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#1 Fontaine

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 06:45 PM

This is something I wrote a few years ago about my diving experiences in Guam, basically its a critique of Guam diving culture and PADIs sponsorship of it....


Dear PADI,

Having traveled the world working as a PADI instructor I have fallen in love with diving and the underwater world.á Starting my journey in Roatan, Bay Islands of Honduras I was eighteen years old and did not have the slightest idea of what diving was all about except for the fact that I knew I would love it.á I spent sixteen months in Roatan accumulating masses of dives, working for various shops, encountering all types of underwater creatures from Blennys to Whale Sharks and progressed to become a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI).á I grew up at the beach surfing and have always had an immense amount of respect and love for the outdoors and a special passion for our aquatic realms.á I have great respect for the level of instructing, safety and environmentally friendly diving practices that most of the dive shops advocate and abide by in Roatan.á These rules are simple and make a lot of sense and on paper concur with what PADI stands for, to name a few general rules; "leave only bubbles, take only pictures", "do not touch anything",á and "no feeding the fish".

After becoming slightly bored with the relatively bland diving in Roatan (when compared to the tropical Indo-Pacific), my partner and I decided to fly to the Pacific and found ourselves in Guam.á Whilst working at Guam Tropical Dive Station (GTDS) an accredited "PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre" I encountered a different sort of diving culture which left me in shock and awe.á As an instructor at GTDS my job included, leading fun dives, doing Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) and other courses, guiding the snorkel tours and helping with the banana boating.á My least favorite task was instructing the DSD experience GTDS style,á this includes walking across coral reef that extends out 200 metres to a waste high depth where I would then brief my students, the four students would then grasp my dive float as I literally pulled all four out to the feeding site, each DSD would then come down the rope and kneel on the bottom at which point the instructor hands out frozen hot dogs and a feeding frenzy would ensue.á This obsession with feeding the fish was not a personal choice, it was a job requirement, when I expressed my dismay about feeding the fish I was told I had to do it, feeding the fish is a GTDS obsession.á GTDS also offers fun dives ("fun" is an interesting way to describe it), in which the boat is loaded with fourteen "fun" divers, most of whom have no diving experience other then the OW course (at least on paper) or the DSD "experience", these fourteen novices were only guided by two dive masters on a good day.á Watching the swathe of Japanese tourists attempting to put their gear together was scarily amusing, it was common to see people thoroughly confused when trying to figure out what went wrong with the set up, with my ever lasting PADI patience I would show them that they had their BCD upside down and backwards and usually the same was wrong with their regulator.á I say "scary" because we are about to do a deep dive through "Blue Hole" which goes down to 130 feet plus...way plus, one could descend into the bottomless abyss of the Mariana Trench (deepest trench in the entire ocean) as it literally lies 10,911 meters or 35,798 feet or 6.78 miles below the dive site.á With my own eyes I have seen the long time Dive Master (DM) at GTDS taking DSD divers through the Blue Hole at nearly 140 feet, it is of sheer amazement to me how none of these divers have ended up at the bottom of the trench nearly seven miles below (one or two probably have).á After going through the "Hole" I realize that the circus is only beginning and that things are obviously getting very boring and we need to do some fish feeding.á Watching Moray Eels swim from about 100 feet away through an entire group of novice divers on the scent path of a hotdog in the DMs pocket is convincing testimony to Morays astronomical sense of smell,á when considering how sharp Morays teeth are, how keen their sense of smell is, how poor their eyesight is, and most importantly how similar a human finger looks to a hot dog, then one can only picture the hazard to the feeder.

