It don’t need to be no deeper, it’s finders keepers – Mabel – A great tune!
A few months ago, i posted this on facebook
“Went looking for something this morning on a secret mission. First run, lost my damn compass, which is embarrassing having labeled all the other recent “losers” as “tossers”
Second dive went back and found it along with 2 more anchors! So not quite a member of the tossers‘ club just yet – well in that sense anyway…”
This post caused a bit of outrage, from people who really had no idea to what it referred to, seemingly because i was “being mean”. I’ve now since discovered that a couple of their mates had lost things this year and as such took offence and called me names. Which we’ve learnt from the modern political scene, is the first tactic of those that cannot debate someone with facts and knowledge. In fact, when this was pointed out, they deleted their comments which pretty much proves my point.
What the post actually related to is twofold…
First, there is a long-standing joke / banter between a few groups of active divers about losing shot-line anchors when wreck diving. The post above was related to this banter because i had actually found 2 anchors, which adds to my total of about 10 found this year while others have lost several. The anchors found were actually owned by a fisherman mate and have now been returned to him.
Secondly, there had been a recent spate of losses by some of the guys. The bloke i was diving with that morning had dropped a stage over the side while gearing up to dive the Bizon. Another had clipped a hang-tank with one of my regs attached to a lazy-shot on another wreck dive. Mistakenly he had clipped it to the wrong part of the line resulting in it working itself free during the dive and falling to its doom never to be seen again. There were several more this year, but you get the gist.
I believe that there is an important lesson here, which goes beyond just not losing your stuff…
There is a growing teaching method in the industry, that uses “absolute positive reinforcement” techniques. This is a teaching method, where all students are only ever given praise about the things that they are doing right, and never given negative feedback about things that they are doing wrong – yes i said it “wrong” it happens, we all make mistakes, especially when we are learning!
Now, this method might make you loved as an instructor by forming a circle of confirmation bias. By this i mean that you are a fantastic student / diver, so I must be a fantastic instructor. To say otherwise you might have to admit that you are not a very good student / diver and nobody wants to do that. There is nothing wrong with this, everyone feels warm and fuzzy inside, right?
The problem is that as divers, we are in constant battle with nature, while at the same time trying to harness physics to help with that battle. Your instructor and fellow divers might tell you that you are great, but nature won’t care about your super-made-up skills.
If you need to stop to adjust or fix something during a dive and the tide is running, it wont care and will continue to run.
If the gas pressure in your lungs is less than the water pressure outside, then the water will enter your lungs and you will drown.
Nature does not care and it will not feel emotion, it does what it does because of the laws of physics to which it abides. Period.
When it comes to equipment, sometimes shit happens, but most of the time it is a lack of something that causes the issue.
It could be a lack of knowledge in the equipment. Maybe it was bought over the internet, without the input of a suitably knowledgeable person and it’s not fit for purpose. Or perhaps the kit is fine, but it’s been fitted or attached wrong.
Was the problem due to lack of maintenance or pre-dive inspection. I’m constantly amazed by the lengths people will go to just to save a few quid, remember, this stuff keeps you alive!
Are you properly trained or drilled in the kit. I’m definitely not saying that you need to do a course for absolutely everything, but have you tried it in the shallows in several different configurations before choosing what is best for you and have you consulted with your peers about that choice.
For an over the side drop, was it because the weather was too rough and you were falling about as the boat rolled, should you have been out there in the first place. Were you struggling on your own, because you’re stubborn, or are the rest of your team too selfish to help.
Was the kit that you were using suitable for the type of dive that you are doing. It’s all well and good taking 3 spares of everything, but sometime KISS is the best option. Are the bobbers on your line big enough to stay on the surface in the expected (or not expected) tide. Is your SMB visible, or is it one of those (banned from my boat) yellow ones, or even worse stupid fucking 2 colour ones.
These are the sort of things that you need to be thinking about for every dive, regardless of what type it is. It’s obviously not exhaustive and i don’t think that you could ever document everything that might go wrong.
It’s all well and good giving someone nice words and a hug when things don’t go perfectly, but you are doing them a disservice. What you should be doing, is figuring out what went wrong, and how it can be avoided next time. Before there comes a time when there is no next time.
Everyone will be better divers in the end, and isn’t that the whole point?