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July 2021    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 47, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Risk of Selling Second-hand Dive Gear

Contents of this Issue:
All publicly available

Back in the Water Again

Undercurrent is Saving Olive Ridley Turtles

Living Underwater, Cozumel Mexico

The Risk of Selling Second-hand Dive Gear

The Tragic, Unnecessary Death of an AOW Trainee

Editorial Office:

Ben Davison

Publisher and Editor


3020 Bridgeway, Suite 102

Sausalito, CA 94965

Contact Ben

from the July, 2021 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Have you ever sold an item of diving equipment you no longer needed? Did you check whether the buyer had the suitable skills to be able to use it safely?

In the adjacent story, Linnea Mills, the deceased, was encouraged by her instructor Debbie Snow, to purchase a used drysuit from Missoula diver Kendra Potter. The suit did not have an inflator hose, which contributed to Mills death. When the plaintiffs brought a wrongful death suit, Potter was named as a defendant.

We have no way of knowing whether these charges will hold, but the case made against Potter is frightening enough to keep me from selling any piece of used dive equipment. The suit says . . . . Potter owed a duty of care to inquire as to whether Mills was certified or trained to safely use a drysuit . . . . Potter knew or should have known that Mills was not certified or trained to safely use a drysuit for scuba diving. . . . Potter did not provide the inflator hose that came with the Brooks drysuit . . . . Potter, did not provide the owner's manual, warnings, and instructions . . . .Potter didn't advise or warn Mills that the drysuit could not be used safely because the drysuit could not be inflated without being connected to a hose. . . .Potter knew or should have known that Mills had not received the required orientation to drysuits in a confined water environment. . . . Potter knew or should have known that Mills only scuba diving experience in the past two years was one short, shallow dive in Seeley Lake while wearing two wetsuits, and her lifetime scuba diving experience consisted of making only six dives -- five of which were in shallow, warm, saltwater at sea level. . . . Potter breached the duty of care she owed to Mills, and the applicable standard of care for individuals selling dangerous products to buyers without proper warnings and instructions, thereby proximately causing or contributing to Mills resultant death. . . . . Mills' death was a foreseeable event that was avoidable had Potter complied with the duty of care that she owed to Mills. . . .But for Potter's negligent acts and omissions, Mills would not have died on November 1, 2020.

While the jury may reject the arguments and find Potter not guilty, if I were in her boots I'd be having sleepless nights, if for no other reason than having to face the extraordinary cost of paying lawyers to defend me.

It should be a wake-up call for anyone likely to sell his used diving equipment, especially if a buyer is not qualified to use the equipment or you fail to disclose a problem with the gear. While it's improbable your sale will ever lead to an accident, if it did, the cost of defending yourself against the charges, no matter how ludicrous they may seem, would be a huge financial hit.

- Ben Davison

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