THE BLAME GAME
This sort of scenario is all too common in diving, and stories like this divide opinion. Some might attach blame to the liveaboard crew for not enforcing their policies more strictly. Some might feel that they had their priorities twisted and that, no matter how objectionable Brian was, after having given him a number of warnings, they should have stopped him diving, let him off the boat at the nearest port and refunded the cost of his trip.
After all, he was causing his fellow-divers inconvenience and he was messing up the boat’s schedule. For all his miraculously low air-consumption, he was not diving in what would conventionally be seen as a safe manner.
Stopping him from diving would have meant a safer, more pleasant trip for everyone else on board, simply at the expense of a refund and the risk of a bad review.
Others might agree with Brian. They might agree that he had paid for the trip so should be able to dive any way he liked. “He is obviously a good diver and it’s a free world”, they might say.
One thing is indisputable, however. Brian is not a good diver. An attribute essential to being a good diver is altruism: that is, concern for the well-being of others. This is a quality that all good divers either possess naturally or have learnt through experience.
Whether you like to dive solo, with a buddy or with a group of divers, diving is a team sport. You are part of a team.
Some are under water, some are on the surface, some are back on land, or in this case, the mother-boat.
This concept also extends to the diving world as a whole and to rescue teams who are called out to search for divers when they go missing at sea, in lakes or in caves.
It can be hard to see a partially inflated SMB even when it’s close to you and seas are relatively flat. The crew in this story did an excellent job.
Just as you hope that the people who take you diving have your best interests in mind, so should you, as a sport diver, keep their interests as well as those of your fellow-divers in mind.
You have a responsibility to others in the diving community to keep yourself safe so that they don’t have to put themselves out, or even in harm’s way, to search for you or rescue you.
Many of the most important dive-safety rules, such as “one up, all up” are anchored in this concept.
For the sake of a few more minutes under water, Brian felt that he was quite justified in flouting the dive operation’s rules, ignoring its interests completely in favour of his own, putting the crew under pressure and making his fellow-divers suffer while they waited for him.
Behaviour like this might seem harmless but, as in this case, it can have potentially tragic consequences.
When, at least partly because of his obstinacy, Brian got into difficulty, he was probably quite happy, although would not admit it, that the crew had the attribute of altruism and kept searching for him for as long as they did.