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Thumbs Up

Got an email this morning which makes the third instance of the same sort of conversation with people over the last few days.

One friend asked about what would cause me to refuse to dive with or stop diving with someone. Another was commenting on the horrendous demonstration of skills by divers who had all the fancy cards in the world. The third asked about how to have a conversation with a far more experienced diver who wanted to jump into a somewhat complex dive with next-to-no plan and zero predive checks.

It's all a bit tricky, isn't it?

Most divers are convinced they're just the bees knees. Even when they've got shit dangling everywhere like a chandelier, their trim can be described best as erect, and they stare at you blindly when you point out that their long hose is captured by their belt, their light cord, and several bolt snaps. What's more, they'd get SUPER offended if you suggest refining any portion of that.

So what is the best way to politely course correct? How do you get someone to participate in a predive when they just roll their eyes at you? How do you excuse yourself from a dive when someone is patently unsafe?

I admit: one of the reasons I worked my way through instructor levels was to earn a sort of legitimacy. At the beginning of any time guiding I let people know that I am happy to be as much of a coach as their comfortable with, offering feedback or keeping my mouth shut (unless there is something completely compromising safety) as they like. Most people prefer the feedback.

It's a little trickier as a peer. Trickier yet as the "junior" diver. As a peer you always run the risk of smashing against the conversational rocky shore of, "But that's how my instructor showed me." And as a junior diver you may actually be talking to an instructor.

But the truth is that instructors aren't infallible gods. Some have shit trim. Some have been doing things so long their version of a predive is, "Ready?" followed by a descent without even waiting for an answer.

My answers to the three people who wrote were:

- If I think someone is capable of killing themselves, someone else in the team, or me, out comes the thumb. I don't care who they are or who they think they are. And I will try to quietly and as an aside discuss what I saw as the danger.

- Yeah, some people are terrible divers. You can't change the world.

- Do a predive as if you were solo diving. Maybe the person you're diving with will play along out of boredom. Set your own max depth and time and pull out the thumb when you hit them.

I dunno, maybe I'm just being overly non-confrontational and should just start screaming, "YOU SUCK!" at people instead?

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