Elevating Dive Safety Culture – The Supreme Importance of Vigilance and Sound Judgement
Diver training agency PADI® is reminding the diving industry that diver safety always comes first.
“Diver safety is each and every diving professional’s first and most important priority because when it’s lacking, preventable tragedies can occur,” says Drew Richardson, CEO and President of PADI Worldwide. “Dive incidents ripple well beyond the victims. They are deep, personal tragedies also impacting families, friends, and the entire global diving community – regardless of the diving organization individuals are associated with.”
“There is generally a reasonably low risk in diving when community, training course, and safe diving practices are followed, but when they are not, the severity of a potential accident will have serious consequences that could have been entirely avoidable,” continues Richardson. “While most diving Professionals put safety first, recent incidents where fatalities have occurred were not simple slips or forgetful moments. These tragedies resulted directly or indirectly from violating course standards, abandoning sound judgement and ignoring or overriding obvious and accepted dive community practices.”
To refresh the importance of diver safety being at the forefront of every business decision, course training or supervision, PADI shares the five safety points that must never be ignored.
1. Course Safety Standards and Community Safe Diving Practices
These are central to diver safety. Incident data repeatedly show that when someone deviates from these, the potential for an incident goes up. Analyses find violations cause or contribute to many diver fatalities. The lesson is obvious: follow all course standards and diving safe practices always, all the time, to the best of your ability. They work – and the data show it.
2. Safety Overlap is Not Superfluous
Safety procedures overlap and repeat, and this is intentional and necessary. No single safety procedure accounts for all variables – and those variables include inevitable human error – so multiple procedure “layers” are applied to close the gaps and help offset unintended simple mistakes or omissions. Incidents show that skipping seemingly repetitive procedures or disregarding seemingly “minor” standards removes a safety layer that in retrospect, would have prevented a tragedy.
3. Safety is Human
Safety standards and practices work when adapted to the local conditions and to the diver’s ability, but they don’t work by themselves – nor are they intended to. They rely on conservative good judgment and reasoned application. Doing this is primarily a matter of common sense and choosing the more conservative option should always be selected when in doubt. The basics of depths, ratios, equipment, or procedures are ones that even Open Water Diver students would know are mandatory, so misjudgment from a diving professional in these areas is inexcusable.
4. Safety Procedures are Dynamic
People, weather, diving conditions and circumstances vary. Technology, diving physiology knowledge and community practices change, so Standards and Procedures change with them. Stay updated. If someone finds themselves in a perplexing situation where following standards and procedures seems difficult or even impossible, chances are it’s not. In general, there’s no reason or excuse for violating established dive training Standards and Procedures.
5. Always be “On Duty” When it Comes to Safety
Diving has an impressive safety record but as a community we should always strive to continue to improve it. The actions of diving professionals must be visible and unmistakable, reflecting what is taught and following best practices without exception. A good example of this is predive safety checks, which sometimes get overlooked outside of training; yet incident data and anecdotal reports suggest that tight checks would prevent many incidents and close calls.
By conspicuously doing predive checks as professionals, the industry can encourage other divers to do the same. PADI is providing a free Download of a Predive Safety Check poster to display in prominent places such as boats, dive centers, classrooms or pool areas. Checklists are important safety reinforcers and used in aviation, surgical practice, technical diving and in diver instruction and guiding. They are a way to promote safe diving.
“When a dive instructor neglects standards, disregards required equipment or flouts established practices, they not only increase the likelihood of an unnecessary tragedy, but they can also be difficult or impossible to defend reasonably,” says Richardson.
“These actions can also void professional insurance warranties, leaving provided coverage for defense and liability in question at best. However, when you follow standards and procedures diligently to the best of your ability, you greatly reduce risk,” continues Richardson. “And should there be an incident, your actions can be compared to these standards to defend that they were proper, reasonable and appropriately applied to the local diving conditions for the divers under your supervision.”
You can download a Predive Safety Check poster from the PADI Pro Site under Course Related Documents, which is available in 14 languages. PADI Regional Training Consultants or Quality Management staff personnel around the planet are available to assist and consult where there may be questions.
New 60m Reel and Dive Torch Combo from Northern Diver
Northern Diver have launched a new 60m Reel & Dive Torch Combo.
