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#3703
Non Professional divers taking very young children diving (even in a pool)
tstormdiver - 6/15/2015 6:22 PM
Category: Training
Replies: 21

This is the best category I have found to put this in. Had a guy come into the dive shop today wanting to get his 40 yr old regulator serviced (had not been serviced in over a decade) & was of a long obsolete brand (don’t remember what it was). After being told that we would not be able to service it, he looked around for a "cheap" regulator set & let it slip that he wanted to take his 8, 7 & 5 yr old grandkids diving in the family pool. Of course we suggested to him that his plan was not a good one & he shot back, "once I leave here you can’t control what I do". True enough,.. we can’t. We went over the potential risks, to which he would reply, " I was certified a long time ago & I’m an experienced diver". When asked how much/ often he dove, he replied that he dove once or twice a year in his pool, but had not been open water diving in over a decade. Then asked to rent a tank so that he could try to get his non functioning regulator working again. At this point knowing his intentions, we refused. Kind of a gray area, since he was a certified diver, but with knowing what he wanted to do,... it was decided that we could not risk the liability. Now, to the point,.... What are people’s thoughts on situations like this? Why do these people think they have enough knowledge/ skills to teach others to dive, when they likely barely can dive themselves- I refer back to the Eagle’s Nest fatalities that happened 2 yrs ago (an OW father & an uncertified son, while yes, in a cave, makes that even worse). Why are these people so willing to risk the safety of their loved ones? Although rare it is possible for someone to have a lung overexpansion injury, from holding the breath & ascending quickly in just a few feet of water. Unfortunately, this can be a very delicate subject to discuss with some people. Some you can get through to, some you can not
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NORTHEAST - 6/15/2015 6:33 PM
Tammy remember this guy is a expeirenced swimming pool diver. I think he knows what he’s doing :)
#3703
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tstormdiver - 6/15/2015 6:35 PM
Maybe I’m just too safety conscious?
#1269
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NORTHEAST - 6/15/2015 6:43 PM
You have an excuse your a cave diver. No your absolutely right. If he’s willing to do that what’s his next move? Open water?
#3703
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tstormdiver - 6/15/2015 7:07 PM
And you going into unstable metal structures, at depth, miles from shore is any less sane? :)
#3703
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tstormdiver - 6/16/2015 1:39 AM
I agree 100%.
#2509
ram04769 - 6/16/2015 4:34 AM
I just got OW certified at the end of March and know that I’ve already forgotten some things. Guaranteed though that before I fly down to dive in October, I will be going over all of my materials again. I can’t imagine this guy thinking he can safely instruct others after a 10 year+ hiatus. Let alone that it was swimming pool diving and not open water. I’m just glad that I’m not a part of that family.
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dalehall - 6/16/2015 5:07 AM
That guy is an idiot. You were perfectly right in refusing to rent him the tank. I am a PADI Divemaster and I’m used to working with students in the pool. When my 8 year old wanted to "try diving" even with my experience, the only thing I let her do was breathe off the regulator in the shallow end while the tank was on the edge of our pool. (7 foot hoses) There was no "swimming" or moving around, just her breathing off the reg with me right beside her . I told her when she wanted to try the other stuff, we would go the shop and do an actual Discover Scuba class. Our kids/grandkids are our responsibility and to be reckless with the lives of those that trust is just stupid. (Stepping off soapbox now)
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LatitudeAdjustment - 6/16/2015 8:29 AM
You did the right thing, once he let the cat out of the bag if something had gone wrong the family would have come after you for not stopping it, not grandpa.
#10992
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Brian_V - 6/16/2015 8:31 AM
You did the right thing for sure! If you did rent him that tank after what he told you, and one of those children were injured/killed, you’d almost certainly be getting sued for it.
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Eric_R - 6/16/2015 9:10 AM
Knowing all the information your actions were correct.
#3703
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tstormdiver - 6/16/2015 9:12 AM
From dalehall: That guy is an idiot. You were perfectly right in refusing to rent him the tank. I am a PADI Divemaster and I’m used to working with students in the pool. When my 8 year old wanted to "try diving" even with my experience, the only thing I let her do was breathe off the regulator in the shallow end while the tank was on the edge of our pool. (7 foot hoses) There was no "swimming" or moving around, just her breathing off the reg with me right beside her . I told her when she wanted to try the other stuff, we would go the shop and do an actual Discover Scuba class. Our kids/grandkids are our responsibility and to be reckless with the lives of those that trust is just stupid. (Stepping off soapbox now)

I am an Adv. OW Instructor & you can bet that when I have children as students, I watch them like a hawk. I do let them have fun during the class, but it is very tightly structured & I follow SSI’s standard to the "T".
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BillParker - 6/16/2015 8:23 PM
When people fear a lawsuit you can’t even have an honest discussion.
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RockRat2008 - 6/17/2015 4:23 AM
Bill,

I think the discussion has been honest, even with the liability factor thrown in.

