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SCUBA DIVING :: FORUMS :: EDITORIALS :: WAVE DANCER

I am not a "whore"...

Ken Elkins - Captain/Instructor
June 2, 2003 03:49:28

Norwalk wrote "The buddy system was NOT a factor in the deaths of 20 Wave Dancer passengers and crew."

I NEVER said it was. You are using this incident to try and prove that the main reason the Palau accident happened was because she was on a Dancer boat.  No one forced her into the water and no one has yet said why she died three days after being revived.  But a competent Buddy should have recognized she was having a problem.

Norwalk wrote "The buddy system was NOT a factor in the Galapagos Aggressor incident in which the vessel left port without required emergency safety equipment (a mere life raft)."

I NEVER said it did. And what does this have to do with the unfortunate lady on the Palau Dancer boat? We just returned from the Turks and Caicos Aggressor boat and it had enough safety equipment for more than twice the number of guests it could carry. I wasn't on that Galapagos boat and had I been I probably would have made a stink too.

Norwalk wrote "The buddy system was NOT a primary factor in the recent deaths of two Aggressor customers at Cocos Island and a Dancer customer in Palau.  In fact, those deaths clearly demonstrate the limitations of the buddy system, which often breaks down in high-speed drift dives."

I NEVER wrote about this incident. And how do you know that the Buddy system failed in Cocos? Were they buddies? Maybe.

Norwalk wrote "The primary cause of the Dancer death in Palau was the fact that Hughes (Diving Inc) put novice divers into ripping currents on the second day of their dive and expected them to safely deploy equipment (reef hooks tied to their BCs), with which they had no training or experience."

What is a Novice diver?  Was she?  Maybe she was convinced that her past experience and certification level put her in the Advanced level groups.  Do you tell a certified diver that they can't do a dive just because their 100 dives aren't enough?  Where was her Buddy? Why did the Divemaster need to "finally come over and assist her to the surface?"--there are too many unanswered questions?

Norwalk wrote "Citing the buddy system to point the finger of blame at novice divers while excusing bad dive op policies that unnecessarily endanger lives is typical of dive industry apologists/whores and does nothing to further dive safety."

I am NOT an "apologist/whore". And I'm not a an advocate allowing a diver to make a dive at a site I know would be unsafe for him or her . . . but I am also not their baby sitter.  If their log book says 100 plus dives and their last dive was just a few weeks ago then who am I to say no.  The idea of doing the dive in Palau is part of what they paid for in the first place. It is a very exciting dive.

Remember that I am NOT a "whore".  A Retired Military Officer? YES.  A USCG licensed Captain and Marine Engineer? YES.  A Scuba Instructor? YES.  Concerned about how accidents happen? YES. Employed by Hughes or Hasson? NO.  Willing to slam all boats of a particular fleet because of one bad experience? NO. Willing to sit back and let some alleged Boat Captain in Alabama call me a "whore"? NO.  Willing to be target for all of those wanting to ruin my favorite sport just because they don't like Hughes and Hasson?  YOU BET.

Norwalk wrote "The buddy system is NOT failsafe and it is NOT a substitute for adequate training and experience. Be sure you teach that to your students Ken."

I NEVER said it was. And I do teach that continued training and experience is important.  I don't just teach the "wanna be" diver. I teach Advanced, Rescue, Divemaster, Photography, Rebreather, Nitrox just to name a few.  And I will dive as a Buddy with anyone who feels a little rusty with their skills.

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