Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Right hand release?

Last night, I had to buddy up with one of the candidate dive masters so that she could do her skills for evaluation. The first skill that the dive masters were being evaluated on is the buddy check. The course director (CD) wanted me to get my gear setup so that there were a number of things wrong with the gear. The idea is that the dive masters must become accustomed to what new divers can do to mess up their gear (and hopefully they will catch those things before the divers enter the water).

What CD wanted me to do was cross over the shoulder harnesses, and reverse my weight belt so that I had a left hand release on the buckle.

Unfortunately my candidate dive master buddy did not follow the slate and tried to do the buddy check from memory using the method I described in a previous post. If she had used the slate she probably would have caught the weight belt problem.

The problem with divers (myself included) is that we become complacent and do things almost automatically - especially when we set up our gear. The issue that we try to get across to the candidate dive masters is that the divers that they will be working with might be new divers who can and will do things to their gear that an experienced diver will not do. For example in just about every class that I teach to new divers, one student will set up the first stage backwards on the tank valve and when they open the tank valve the escaping air makes an impressive hissing sound that often intimidates the new diver.

No matter how carefully you brief the new divers beforehand they can and do forget details. Sometimes it is information overload, sometimes it is anxiety, sometimes it might even be some physical challenge like being hard of hearing. Whatever the reason, we have to prepare the candidate dive masters to be ready to catch these kind of problems.

1 comment:

kb said...

There's nothing wrong with a left-hand release as long as both you and your buddy know about it.

Your candidate may have looked at it and noted it in her head, and since it looked OK otherwise left it alone.

We should really ask "why" we do the stuff we do sometimes, not just follow the *suggestions* of PADI (and other training orgs) blindly.