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The law and the sea in Cozumel.

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#1 SirScuba


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Posted 18 September 2003 - 09:17 AM

September 2003, we were on vacation & scuba diving in Cozumel. Our new digital camera was in housing and we were testing the external strobe system. Toward the end of the dive the strobe position was changed. Somehow it was not locked down to the camera tray. During the safety stop the “lack of the strobe” was noticed. The lost strobe and strobe arm were reported to the divemaster, he used the boat radio to notify several other boats of the lost item. Several minutes later we were advised that the strobe had been found by the dive group behind us. Our divemaster advised us that the other divemaster wanted a reward. We offer the divemaster from the other boat $100 US reward for finding & returning the strobe. He said “No, I want $200 US”. At the time we decided to swallow hard and pay up. The strobe systems is worth $500. The group on the boat pooled the money and came up with $200. When we got to shore, several people went to the dive shop and told the shop owner what had happed. We were told that what had transpired was not legal. The Port Authority was called and he came and took a report. Then he paid a visit the other dive shop. Later that day we had $100 waiting for us at our dive shop. The legal system worked for us. Here is a summary of what we learned.
There are two legal systems.
(1) The old school, finders - keepers, sell it for what you can get for it.
(2) The new school, if you find something underwater, turn it over to the Port Authority, they will make a reasonable effort to find the owner, and if they cannot find the owner the item will be returned to you. In our case, the owner of the lost property was immediately know, the divemaster who found it should have returned it to us, accepted any gratuity offered, not bargained for more money.
The divemaster on both boats were aware of the law and chose not to uphold the higher moral standard. Not all divemasters are out to make a dollar, most of them are hardworking & honest. Our divemaster was removed from the boat by the shop owner. If you every think you have been cheated, talk to the police, they helped us. The names of the dive shops was withheld. We are in the process of modifying our camera system with several safety cords to prevent “loss of strobe”.

#2 JackConnick



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Posted 18 September 2003 - 10:10 AM

You were lucky, very lucky.

They also know that if they blatantly rip off tourists, they will loose business in the long run.


Jack Connick
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