Thanks for All Your Support! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

ImageIt is nearing the end of the first year of my PhD at Cranfield University and this year has been productive, enlightening and also frustrating. 

Highlights include attending LIDS 2012 to promote the launch of DISMS (www.divingincidents.org), flying to Orlando to attend Rebreather Forum 3 where I managed to get quite a few speaking parts in the proceedings, presenting at Eurotek 2012 on improving diving safety through cultural change and sitting on the RF3.0 panel covering safety, and visiting the multitude of clubs to give presentations on how incidents can easily be avoided, but how the culture we operate in doesn’t necessarily allow open and frank discussions of the mistakes made to prevent future ones from occurring.

The support I have had from the diving community has been very encouraging and appreciated.  I am now getting access to material that wasn’t previously publically available, further informing my studies. Even more so, it is providing the evidence to show the gap between what happened in a diving incident and what is publically reported, even when those present provide evidence to organisations like BSAC and presented to the Coroner, is considerable. 

There is a still a major cultural shift required to change attitudes to making mistakes in diving, and more importantly, discussing them in a public (but confidential) forum which allows the lessons learned to be passed on using tangible examples of what can go wrong and how to avoid it.  Many people make the decisions they do without understanding the implications of going down a certain route; you don’t know what you don’t know…

Unfortunately the scope of my studies have been somewhat reduced (Phase 2 removed) as I have not been able to gain access to anonymous data from existing reporting databases to inform my causality research. Consequently, I am going to have to conduct a large number of interviews (upwards of 100 to make the analysis significant) covering Recreational, Technical, CCR and Instructional divers and their incidents. These interviews will cover training, attitude, risk perception, the incidents themselves, debrief/feedback and did anything change after the incident. They will probably last approximately an hour each and be guided by a standardised questionnaire.  I will be in touch with people over the next months! I expect the interview data capture to take in the order of a year to complete

Although this is disappointing to not have access to the data and not to conduct Phase 2, I am glad that the Phase 2 survey I had planned to undertake is hopefully taking place next year under the auspices of the BDSG. The aim of my survey was to understand the profile of UK diving (how much, how deep, gases used, ages etc) so that risks in certain areas could be quantified. Best of luck with it, I know how much fun surveys can be, especially in the post-event analysis!

Thanks to lots of people for their support, encouragement, expertise & banter in getting my PhD developed and up & running. Without you I would be further back than I am now!

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