Author Topic: Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations  (Read 8833 times)

billyj

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Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations
« on: July 08, 2008, 12:48:52 UTC »
Had an experience in Belize last year...dive master boarded the boat, leaving me and my second time diver in the water --hanging from a line he had brought us to.  Never communicated with us underwater or above.  I was furious. Talked to the shop owner, who was apologetic.  Lot of complicating information...I had communicated with the operator by email several times, explaining that I would have three neophyte divers with me (I've been certified for 30 years)...talked to the dive master about their lack of experience...and asked the diver master on board to make sure the one neophyte with me on that dive was properly equipped. Two divers on the boat wanted to hit 100 feet, they announced as we boarded, and the dive master seemed determined to lead them there.  After we were in the water, he failed to gather the small group (six of us) before taking off.  my question: should I have complained in writing to the operator and Undercurrent on my return?  Should I have insisted on a refund...or a free dive?  Should I have made a scene at the dock on return? (I did not.  However, when the shop assistant came to the boat asking if we were going back that afternoon, I shot her a nasty look and said No.  Your thoughts?

DocV

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Re: Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2008, 13:28:09 UTC »
Hi Billyj,

Welcome to The Diver's Forum.

Sounds like an unpleasant experience. But, the sad truth is matters like this happen with some regularity.

It sounds like you handled it adequately. Complaining directly to the shop manager was the right move for openers. And, IMHO, writing up the situation in a factual, clear and respectful fashion and sending it both to the shop manager and Undercurrent would be appropriate follow-up.

Of course you could have asked for a refund or a free dive, but you almost certainly would not have received the former.  The free dive may have been given, but why would you want another dive with an op you did not respect or trust?

Regards,

DocVikingo



« Last Edit: July 09, 2008, 10:29:57 UTC by DocV »

VivaCaribe

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Re: Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2008, 13:52:47 UTC »
I agree with Doc. If you overreact, you may burn your bridges (and you may have prepaid for dives or otherwise be hard-pressed to switch operators). Better as you handled it. As Doc says, we've had something like this happen. Since you had 4 divers... I find when I have a group, I usually can influence the DM's behavior, even somewhat a bad DM. (Even on the monetary side: let's say 5 dive days x 4 people x $5 per day... he's counting on you for about $100 tip to make a living.)

Chat

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Re: Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2008, 05:14:13 UTC »
Sad to say, we all make mistakes sometimes.  I think the important thing to do is to make sure that the person making the error gets corrective feedback.  I like to hope that people want to do a good job and that giving an appropriate, perhaps stern, repremand along with suggestions for "doing it better the next time" will help them improve.

agilulfo

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Re: Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2008, 12:12:10 UTC »
My wife and I were diving in Negril, Jamaica two years ago. We didn't have computers then and dove the tables. One day, on a repetitive dive, we were on a boat and since every other diver had computers people wanted to get back in the water while our surface interval was not yet done. The DM said that we should follow him and dive with his computer. I was baffled to hear such a thing and I said that computer sharing is a major no, no. He kept saying that it was ok and that we had to do that because we couldn't keep everyone on the boat waiting.

I then quickly figured out the new dive time given the shorter surface interval and went in. I was determined to follow the time limit and also stay above the divemaster to avoid complications. I figured that if we did that, even if we went a little over, the risk would be minimal. But right when we started approaching our time limit the DM started swimming really fast as if his time was running out. By the time we got near the boat he was already on it.

When we got back to the shop a complained with the owner and she said that if I kept having such high expectations I would have a lot of disappointments in the future. Basically, she didn't apologize and instead, lectured me saying that I should lighten up and be more flexible. Needless to say, we will not use this operator again should we go back to Negril, Jamaica.

Oceandiver1

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Re: Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2008, 19:46:59 UTC »
But on the other hand....our first dive here in So Fla we went out with a 6 pack guy recommended by our LDS. He dropped us in the water, telling us the "wreck" was right below us. No drift flag, nothing. New divers we were at the time as well.
So we started swimming down, the vis was pea soup. After what seemed like an hour we decided to surface and ask him again where the wreck was. Well guess what? No boat on the surface anyway that we could see. Being new to the sport, I paniced a bit, my buddy helped me through it, I dropped my weight belt and we just drifted. A short time later, a small fishing boat came upon us and took us on board. When they asked what the name of the boat was so they could radio, it occurred to us he never told us.
We called the LDS on the radio and learned what we needed. A short time later the boat came, picked us off the fishing boat. The guy told us he was getting ready to call the Coast Guard!!
That was the last dive trip this guy ran, he went to work for a tow boat company and was "nice" enough not to charge us.
The point of this long winded story (sorry) is that sometimes you have to say your piece.....Diving can be dangerous, people can get into all kinds of trouble all by them selves with out the "professionals" helping them to do.