Now the second dive is when things got really fun.á Picture a once amazing, now mediocre and significantly damaged seamount of coral reef about 200 meters wide by 300 meters long in a big oval at about 18 meters depth.á This reef was encircled with reef balls, not for the purposes that are usually attributed to reef balls which usually consist of; reconstructing damaged coral reefs, providing a dive site for a desolate sandy bottom, or to provide homes for poor homeless fish who have been evicted out of their homes due to the recent housing crisis.á No the sole purpose of reef balls in Guam is to provide a convenient mooring for floating mesh bags which one can fill with "fish food" a.k.a. chum (which attract massive Jacks who were known to have become aggressive biters), probably consisting of frozen hot dogs and any discarded human fingers found from the previous dive.á Incidentally the reef balls also make perfect homes for the Giant Moray.á We all descend onto the reef, then the "divers" who do not really know how to swim (much less dive) proceed to do the reef crawl and grasp healthy corals and crawl their way along the reef following the ring master, I mean dive master, who then stops at a reef ball and with his magic metal wand puts pieces of hot dog on the end and antagonizes the Giant Moray into snapping for the hotdogs, then after feeding him a few pieces and pissing him off properly goes ahead and decides that its a good idea to pick the Moray up and lay him across his shoulders, like its his very own pet Python, you can imagine the look of amazement on the fourteen Japanese coral crunchers.á At this point I am throwing up in my mouth with disgust at the sheer and utter lack of respect for an amazing eco-system which is literally disappearing in front of our eyes all for the sake of impressing some inept Japanese sponge smashers for a few seconds.á This is not all folks, I come up from the dive to find Nemo a.k.a. a Clown Fish in a bucket which the other DM had caught somehow, have we learned nothing from "Finding Nemo".á The boat captain and mate are seen spear fishing whilst we are doing our safety stop, with their catch tied to their wastes (this is a regular occurrence which happens at every opportunity and is very hush hush, did you know the vast majority of shark attacks on divers happen to spear fishers, which has happened in Guam more then once), need I say more!!!á This is all coming from a "respected accredited PADI Five Star Instructor Development Center".á This place turns out lots of instructors and it makes me sick to my stomach to think what kind of example they are setting for their students around the world.á Its not just GTDS either the other PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center on the island is just as bad. á


Feeding fish angers me because it upsets the natural balance of things, you are feeding fish hot dogs who usually eat algae, reeking havoc not only on the fishes digestive systems but also on the coral life itself.á Coral is in constant competition with algae, if the algae grows over the coral then it can not produce food from the sun (most corals receive 90% of their nutrients from the sunlight), if the fish are not eating the algae then it grows out of control and suffocates the coral it smothers.á Have you ever seen an algal reef?á Ever seen a thriving coral reef?á Then you should know why feeding fish is an atrocity (unless you are blind or brain dead), not to mention the potential for lost fingers (which has happened in Guam), and the increased risk of shark attack as your invoking a feeding frenzy which naturally attracts larger and more potentially life threatening predators in their feeding mode.á I love sharks and have seen hundreds in the water at a time whilst working in Palau onboard the Palau Aggressor, however its totally different when you see a shark by natural occurence and when you see a shark because it has been attracted by frenzied feeding and an empty stomach.á Feeding fish also makes the fish relate humans to food, I have been full on attacked by schools of Chubs in Roatan because they were expecting a free meal and I did not have one to give.á One can only wonder how long it takes, if ever, for the fish to go back into normal feeding patterns.á Now I am only talking about hot dogs and Butterflyfish, when you take it to the next level to Tuna heads and Bull Sharks you are on another level that is wrong for the exact same reasons but indefinitely more hazardous and potentially life threatening, not just to the ill deserving humans, but to the healthy existence of a species, in this case the already severely depleted species of sharks as a whole.á

Now the Captain of the boat spear fishing with the mate whilst divers are in the water is especially disconcerting, what happens if the anchor goes loose and the dive boat goes adrift?á What if your spear fishing attracts nearby Tiger Sharks?á What happens if the Captain accidentally mistakes the Japanese DSD for a Trigger Fish?á PADI, its about setting the example for a safe, sustainable, healthy relationship between humans and the underwater world, by letting dive shops such as GTDS use your name and also allowing them to teach future instructors under the PADI name shows that you are no better then the host dive shop, the buck stops with you and you should take responsibility.á I cant believe that in your OW video you have an Instructor holding a Sea Urchin which is a poisonous spiny animal and at the same time tell your students "do not touch it if you do not know what it is", how about you tell them not to touch ANYTHING!!!!á I know what a Touch Me Not sponge looks like but does that mean its a good idea to pick it up only to go into anaphylactic shock!á Your pictures in PADI dive magazines never cease to amaze me either, why in the world do your dive models insist on breathing off of their conspicuously marked alternate air sources?á Why are their gauges always hanging out?á Why are they always touching the marine life?á Please I beg you as a PADI diver, clean up your image and do some policing of the shops you endorse because the situation has gotten out of hand, a good place to start would be Guam Tropical Dive Station (www.gtds.com), next stop Canary Islands, then I would suggest doing a full tour of Thailand.á In three months I will be available to become your first PADI Police officer (although I would prefer to police Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea), my wife would gladly join me as well.á We are not looking to shut operations down or to decrease your revenue, we are looking to enrich your image in the name of environmental sustainability and safety and to provide insight and education to errant dive shops.á We will even work for free only expecting all of our costs to be covered.

