The burden is on each one of us to make the final call...
Ian S - Instructor/University Administrator
October 30, 2004 at 16:29:20
Check this out Richard from CDNN's editorial "The Lessons of the Wave Dancer Deaths":
"In the long run, it's your neck, and history tells us that it is unrealistic to simply assume that a commercial industry will invariably give top priority to public safety when it comes to choices that affect the 'bottom line'."
And from the same editorial:
"Let us hope that apathy, corporate lawyers and the moral deficiency that persuades some to turn a blind eye to mistakes will not hamper the investigation into what actually caused the death of 20 passengers and crew aboard Wave Dancer. Let us hope that if the Wave Dancer tragedy was caused by corporate greed, human error, negligence or just simple stupidity, as is often the case in passenger vessel accidents, the lessons will be studied, learned and applied to a dive industry that defiantly resists safety regulations despite growing evidence that it is entirely incapable of regulating itself. Let us also admit that while global safety standards will certainly help to enhance live-aboard diving safety, the Wave Dancer tragedy will not be the last live-aboard accident. As one maritime safety official puts it, 'You can't beat human greed and error.'"
Says it all doesn't it? Because "it's your neck" and because it's "a dive industry that defiantly resists safety regulations despite growing evidence that is is entirely incapable of regulating itself", clearly the burden is on each one of us to make the final call. Never leave the final decision about your own safety to a boat owner, a captain nor the consensus opinion of a dive club group.
The mistake Hughes made is that he had no mandatory hurricane response plan that required evacuation of the passengers. The mistake the passengers made is that they deferred judgement to Hughes, the man with no plan.
No hurricane evacuation plan but plenty of "we're the best" hype citing the Wave Dancer - yes, still the Wave Dancer - as the 5-star live-aboard that set the luxury standard. From the main page of Peter Hughes' web site as of October 30, 2004:
"In 1992, Peter introduced the M/V Wave Dancer which raised the bar for luxury scuba diving live-aboards. Wave Dancer hit the dive travel scene, providing the kind of overall experience and luxury found in five star resorts. A lot has happened since 1986, but one thing is true… the Dancer Fleet today, continues to set the standard for luxury live-aboard diving. If you want the best, choose the Dancer Fleet."
"Raised the bar for luxury" and lowered the boom on fun-loving tourists lobotomized by crude marketing hype and anesthetized by 5-star resort comfort.