The innovative Northern Diver line reel has a unique design and it has been manufactured from a combination of anodized aluminium and synthetic polymers, to make it strong, lightweight and corrosion resistant. The free-flowing spool has a thumb operated spool-lock, to ensure controlled line deployment and a ‘sprung’ reel handle. Allowing the handle to extend whilst in use, if wearing gloves but springs back to half its length, for easy storage. Supplied complete with 60m (197’) of high-vis orange reel line.
The reel also incorporates an attachment point on the top and rubber fixing band allowing you to easily mount Northern Divers Varilux Micro Dive Torch. Ideal for hands-free directional light, ideal for lining out in reduced visibility (within a wreck). Other torches of a similar size to the Micro may be mountable but you should check dimensions first.
Check out https://www.ndiver.com/60m-reel-dive-torch-combo for more.
Marine Life & Conservation
Reefs Go Live returns for new season
CCMI brings the ocean directly to classrooms around the world through live-stream lessons from underwater
In 2018, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) launched Reefs Go Live, their innovative, flagship education programme that live-streams directly from underwater on the coral reefs in Little Cayman to students in classrooms around the world in real time. For the 2022 season, the four episodes of Reefs Go Live reached more than 107,000 viewers in 22 countries. CCMI’s Reefs Go Live team hopes to expand their reach with four new episodes and supplemental teaching resources to help integrate the material into classroom lessons.
Science Communications & Development Manager for CCMI, Beth Chafin, is excited to be part of another year of Reefs Go Live:
“Knowing we have an audience that spans the world, our team is energised as we plan and implement our Reefs Go Live season for 2023! We feel that creating a connection to the ocean and sharing the beautiful coral reefs of Little Cayman with others, both locally and abroad, is one of the most important ways to increase support for critical, timely issues such as marine protection and sustainability. At CCMI, we are fortunate to have these stunning reefs at our doorstep; not everyone is so lucky to be this connected to coral reefs, but healthy coral reefs are vitally important to everyone on earth. Bringing the ocean into classrooms and homes through Reefs Go Live allows us to share the work we do at the Little Cayman Research Centre, facilitate real-time interactions between viewers around the world and our experts in the field, and inspire the diverse audience to take positive action for the future of coral reefs.”
The first episode of 2023 will take place on Friday, 31st March at 10 am Cayman time (UTC -5h). The episode, ‘Finding Hope on our Reefs’, will feature what CCMI’s long-term monitoring of Little Cayman’s reefs shows us. The data from the annual surveys reveals important trends in reef health over time that reflect global threats and the benefits of strong local protection. Reefs Go Live hosts will explain why this annual monitoring is important and what the results tell us about the future of our coral reefs that we all depend upon. Viewers of each episode will be able to ask questions of the diver and participate in polls through the online platform to make Reefs Go Live an interactive experience.
Additional episodes for this year will run at 10 am (UTC -5h) on the following dates:
Thursday, 11th May: Adaptation on Coral Reefs
Wednesday, 24th May: Reef Resiliency & Restoration
Thursday, 8th June: World Ocean Day – 25 Years of Coral Reef Research
Registration for Reefs Go Live is free and is only required once to receive access to all episodes: https://donate.reefresearch.org/rgl2023.
Reefs Go Live provides an opportunity for students from all over the world to engage with the stunning ocean environment in its most natural format. As coral reefs around the world face unprecedented pressure, generating increased engagement with these precious ecosystems creates an opportunity to promote marine sustainability in a positive and fun way.
Reefs Go Live utilises streaming technology with underwater video and audio equipment to enable real time broadcasting from Little Cayman’s stunning coral reefs. Little Cayman, a Mission Blue Hope Spot, hosts one of the healthiest reef ecosystems in the Caribbean, which overall remains healthy and shows resiliency to climate change impacts. The broadcasts and education materials draw connections from CCMI’s current research conducted in Little Cayman to the national science curriculum and key ocean literacy principles, making CCMI’s work relevant and accessible to students and viewers of all ages, and emphasizing the relationship that we all have to coral reefs, no matter where we are.
Reefs Go Live is a free education programme that is made possible by the generosity of The Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation. To register for the broadcasts and teaching resources, please visit: https://reefresearch.org/what-we-do/education/reefs-go-live/
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