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Re:'Buddy Up With Experience'

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New Member
Sep 12, 2000
In reply to your article ‘Buddy Up With Experience’: You seem to be saying that inexperienced divers should insist on being paired up with an experienced diver. I totally disagree, if you haven’t the experience to do a dive then don’t do it! A Buddy should be just that, someone to share the experiences of a dive with and assist you if you run into difficulties. A Buddy is not someone to rely on to rescue you on a dive you’re not up to.

Having learnt to dive in an SAA club the majority of my diving in the UK has been restricted by the abilities of novices, I’m not complaining I was a novice once myself. However when I have paid good money for a liveaboard, I’m not prepared to be saddled with someone who’s going ruin my dive by using up their air twice as quickly as me or screwing up and expecting me to bail them out.

As for responsibility that lies with the liveaboard operator they need to make sure everyone has the experience needed to carry out the dive safely. Inexperienced divers should be offered less challenging dives or not allowed at all rather than rely on the goodwill of the experienced divers.

Perhaps what is really being exposed is the worthlessness of these pieces of paper being issued by the likes of PADI. Do people really consider themselves Advanced Open Water divers when they can achieve this ‘qualification’ with less the ten dives?



Thanks for your post.

The aim of the editorial was not to suggest that in-experienced divers be a burden on a more experienced diver - but to hopefully make a few less experienced divers think before jumping in the water.

As a UK diver myself (BSAC) I have been at a point for the past several years where my qualification dictates that I should be looking after less experienced divers - infact 95% of all people I dive with are less experienced than myself...this is something that I chose when I decided to go above the BSAC Sport Diver qualification.

Once you reach a certain level you must accept the responsibilities of that post. Since the sport is coined as the "new" skiing - more an more divers are coming on board with "quickie" certs and it is up to the more established divers to look out for them. If we don't then Scuba, which is by nature a "Hazardous" sport will become "Dangerous" (yes there is a subtle difference).

Your right about the liveaboard operator having responsability for you and checking your qualifications, but under the water you and your buddy are responsible for each other - no matter how much the liveaboard operator would like to look after you.

In short, I believe that you must dive with people you are comfortable with, but if you have gone beyond the standard levels of "sport" diving, you have to take responsability (and the lesser fun!).

As far as PADI go, their qualifications are designed to be short, sweet courses that equip a new diver to dive in warm, water environments. For there, they are fine - for UK waters they pose a bigger problem due to differing conditions. Because of this there tends to be a negative view of PADI divers in the UK scene, which is possibly justified for cold water diving, but not (in my view) for warm water diving.

Anyway, the bottom line is that the editorial was designed to spark thought and conversation, which I hope it has done...

Stephan Whelan

Deeper Blue [ http://deeperblue.net ]
The Online Resource for the Underwater World
The value of certifications and which agency issued them raises the chance again for divers to try and get a cheap shot in at PADI. Sorry Adrie , but as a Professional Diving Instructor with 13 year teaching experience for a variety of agencies including PADI, I get annoyed at the way divers take cheap shot at other training agencies.

It should be noted here that if someone came to Asia or the Pacific and produced a SAA c card there would be some very blank looks from 98% of operators and instructors.

A quick search in order on the search engine google lists SAA as first South African Airlines , second Satellite Active Archive , thirdly - Society of American Archaelogy and finally there is a link to the Sub Aqua Association at the bottom of the page.

So before questioning the worth of another agencies certification standards , consider the standing of all agencies.

In regards to the problem of being buddied up with divers of less experience whilst on dive trips , research and planning can eliminate a lot of these problems - check with the operator and let them know your concerns. Getting onto a liveaboard and complaining about other divers experience or lack of it is not a great way to find a good buddy.

Dr Scuba aka Mal James
Dive Deep Dive Safe
Deeper Blue
Managing Editor
Firetalk 918217
May be this is a female thing, but I find it extraordinary that divers seem at ease with slagging off each other to an extent that some divers (this is a quote) will not dive with certain dive sections cos there too boring and practice regimented moves during their dive (basically BSAC are perceived as tooooo boring !!), WHY... is this because they are methodical, probably !! As for PADI, I am currently a PADI diver and because of this I am able to dive in Scotland with my Buddy. I appreciate and agree that the time spent to teach someone the basics of diving is simply not enough, but at the same time it allows people to enjoy a taster and if they wish to pursue then they can, either by PADI, BSAC, SAA or who ever.

Having been a member of the "diving fraternity" for only a short time and having witnessed the worst side of diving. Please put away ones ego (woman dive too) and learn from other people, jings I met a rescue diver the other day and as we chatted I explained something I had learned from a BSAC diver, which was great advice and this PADI rescue diver will use, and will tell his friends who will use it.

You see even with less experienced divers you will always learn stuff, and if you are paired with someone who is less experienced then may be the lesson is to be less complacent and understand how difficult it is for the less experienced diver, as we always feel a burden, until we meet someone who is less expereinced that us

Horary for learning and for the people who enjoy passing that knowledge on to others, Thanks to the guys who have helped me, and they have been from PADI, SAA and BSAC, guess I have the best of all worlds, lucky me :))

G :))
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