Underwater Ambulance Chasers…

This link appeared today in one of my social media feeds – to me this is the anti-thesis about the work I am trying to do.  Dekker identified that it is the lawyers (and subsequently judges) who decide where the line lays in right and wrong and yet we need to be able to discuss incidents in a manner which allows lessons to be learned.  Having such ‘threats’ does not help.


Worse, the incompetent or foolish dive buddy can lead others into dangerous situations. Increasingly, legal liability examines the conduct of the dive buddy. Did he help? Could he have helped? Did he in fact cause the problem or make the problem worse? All of these are issues we are familiar with and capable of evaluating from a legal standpoint. We can help you find out what went wrong.

Recreational and technical diving are discretionary activities which means it is OUR responsibility to ensure that everything meets OUR standards before we get in the water – this includes making sure that your buddy has the correct skills for the task at hand.  That level of required competence depends on the dive at hand – a 5-10m bimble on a reef has far less risks associated than a 75m trimix dive with multiple stages and a significant decompression overhead.

If you are not happy with someone as a buddy, don’t get in the water. If you do, and you are not happy, end the dive. Something you can do at ANYTIME during the dive.

Fortunately in the UK there has been at least one case thrown out where the family tried to sue those involved in a fatality for lack of duty of care between the group and the buddy in question when in fact the deceased had loaded the dice against them.  I really hope that a test case occurs in the US which allows this concept to be thrown out too.

Safe diving…

3 responses to “Underwater Ambulance Chasers…

  1. Very interesting comments, but I feel that the agencies can be more direct and advise divers (Certified) at all levels that “They are responsible for their actions”… We include risks assessments and responsibility issues from enetry level training and include a special form “Training Statement” Link here ( http://www.diveitda.org/admin_trainstatemnt.htm ) that clearly defines divers and students responsibilities. Simply signing a waiver as is the norm for many does not absolve individuals from responsibly. If anyone want to use or copy our form please contact stevem@diveitda.com

    • Steve, thanks for that. But what about the significant amount of diving which takes place outside a ‘controlled’ or ‘supervised’ environment where there are no forms to be filled in (nor should there be)? Adding a form doesn’t mean that people read it, or truly understand what it means. They appear to be ‘box ticking exercises’ which absolves the organisation of responsibility but don’t necessarily really inform the diver of the risks.

      My personal experience of this was that I was OW qualified, 9 dives to my name, diving Wreck Alley in San Diego planned and undertook 2 x 30m dives, single cylinders with an AOW buddy. I had to sign additional waiver forms but they didn’t mean anything to me as I had no idea what I was signing away.


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