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August 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 32, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Is It One Up, All Up?

it could be a matter of life and death

from the August, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Tammy R. Schmitz, an experienced diver, was diving in Cozumel on February 19th when she wanted to abort the dive. A divemaster with her group escorted her without incident to the depth of a safety stop before rejoining the group, but later she was found dead on the bottom. We'll never know what happened or why, because nobody was with her when she died. (Undercurrent April)

It's common practice, when people learn to dive, for one instructor to take charge of six trainees, aided by a divemaster. In many parts of the world, a single dive guide or divemaster often escorts groups of six or more certified divers.

Often, solo divers are paired in an impromptu way with someone they have not met before, do not know, and have no real allegiance to. What is the responsibility toward that person, the buddy-of-convenience? What if a diver needs or wants to curtail a dive early? A blown tank O-ring or an inability to clear ears might happen, most likely at the beginning of a dive, but what if, later in the dive, your buddy feels unwell or simply runs low on air long before everyone else in the group?

When your 'Buddy-of-Convenience' Calls the Dive

Dives cost a lot of money, and our dive trips are usually fewer than we'd like. If you are paired with someone who wants to curtail the dive early, what do you do?

Whether you like it or not, if your buddy-of-convenience wants to abort a dive, you should do the same and stay together. Waving him goodbye as he heads toward the surface and then carrying on the dive yourself or rejoining the rest of the group, may not be good enough. But it happens more often than not, as many Undercurrent readers have told us when we asked for opinions....


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