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July 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 41, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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This Dive Shop Paid $103,000 for a Death by Boat Propeller

from the July, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, a dive operator was fined US$34,000, and its boat captain US$17,000, for a diver struck and killed by its boat propeller during a dive trip last year. Maritime New Zealand, the government division in charge of investigating dive accidents, also required The Dive Spot Limited and Mark Barnes, its co-director and skipper, to pay financial reparations of US$32,000 and US$20,000, respectively, to the dead diver's family.

Bruce Porter booked with the Dive Spot Limited for a dive trip aboard its Pacific Hideaway to the Poor Knights Islands, off New Zealand's northeastern coast, on February 9, 2014. During the third dive, the boat's anchor got snagged, and Barnes asked Porter to dive down to free it. However, a crew person on board was simultaneously trying to free it with a winch. Barnes thought Porter knew the anchor was free and wasn't going to dive, but when Barnes put the engines into gear, Porter was indeed in the water and right next to the propeller, which killed him.

Maritime New Zealand Deputy Director Lindsay Sturt said his death was entirely avoidable and that the Dive Spot dangerously downplayed the risk of its boat propellers. The company did not have a clear system of communicating with divers about entering the water, nor did it have a clear policy that divers were never asked to dive down to free anchors.

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