á Thankfully my wife and I implemented our beliefs and diving practices while working at GTDS (in fact in every shop we have ever worked in, across the globe) and proved that you do not need to feed fish and that you can actually teach your DSDs how to dive for themselves rather then dragging them about the reef and still make money, funnily enough the customers always had rave reviews about us and went away happier, more confident, more knowledgable, and more likely to continue there diving careers when compared to learning by way of the GTDS diving doctrine.á I know we will not be able to enforce good diving practices on every shop in the world, how about we start with all PADI 5 Star IDC Centers.á I know that most shops set a fantastic example for their customers but many as I have shown do not.á I would ask you PADI, do you agree?á I have had similar experiences at other dive shops all over the world which host Instructor Development Courses, it is atrocious to see that you do not police your organization better.á Your name is being smeared in the mud by dive shops such as GTDS.á I would suggest that you hire people such as myself to travel the world diving with suspect operations to see if they project the PADI image properly by way of sufficient environmental and safety standards.á I look to you PADI, to clean your act up and to get the basics down.


Happy Bubbles,

Fontaine Denton PADI OWSI #192474
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#2 ErolE

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 01:29 AM

Interesting post..

Perhaps I am getting cynical in my old age, and as a point of discussion I will put forward this statement:

PADI's only interest is in selling courses.

If in fact they did care about the marine environment why do they consider it appropriate to, constantly push the race to the bottom; meaning shorter contact hours and lower prices for their courses.

Shorter course times means Open Water diver that have no bouyancy skills, which results in huge negative impacts for the substrate. Other agency have ten day plus open water courses that give students a proper grounding in diving and results in safer, more environmentally sensitive divers. Without even going into the fact that they enjoy their diving experience more. PADIs only interest here is, by virtue of making a dive course as accessible as possible (read cheap and short), is quantity over quality.

Lower course fees (not even a standard within PADI) means lower and lower returns for dive centres and dive instructors. Paying abysmal wages for experienced, seasoned instructors is a great way of ensuring that they move to more profitable employment leaving the jobs free for those inexperienced youngsters that PADI has just sold IDCs to. By not encouraging quality instructors to remain within the industry means that the priority is not on providing quality tuition.

The most cynical ploy to sell courses is, in my mind is to encourage people to undertake far more risk than they need; witness the PADI recreational rebreather program.

A course that is taught in 2 days aimed at people with 25 dives or more and taught by an instructor that only has to demonstrate 75 hours on a rebreather is going to result in corpses. I hope that I am wrong but myself and about 100% of other dive professionals that I have talked to agree that this is an unfortunate fact.

Rebreather are complex technical pieces of life support that require discipline, experience and dedication. They are hugely less forgiving than open circuit, which can be easily demonstrated by looking at the fatality statistic for open circuit vs S/CCR. Furthermore 90% of these fatalities are dependent on equipment failure, which is largely due to human error (incorrect maintenance, assembly, operation).

(I am not against rebreather per se, but even as an experience tech and cave diver it has taken me years of consideration on whether this is a path that I want to go down, simply do the benefits (less gas usage, silence) out weigh the risks (ie loss of life). Far, far, far better divers than me have died on CCR so to offer a course like this to someone with 25 dives on a 10 day tropical dive holiday that has just crawled out of bed with a pina colada hangover, is to me the height of irresponsibility.)

This is a case of PADI playing fast and loose with diver safety, in order for it to sell more courses, just as it has done with the welfare of the marine environment.