lazylady

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Re: Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2008, 02:10:29 UTC »
When I have issues with a DM, I do not hesitate to have a "little chat" with the dive shop manager or if possible, the owner.  Usually the issues are handled by them adequately.  The only time this did not occur, I did not leave tips for the DM and I have not ever returned to that dive resort.
The Florida Keys are not like any other place I have ever gone diving.  Generally, there is no DM in the water with the people taken out to the reefs.  Unfortunately, a lot of newbies go there to dive their first blue water dives and I think they are unknowingly taking risks. Both the newbies and the shops.  I have found two places in the Upper Keys that do place DMs in the water, and that is who I dive with when there.  I have enough experience now to dive on my own (with my buddy), but I prefer a DM who knows where things are and is willing to point them out to me. 

Brutus

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Re: Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2008, 18:00:48 UTC »
When I have issues with a DM, I do not hesitate to have a "little chat" with the dive shop manager or if possible, the owner.  Usually the issues are handled by them adequately.  The only time this did not occur, I did not leave tips for the DM and I have not ever returned to that dive resort.
The Florida Keys are not like any other place I have ever gone diving.  Generally, there is no DM in the water with the people taken out to the reefs.  Unfortunately, a lot of newbies go there to dive their first blue water dives and I think they are unknowingly taking risks. Both the newbies and the shops.  I have found two places in the Upper Keys that do place DMs in the water, and that is who I dive with when there.  I have enough experience now to dive on my own (with my buddy), but I prefer a DM who knows where things are and is willing to point them out to me. 

I live in Ft Lauderdale Fl. and go to the keys quite a bit.  I don't know of any operation from Palm Beach down to the keys that puts a DM in the water with the divers.  From Key Largo down they anchor at a dive site and send you off generally giving you an hour to come back.  North of the Keys it's all drift diving.  They give you a dive flag and may drop 6 or more groups of divers on a reef and pick you up when your done.   In Hatteras, N.C. it was all wreck diving and a DM never went with us.  In most cases if you wanted to pay extra you could have a DM go with you.  I really prefer being on my own as I do video and don't have to be concerned with hanging with the group.  Whenever I end up on a DM led dive I talk to them about the chance of me being separated from the group and if they give the OK, I follow their instructions on what to do.  I also carry a vhf radio on all dives in case the boat is to far away for normal signaling devices.

lazylady

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Re: Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2008, 22:01:30 UTC »
Rainbow Reef puts a DM in the water.  They are in Key Largo and on Tavanier.  I love Jesus the DM - he finds more stuff!  Yes, you end up having to tip him as well as the boat captain and the mate, but trust me, he was well worth the tip, and I was sure to tip him very well!  There is another operation that was putting DMs in the water with you, but at the moment, I do not rememer who it was, though I do remember that they were based in Key Largo

MargMM

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Re: Dealing with unsatisfactory dive operations
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2008, 21:09:19 UTC »
I must be very fortunate as I've seldom had problems with any dive op I've ever used (as I generally go with highly recommended ops from dive discussion boards).  There is one op I use in Cozumel and at the end of every trip, he asks me "what could I have done to improve".  Usually I have to pick nits as he's a superior op, in my view.  But I have used it to critique one of his DM's (and again it's generally picking nits like "he went a bit fast for my tastes".  Something egregious (like a DM who isn't watching other divers hanging onto coral or knocking off chunks of coral) gets dealt with immediately however...

jdives

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Dive Interval Time
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2008, 16:32:20 UTC »
I was diving with CoCo View Roatan last week.  The standard for  intervals for both morning and afternoon dives was 25 minutes.  Most of us complained and questioned, but the dive masters on the boats shrugged, saying it was 'OK'.  If we declined to dive without an hour interval, they would happily take us back to the resort.  The second and fourth daily dives were drop-offs on the two Coco Walls, but coming back at very shallow depths got old.  I was diving 32% and my computer did not rebel.

So...Doc V....is it 'OK'?
Life's Short -- Dive Hard!

 

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