I SEE many divers who have had accidents. Some stories cause me concern about lack of leadership shown by those with a duty of care for inexperienced divers.
I wont name any organisation; I believe that all diving organisations have leaders and instructors who fall short of the required standards.
I saw a young diver who was diving with his branch diving officer and chairman, who both had larger cylinders and computers. The youngster had no decompression computer or tables. After 28 minutes at 38m he was running low on air, so they sent him up alone.
During his ascent he knew he should do some stops but did not know which, and had insufficient air anyway. On surfacing he had neurological symptoms, but those in the boat would not radio for help until the DO and chairman had completed their dive.
Another inexperienced diver had been diving with an instructor. He recalled starting a rapid ascent after running low on air. The next thing he remembered was waking on shore with somebody blowing into his mouth. His companion asked him whether he felt all right. As many of us might in such circumstances, he replied: I think so. He was then told to carry his gear up to the cars while the others finished their air. It was only some hours later that he was treated for secondary drowning and DCS.
I also saw a 13-year-old on holiday in the tropics, whose non-diving parents agreed to him taking a course. On the second day the professional instructor supervised activities 30m down. When the lad blacked out on the ascent it was another trainee who brought him up. Luckily another trainee was able to do resuscitation; the instructor was panicking too much.
Medical confidentiality means that, unlike Beachcomber, I cannot make threats or name names, but it is clear that no organisation can be complacent about this issue.