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Diving expert launches emotional film about the sudden death of an experienced diver

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High risk diver and human factors expert Gareth Lock has joined forces with American widow Ashley Bugge to make a film about the sudden death of her husband Brian – an experienced open circuit diver – who drowned in Hawaii two years ago.

Gareth, who lives in Wiltshire and who travels the world sharing his knowledge of how human behaviour can affect diving, has privately funded the documentary ‘If Only…’ and hopes it raises awareness of the important role human behaviour can play in diving.

He said:  “One of the inspirations for this film was ‘Just a Routine Operation’ by Martin Bromiley which had a huge impact on developing human factors practice in healthcare.

“I hope that ‘If Only…’ has the same effect in diving and further afield too – showing that the multiple factors which lead to an accident are not easy to see at the time and that by discussing these context-rich stories, we can improve safety for all. We must understand how it made sense for those involved to do what they did, even if it appears irrational in hindsight.”

“If Only…,” launches virtually TODAY (Wednesday May 20) at 6.49pm UK time (07.49 Hawaii time) on the second anniversary of Brian’s death.

It is the latest awareness campaign by Gareth, who is also a published author, to encourage the diving community to embrace personal responsibility in diving, ensure continuous professional development of instructors and to understand that it’s not just technical problems which can crop up in diving.

Gareth has been supported by Ashley Bugge, Brian’s widow and mother to his three children. She said:

“For me, it’s not about who is to blame and who did this or who did that. This is not a blame game for me. This is about Brian’s life and death being the inspiration for everyone in the diving community to consider how their thoughts, feelings, instincts and behaviour all play a critical role in being safe in the water. I’m hoping the pain and trauma of losing Brian will encourage divers to never take anything for granted. Every day must be a school day when it comes to diving.”

Gareth went to Hawaii in November last year to film the story of Brian who was an officer with the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Integrated Undersea Surveillance Systems department. He died on May 20, 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii while off duty on a training dive. He was 35 and Ashley, a diver herself, was weeks away from having their third child.

On the day of the accident, Brian was using a rebreather device that allows divers to recycle air and inject metabolized oxygen. Unfortunately, he did not turn on his oxygen supply for his rebreather before entering the water, and within minutes, he passed out and sank to the ocean floor. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. The manufacturer of the equipment was not found to be at fault in Brian’s death.

Gareth said: “I hope this film will act as an example of what can be done when a story can be told, and save lives in the process. This is only the start of a very long journey to improve diving safety by looking at the role of human factors in diving incidents.”

Gareth, who lives with his family in Malmesbury, in Wiltshire had a 25-year career with the RAF as a squadron leader and flight instructor. His company – The Human Diver – educates divers – or any team undertaking any activity – the importance of decision-making, situational awareness, communication skills, leadership, teamwork and managing stress and fatigue.

Last year he published his first book titled ‘Under Pressure: Diving Deeper with Human Factors’ which has since sold thousands of copies.

The documentary “If Only…” can be found here: https://www.thehumandiver.com/ifonly

Gear Reviews

Gear Review: MK19 Evo/D420/R195 Octo Dive Regulator System from Scubapro (Watch Video)

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In a video shot exclusively for Scubaverse.com, Jeff Goodman reviews the MK19 Evo/D420/R195 Octo Dive Regulator System from Scubapro.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Scubaverse meet the Ullapool Sea Savers

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On a recent trip to the Highlands of Scotland we met up with an amazing bunch of ocean conservationists called the Ullapool Sea Savers. They are a passionate group of young people based in the beautiful coastal town of Ullapool who are working to protect the marine environment around them and it was a real pleasure to hear their ideas and to witness just how committed they are to their cause.

They are a group run by kids for kids, in response to the inspirational work of local marine campaigner Noel Hawkins. Their core premise is that people will protect what they love and they aim to show people just how much there is to love about the sea. The Ullapool Sea Savers keep things positive and work to inspire those around them and each other.

Each Sea Saver is a Species Champion, and they nominate their preferred species, learn all about them and then present a “fact fie” to the rest of the group. This ties in with the Species Champion Initiative launched by Scottish Environment LINK which asks Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to lend political support to the protection of Scotland’s threatened wildlife by becoming ‘Species Champions’. This has led to some great support from MSPs when it comes to campaigning, such as Maree Todd MSP and Minister for Children and Young People (who is also from Ullapool which helped!) becoming the Flameshell Species Champion and working closely with Caillin who is Flameshell Ambassador for the Ullapool Sea Savers. Similarly, Gail Ross MSP for our region, took on the role of Seagrass Species Champion and helped USS campaign against plans to allow Mechanical Kelp Extraction (Dredging!) to be given the go ahead in Scotland. There are plenty more example of this great partnering scheme here.

On top of this, the Ullapool Sea Savers have formed pods, and each small group selects a local campaign to work on, with the “New Wave” working on a “Drain Campaign” to educate people that litter dropped on the street ends up in the surrounding sea. They recently surveyed the litter by the first drain in the campaign and found over 300 cigarette butts that would have all washed out to sea during the next rainfall.

The “Blue Starfish” are working on a crisp packet recycling campaign, starting at the local school with hopes to widen the scale going forward. There is now also the newly formed Seal Pups Pod and we look forward to seeing what campaign they decide to focus on.

Many of the group have passed qualifications in snorkeling, diving, boat handling and they are currently learning to operate an ROV that they plan to use to mark underwater litter and ghost nets so it can be retrieved by divers. The group are also regularly found litter-picking along the coastline. As a group they have a powerful voice and recently won the Sunday Mail, Young Scot Awards 2021 for the Environment Category.

The older kids mentor some of the younger ones that are new to joining the group and what really struck us on meeting the group was how keen they were to pass on their wealth of knowledge and their passion for ocean conservation. We chatted to them about what we do and told them about some of our favourite marine life encounters from around the world. I hope we inspired them just a fraction as much as they inspired us! 

To find out more about the Ullapool Sea Savers you can visit their website by clicking here.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

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This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

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www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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