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Look beyond advertising and hype--look at how the operation is run...

Greg Storey - Recreational Diver
August 11, 2002 at 15:07:26

I have dove liveaboards around the world, and can tell you that the attitude toward safety in other places is different than what I have read on this website. On a trip to Australia in April and May 2002, I did a boat that went out into the Coral Sea. We were having a great time, the best diving anyone on the boat had done in their lives.  Seas were dead calm.

At the end of the second day, the captain told us we were going to head back in to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) for shelter (meaning we were going back to the GBR a day early) as high winds were predicted for the next day. Everybody grumbled and griped, and could not understand why.

The next day (behind the relative shelter of the GBR) we all found out why. We would have had our butts kicked if we had stayed out there! We had 8 foot seas inside the reef. Here we see an example of a captain who understood his duty to keep our safety as the paramount concern. He did not let how the passengers felt influence anything.

A week later, with the winds still up, I went out on a second (different liveaboard), which was supposed to spend one day out in the Coral Sea. We never went outside the GBR the whole time, to the disappointment of all passengers (except me - I now knew better). Wave Dancer and the Aggressor (in my opinion) should have NEVER left port, given a storm was approaching and building in intensity.

This whole thing of course comes down to money.  Operators like the ones described here seem to fear disappointing passengers by canceling or modifying the trip. And they sure won't give the money back, which leads to passengers putting the pressure on to get what they paid for.

I agree with many of the opinions I have read in the forum, and believe it is incumbent upon all of us to look beyond advertising and hype, and look at how the operation is run.  When people in charge order passengers and crew to stay on board in a potentially life threatening situation, when I read about a vessel (Galapagos Aggressor) going out with insufficient life rafts (didn't we learn from the Titanic?), when I read a statement on this web site by a former Dancer captain expressing doubts about the front office and the qualifications of the captain involved in this event, and when I read statements made about being safer on water than in an inland shelter during a hurricane, I think I get a pretty clear picture.

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