So whilst Fontaine, rightly, feels compelled to write a letter, I honestly doubt PADI will care. As long at they continually make millions from selling course material why would they. PADI are a business, a business with a healthy bottom line and massive market share they will not see the need to justify themselves to anyone. I just can t help to feel saddened by this.


Erol


Ps Just for full disclosure over the years I have trainned with CMAS, BSAC, TDI, PADI (DM) and GUE. I currently train with Unified Team Diving.
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#3 scorpio_fish

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 03:12 AM

So, you are sharing:

1) A private letter to PADI (or perhaps this is just a hypothetical letter) reporting violations of PADI standards, e.g. DSD students going to 130ft. Good for you.

2) You don't like feeding fish. I doubt PADI is going to revoke a dive op's credentials over fish feeding.

3) You think Guam Tropical Dive Station does a lot of things wrong.

PADI does have standards for its training and facilities. They will respond to your accusations in #1. People can die. The rest is beyond the control of PADI. Imagine PADI yanking the credentials. Do you think that will cause a change in the business practices of GTDS? I doubt it. It would just change affiliations.

I have been full on attacked by schools of Chubs in Roatan because they were expecting a free meal and I did not have one to give


Gee, are you ascribing anger and vengeance to the fishs' actions? Chubs are thugs? I've seen Chub nip away without the food angle. They like reflective stuff.

Glad you were able to move on.
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#4 Fontaine

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 05:03 PM

So, you are sharing:

1) A private letter to PADI (or perhaps this is just a hypothetical letter) reporting violations of PADI standards, e.g. DSD students going to 130ft. Good for you.

2) You don't like feeding fish. I doubt PADI is going to revoke a dive op's credentials over fish feeding.

3) You think Guam Tropical Dive Station does a lot of things wrong.

PADI does have standards for its training and facilities. They will respond to your accusations in #1. People can die. The rest is beyond the control of PADI. Imagine PADI yanking the credentials. Do you think that will cause a change in the business practices of GTDS? I doubt it. It would just change affiliations.



Gee, are you ascribing anger and vengeance to the fishs' actions? Chubs are thugs? I've seen Chub nip away without the food angle. They like reflective stuff.

Glad you were able to move on.



1- yes it was a hypothetical letter when i wrote it 6 years ago, but after I read it yesterday i decided to actually send it, looking forward to see if they reply

2- i would never expect PADI to revoke a license over fish feeding, but blatantly breaking safety standards at least deserves a warning letter, or some in person QC...

3- thanks for your analysis

Ive done maybe 1000 dives where Chubs were present at some point and never witnessed any sort of aggressive behavior except for the one dive when they had been fed recently, damsel fish and triggers are another story... I didnt ascribe any emotion with the chubs nibbling at me so I dont really understand your last comment...

If PADI did hypothetically yank GTDS credentials then yes I do think they would change their ways, everybody wants their "PADI" not their Open Scuba Cert, its a brand people have come to know and recognize and that has value.

Its just ridiculous to me that a dive center that pumps out hundreds of instructors a year is allowed to be so lax in its safety standards and environmental ethics , and when you go diving with the American residents on Guam (who were mostly trained in Guam by GTDS) you quickly see that the whole diving culture there is completely screwed up, one of the favorite activities by the "experienced locals" is taking plastic ziplock bags in their BCD pockets, which they then fill with slow moving invertebrates for their personal saltwater aquariums at home, for some reason that doesnt seem quite right!!! I am not a dive nazi and this does not keep me awake at night, I just thought it would be nice to share my "crazy" experiences in Guam with the online community.
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#5 Fontaine

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 05:27 PM

A course that is taught in 2 days aimed at people with 25 dives or more and taught by an instructor that only has to demonstrate 75 hours on a rebreather is going to result in corpses. I hope that I am wrong but myself and about 100% of other dive professionals that I have talked to agree that this is an unfortunate fact.



Scary indeed!! And I mostly agree with everything you said.

People need to think for themselves too and not just blindly trust certifying agencies to do the right thing, and to not scrape by on the bare minimum b/c thats what their budget allows, the only problem with that is your trusting people to be rational.

