Wallowing in mawkish sentiment, blaming big business...
Tim Price - Recreational Diver UK
March 18, 2002 at 07:02:19
It's a pity that incidents like these tend to show people at their worst - wallowing in mawkish sentiment, blaming "big business", inventing childish conspiracy theories and bleating for lawyers.
For instance, I wonder how many of the correspondents (and indeed the victims) would have been suing the pants off Hughes if he had aborted the trip rather than going ahead?
Of course it's a desperately awful thing to happen and a tragedy for the families and friends. Yet going on boats in tropical areas is inherently dangerous - it's not like going to Disneyland. Same with diving itself.
Most accidents (above and below the surface) happen because someone makes a wrong decision. The more unusual the situation, the higher the probability of a wrong decision (or series of them). The legal test for negligence is whether a reasonable person taking the decision in question would have done something different GIVEN THEIR EXPERIENCE.
And yes, let a court decide that as a matter of fact - and if the captain or the company didn't act on the basis of their best judgement in the light of information available, then award damages. By all means throw the book at them if they thought the risk was excessive but ran it anyway for some commercial benefit. Although, incidentally, this only seems to apply to the original decision to set off - after that it's hard to see how the decisions on where to shelter and how to moor the boat were subject to any commercial pressure.
In any event,don't go racing off to a pre-judgement of evil "big business". If international diving wasn't run for profit, we'd all be diving in the local gravel pit. Good diving is mostly in dubious counties with all the associated risks and complications that implies - if you can't hack that then you shouldn't go on the trips.
So let's all stop whining, behave with a bit of dignity, let the courts get on with it in a non-vindictive manner and accept the risks of the sport.
Incidentally - am planning on diving off Komodo Dancer in July but they are having trouble getting enough people to do the trip (perhaps not surprisingly in the light of the corresspondence below)
Is anyone else interested, bearing in mind that this is probably now the most safety conscious outfit in the world...?