Sadly, the current state of the South East Asian dive industry has devolved into operators who pander to their divers every need. Setting up equipment before the dives, changing tanks between dives, and even putting on fins for their customers.
Some divers have come to expect this level of ‘service’ and being spoilt with this lazy way of diving, have forgotten completely how to set their gear up themselves.
I am personally against this, and will not allow it in the operations that we have. It’s not that we can’t do it, but a matter of principle.
Who’s really responsible for your safety?
If divers can’t take personal responsibility for their own safety, then who is really at fault when an incident occurs?
The scuba equipment that we use is critical to keeping us alive underwater. If we don’t even understand how it works, then if and when something does happen underwater, does that diver know how to react and how to deal with that situation?
Should we be faulting the operations at which these incidents occur?
Or should we be faulting their Open Water instructors for not training these divers well?
Or is it the diver, who gets complacent and fails to check their equipment prior to getting in the water?
The practice of signing liability forms and waiver forms before any dive doesn’t negate the responsibility that operators have in keeping divers safe.
However, when we continue to produce divers who can’t even remember how to set up their gear, who is really at fault?
Blame, blame, everywhere blame
This is a chicken and egg situation, and I’m afraid passing the blame from one party to another is not going to change anything.
Ultimately, individual divers should and must have responsibility for their own safety.
Dive operators are there to provide the logistics for diving, and to provide a safety briefing of the common local conditions found at that location.
Divers should take primary responsibility for their own safety, and not rely entirely on a dive guide or Divemaster.
If a dive is risky, or uncertain, divers should not be afraid to speak up and ask questions, rather than just trust that everything is under control and follow blindly.
It’s not just about setting up equipment, is it?
I know this question is about equipment setup, and maybe some people will think that it’s not a big deal, but to be honest, I think it’s not just about equipment setup. This leads to other skills and knowledge that most divers take for granted.
Personally, I do think that this is symptomatic of a larger problem in the diving industry.
As individual divers, always look to get better training, even if you think you already have the relevant certification, as no two dives are ever the same.
We never know what Mother Nature is ready to serve up to us, so all we can do is to be as prepared as we can be.