I think PADIs intentions are good, and the OW course is more suitable for warm water, clear viz, low current type diving, and that if as an individual you want to start doing cold water, heavy current, low viz or deeper (who wants to do that anyway hehehe) type diving then you should definitely be required to do the specialties, advanced course, and rescue course as standard, i feel that all of my students by the time they have done the rescue course are able, well prepared divers. But again that goes back to the whole bad instructor thing and PADIs poor QA/QC management.

Thanks for the informative reply!
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#6 wagsy

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 07:52 PM

I handed back my PADI instructor license back in 2002, they asked my why so I had great delight in giving my reasons.
The number 1 thing is making money and everything they do and say evolves around that.
Gee you don't even have to know how to swim now days to get a ticket.
If I were to hop in plane to learn to fly and the instructor was reading of their slates, I would be out in a flash lol
The are putting out instructors who barely know themselves how to dive or look after themselves never lone looking after a group of nervous people lol
Gone are the days where a certificate on the wall means you are good at something.
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#7 John Bantin

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 02:50 AM

What's new?
I did my IDC/IE a very long time ago. There were 15 candidates. One was swimming so slowly in the stamina test I swear she was going backwards. Another gave a talk on currents during the IDC and talked about electric currents! Of the 15 candidates, I thought none should have passed including me!
My room mate asked me what the RDP was all about the night before the IE. I explained whilst dumbfounded he had no understanding of decompression limits. He was a PADI OWS Instructor the next day!
That was in 1992.

Edited by John Bantin, 15 December 2011 - 02:50 AM.

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#8 uwxplorer

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:52 PM

The most cynical ploy to sell courses is, in my mind is to encourage people to undertake far more risk than they need; witness the PADI recreational rebreather program.

A course that is taught in 2 days aimed at people with 25 dives or more and taught by an instructor that only has to demonstrate 75 hours on a rebreather is going to result in corpses. I hope that I am wrong but myself and about 100% of other dive professionals that I have talked to agree that this is an unfortunate fact.

Rebreather are complex technical pieces of life support that require discipline, experience and dedication. They are hugely less forgiving than open circuit, which can be easily demonstrated by looking at the fatality statistic for open circuit vs S/CCR. Furthermore 90% of these fatalities are dependent on equipment failure, which is largely due to human error (incorrect maintenance, assembly, operation).

(I am not against rebreather per se, but even as an experience tech and cave diver it has taken me years of consideration on whether this is a path that I want to go down, simply do the benefits (less gas usage, silence) out weigh the risks (ie loss of life). Far, far, far better divers than me have died on CCR so to offer a course like this to someone with 25 dives on a 10 day tropical dive holiday that has just crawled out of bed with a pina colada hangover, is to me the height of irresponsibility.)


I agree that the recreational rebreather program is either one of the boldest step in the history of non-skin diving, or the stupidest. I haven't made the rebreather step yet myself, but am decidedly serious about it, having tested several units (several times!) and carefully reading everything I can about it. Clearly, the "dangerosity" of rebreather is debatable (and hotly debated in forums, including this one, apparently!), but an untrained (or insufficiently trained) diver has a lot more chances to die diving them than on OC (except for an out of air situation far from your buddy, which is pretty much a given nowadays). Even the R-class rebreathers will not prevent a diver to:
- flood his/her unit
- ignore warning from the device (and you read posts on forums where people diving the Poseidon Discovery -a R-rebreather- report that they ignore "error XX", rather than aborting their dive, because they know it's a bug!)
- die of CO2 asphyxia, since there is no R-unit with a CO2 sensor (those are anyway too slow to report a CO2 emergency quickly enough)
- end up in big trouble if over-exerting (especially if even less fit people start diving because of the relative lightness of rebreathers), because of the limited O2 delivery capability of solenoids...

I suppose that the liability release forms will be even more draconian than they are, but, as you say, there is a chance that statistics will start going up pretty rapidly...

This being said, I was trained the PADI way a few years ago and felt the need to rack as many "certs" as possible, just to be able to dive in a class environment until I became sufficiently confident to dive on my own. I now dive solo (with another agency's cert) because there is no reliable buddy to be found (and because I am a videographer!).

