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May 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Deadman Diving – Whatever Next?

from the May, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Steve and Penny Weinstein, American divers living Manado in Indonesia, recently alerted Undercurrent to a questionable practice they have witnessed locally. It's the rather disturbing activities of some greedy dive and snorkel boats that engage in "deadman diving." The Weinsteins have witnessed it in the Bunaken marine park and have heard of it happening elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Evidently it's become popular with large Chinese tourist groups.

Operators take a customer who has absolutely no dive training, suit them up in scuba gear, stand them on top of the reef without fins, and then a dive guide drags them around underwater by the top of his tank.

The "deadman diver" attempts to grab marine life, and damages coral along the way. Steve believes this is also happening in the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. In fact, it's a selling point with many Chinese groups. He tells us the Bunaken marine park has no real regulations to stop it.

The Weinsteins are concerned that not only is this dangerous for participating tourists, but also it represents a grave danger to coral reefs and their inhabitants.

And it will only get worse. Lion Air is developing direct connections with mainland China and is operating hotels to support its air travel business.

Undercurrent is interested to hear if you have witnessed this sort of behavior anywhere. Write to, and tell us what you know.

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