Most people here weighing in are either at the professional level in the SCUBA world or experienced divers that have logged hundreds, if not thousands, of dives.

I’ve been a DiveMaster for a few years now, diving for 20+ years, and will log 100+ dives a year routinely.

Working with kids when families come in to get certified scares the crap out of me. Most of them I have found to be both fearless and easily excitable. Learning the skills most of the time has been easy for them, often much easier than the parents learn them. Stressing the dangers and getting them to understand the safety behind it can be a bigger challenge.

The thought of any diver I have been in the water with getting hurt or killed is a bad one, but having a child die would break my heart.

Ultimately that was the decision that was at stake here - Was someone with out of date equipment, out of date skills (1-2 times a year in a pool is not diving), and out of date knowledge (b/c things have changed in the last 10+ years since he got certified) making the right decision in putting 3 kids under the age of 10 in a pool with SCUBA gear?

The clear answer is no. My professional opinion is if I know you are going to use gear in a way it wasn’t intended (and this qualifies in my opinion) then I am not going to rent you that gear.

drops .02 in the bucket

Michael
#3703
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tstormdiver - 6/17/2015 5:12 AM
Unfortunately Bill, the threat of lawsuits is a very real reality in today’s world. Why do you think you have to fill out so much paper work whenever you dive with any operation (unless a standing waiver has been signed). Why do you think it stops an honest discussion? I opened this thread to conduct just that type of discussion.

Believe it or not I totally get why grandpa wants to take his kids diving in a pool. Most divers are excited about the sport & want to share it. Nut the issue is that most regular divers are not aware of the "what if’s" that could potentially occur. It is rare, but possible that if someone breathing compressed gas, freaked out, held their breath & popped up to the surface holding their breath, they could experience a lung overexpansion injury in only 3 ft (1m) water. Sorry, but that is simple gas laws & human respiratory physiology. This can cause serious injury or even worse.

Case in point, I had an 11 yr old boy in a recent class. He had been doing very well & was solid in his skills. On the last night, while clearing his mask, he didn’t tuck his chin while drawing a breath to complete clearing his mask. As a result, he took a big snoot of water. I saw his eyes go wide & instantly grabbed his BC,... I knew what was going on. He bolted for the surface & spit out his regulator (holding his breath). I Took his regulator, pushing the purge button , giving it back to him, he took it. We made a slow,controlled ascent to the surface. He coughed a few times to clear his air way,.. settled down & we dropped back down a couple minutes later & he had no further issues. It was a text book panic. Do most regular OW divers know how to handle such a situation or detect stress in the novice diver? A panic attack can be VERY violent. I’ve been punched, kicked, shoved, had my mask ripped off, regulator ripped out. Can any regular Open Water diver handle all that at 1 time? No, instructors & professionals are not magical beings with super powers, but we have been (or should be) well trained to handle such situations.

Would you trust someone (even your own parent) who wants to do something good, but has not kept up his own skills, using vintage equipment (that in our case was not functioning properly) to take your own children into a an environment that, while fun, is not a human’s normal environment? I am not saying there are not OW divers that could teach others to dive, but under the circumstances,... would you be willing to risk the safety of your 5, 7 & 8 yr old children?
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Brian_V - 6/17/2015 7:10 PM
From BillParker: When people fear a lawsuit you can’t even have an honest discussion.

Bill, I don’t know what that means? Maybe you’re not aware that there are law firms completely dedicated to pursuing dive incident/accident cases. Since every dive professional carries $1,000,000.00 of liability insurance, they descend like vultures on the families of injured divers each time an accident occurs. So it’s not a case of fear here, it’s a cold hard fact that every dive professional must be aware of, and accept, that if an incident does occur they WILL be sued. If you can’t live with that, it’s time to bow out of being a dive professional or never become one.
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daz88 - 6/17/2015 8:05 PM
not worth your hassle to rent a tank to this guy. Would have done the same thing.
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lerpy - 6/18/2015 5:13 AM
Regardless of the risk of lawsuits I would not rent for my own ability to sleep at night. Hate to the guy and something happens. This type of thing is rediculous, and just the approach I want the cheapest possible. I wonder if he was getting a heart surgeon he would want the cheapest one possible.
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NORTHEAST - 6/19/2015 8:15 PM
That’s how it all starts. First the pool. Then the lake then the damn ocean. Not good! And Tammy I guess your right. I dive steel caves. You dive rock caves. But I still have to say yours is still a little more risky! And after watching sanctum I think our nuts. Hahaha