#9 onokai

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Posted 31 March 2012 - 06:04 PM

P.A.D.I.=Put Another Dollar In
Just my 2 cents after 30 years of Naui divemastering.
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#10 DamonA

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:23 AM

Thoughts....
Love this site as it doesn't talk the semantics of learning scuba diving- diving is second nature to most on this forum.

I don't mind feeding fish if-
1. It's a irregular practice(the fish don't dependent on it/change their behaviors long term)
2. Using local good quality fish/prawn/squid scraps/guts or seaweeds, so as not to introduce disease or bad bugs from other areas.

I pat Bamboo sharks, Dolphins, Dugongs,Turtles and few other harmless critters that I don't spook when I do it- so I don't agree with the don't touch thing, if you know what your messing with and the affect it has, I never ride them or grab them. I don't pat blue ringed occys, stone fish or Wobbegong sharks!

Walking on coral waist deep is dangerous, especially with a 15kg tank on your back! I would swim over it before doing that.

Contained Sewerage tanks should be law for all dive boats on coral reef sites -once had to swim thru macerated crap on a charter boat! The damsel fish love the crap, would we call that fish feeding?

I don't think it's a given to die if you have an OOA situation with no buddy around, maybe end up bent at the worst case scenario.

If you love "diving" get a high paying job so can dive for fun lots(buy your own dive boat!!!).

Instructors have a terrible life, teamwork is a PITA!

Buddies & photography, is a contradiction, you dive at the same time and location, but most of the time go north and south, and meet back at the boat.

#11 Steve Douglas

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 02:51 PM

PADI in it for the money? Nah...I am so glad they talked me into my 'Getting My Right Fin Wet' course which, now completed, allows me to sign up for their 'Getting My Left Fin Wet' course. This will lead to my advanced certification course 'Getting Both Fins Wet...at the same time' course. Can't wait.
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#12 scubamarli

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:40 PM

I am just amazed that 10 year olds can now be certified. Like a 10 year old is capable of making a calm decision when their adult supervisor runs into trouble. This was purely a money making decision, rather than a safe and sensible one.
Interesting letter. There are great PADI operations out there. It likely has less to do with PADI than the people that own and run the operation. It probably wouldn't matter who their agency was; they would be great regardless. The problem is with a lack of accountability with those that are not.

Cheers,
Marli
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#13 ErolE

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 06:30 AM

There are great PADI operations out there. It likely has less to do with PADI than the people that own and run the operation.


Being the devil advocate, surely it is PADI s responsibility to set high standards and then enforce them?
Erol Eriksson
www.photographee.org
Unified Team Diving

#14 Steve Douglas

Steve Douglas

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 08:35 AM

Back in the early 90's I owned a dive shop near San Diego. We were the first BSAC shop in the USA as one of my 2 partners was a Brit and big BSAC promotor. After becoming a BSAC Advanced Instructor and being in the business for awhile I grew to really disdain the so called 'Advanced' certification regardless of agency. At least a BSAC Advanced certification meant that you had a few hundred dives under your belt. Here I was having people with 30 dives stroll confidently into the shop telling me how advanced they were. More often than not they got that certification with all their dives being in nice easy, warm water from the Caymans or some place like that, or worse yet, from a quarry in the middle of Kansas. It was just so much of a joke. I really think it should be completely removed as a certification title as it gives the wrong slant to a diver who has just earned it. I honestly never started to think of myself as being somewhat advanced until I had about 600 dives in a variety of conditions, gone through the Sheriff's Dive Rescue Team where we were jumping out of choppers with full gear and rappelling off dams, also in full gear. During that period I made some horrendous mistakes, as all divers eventually do, but learned from that. Now, I no longer own the shop or instruct and, being older, am not the diver I used to be. However, no one can remove the training and experience that is so valuable. The agencies to me are a joke.

One last anecdote, I recall in 1992 I was aboard the Cocos Aggressor talking to Wayne Hanson, the owner, as we motored out to the Cocos Islands. He told me that when guests fill out their experience form, anyone who writes themselves down as 'Expert' are the ones the divemasters look most closely at as they are the ones who tend to overestimate themselves. Glad I had just written down 'Experienced'. No one is an expert.
Steve
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Steve Douglas
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I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.

