It is a wooden wreck about 100’ long and well preserved due to the fresh water environment. It sits parallel to shore and about 50’ out from the entry stairs provided by the town for divers.

A diver from, I believe Pennsylvania, was attempting to excavate under the wreck if memory serves with a propulsion unit pushed under the wreck backwards. He had been asked to stop since instructors were there with classes and the vis was ruined by the sediment. He was also diving solo. His body was discovered later that day as the water cleared. He had become stuck partially under the wreck apparently when his buoyancy changed as his air supply was used at which point his BC snagged on the underside of the wreck. The person who recovered the body only had to push down to free it from the wreck. I do not know what certs he had but had heard he was an experienced diver but apparently once snagged he most likely panicked and consumed the last of his air in terror. I suspect that if he had not panicked he could have removed his BC and backed out of his eventual tomb.