#15 eveuger

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 06:34 AM

Well, if you are going to visit bad PADI schools, you might wanna take a look at Happy Divers in Crete! "Divemasters" so bored with their job that they pull crab's legs of to pass the time, groups of new divers to 120 feet etc etc

But I guess that in the end it is the divers themselfes who make the difference. I started out PADI OW and found out that it was not the best course for the diving I had in mind (Netherlands, currents and bad viz) so I switched.
The divemaster pulling the legs of the crab got hit on the head by my girlfriend, and only because she beat me to it, he was probably lucky.


So even divers who learn to walk over coral or feed fastfood to fish will eventually (hopefully) see their mistakes. There will always be a few who will never learn and there will always be bad schools giving the wrong example.
And you don't need to be a diver to wreck the coral, I saw groups of tourists in the red Sea walking over the coral heads to go snorkeling, on a guided tour!!!

It's better to educate people through magazines, documentaries etc. Let people use their own common sense...and the people without common sense will not grow one by doing a good diving course.
I mean, did you ever learn in a course that you shouldn't kick cats?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that dive schools (PADI or otherwise) shouldn't up their performance and set good examples, but it would be na´ve to think that third-world country schools will choose coral-life over feeding their families. In the end they all want to make a profit even if that means that marine life will suffer.

And we all want to enjoy the wonders of the oceans...even if we know in the back of our minds that any type of diving is bad for the environment...even if you don't touch a thing, how about that polluting boat that brought you there etc etc etc

#16 Steve Douglas

Steve Douglas

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 02:38 PM

I recall on one trip to the Phillipines..we were staying at Puerta Gallera at the time, and we went out to some site called the Boiler. (Everywhere seems to have a site named 'The Boiler') There was a Japanese couple on the skiff and they held hands throughout the dive, walking upright in the water all over the coral. I asked the divemaster later on why nothing was said and he told me that 'They were paying customers and he didn't want to risk offending them.' Sad but true
Steve
www.kenstone.net
www.lafcpug.org

Steve Douglas
www.worldfilmsandtravel.com

I have worked as an unpaid reviewer for the editing websites since 2002. Most all hardware and software is sent to me free of charge, however, in no way am I obligated to provide either positive or negative evaluations. Any suggestions I make regarding products are a result of my own, completely, personal opinions and experiences with said products.

#17 DamonA

DamonA

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    Don't like contact sport at all or elite level professional sport.

Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:49 AM

Back in the early 90's I owned a dive shop near San Diego. We were the first BSAC shop in the USA as one of my 2 partners was a Brit and big BSAC promotor. After becoming a BSAC Advanced Instructor and being in the business for awhile I grew to really disdain the so called 'Advanced' certification regardless of agency. At least a BSAC Advanced certification meant that you had a few hundred dives under your belt. Here I was having people with 30 dives stroll confidently into the shop telling me how advanced they were. More often than not they got that certification with all their dives being in nice easy, warm water from the Caymans or some place like that, or worse yet, from a quarry in the middle of Kansas. It was just so much of a joke. I really think it should be completely removed as a certification title as it gives the wrong slant to a diver who has just earned it. I honestly never started to think of myself as being somewhat advanced until I had about 600 dives in a variety of conditions, gone through the Sheriff's Dive Rescue Team where we were jumping out of choppers with full gear and rappelling off dams, also in full gear. During that period I made some horrendous mistakes, as all divers eventually do, but learned from that. Now, I no longer own the shop or instruct and, being older, am not the diver I used to be. However, no one can remove the training and experience that is so valuable. The agencies to me are a joke.

One last anecdote, I recall in 1992 I was aboard the Cocos Aggressor talking to Wayne Hanson, the owner, as we motored out to the Cocos Islands. He told me that when guests fill out their experience form, anyone who writes themselves down as 'Expert' are the ones the divemasters look most closely at as they are the ones who tend to overestimate themselves. Glad I had just written down 'Experienced'. No one is an expert.
Steve



Lucky 10YO!
Parents that can afford to let kids scuba dive, let alone worries about barotrauma!

Damon ps- there are great reasons to run your own private boat....

Edited by DamonA, 06 June 2012 - 12:56 AM.