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The Pearls of Rented, Borrowed Dive Equipment

By: John Chandler

Date Posted: 2001-01-07

The cool green water matches her eyes and man is it nice to back in the water and great to be diving with a good dive buddy. Suddenly those same pretty green eyes are flashing panic and I see that she is struggling to stay afloat. Glad to be only an arms reach away I support her while inflating my Buoyancy Compensator that keeps both of us well above the water and of the beautiful reef below. "What is it?" I ask and she says her BCD is not holding her up and she feels like she is unable to stop from sinking. "Not a great way to start off the day" I think while moving around to check the fitting where her inflation device joins with her BCD. A stream of large bubbles indicates where the problem lay. After a short buddy swim back to the boat we find that her rental BCD does not have the required rubber washer that is needed for the airtight junction between the inflation hose and the air bladder of the BCD.

Trying to be as supportive as possible to her embarrassing situation I asked "Did you check this BCD out before you left the Dive Shop?" "No, Joe picked it up for me and I thought he did all the checks" she replied. Still I knew that this incident should have been prevented if I had done my buddy checks as well as I have taught people to do. I was not innocent here and we were all fortunate that we had only broken one of the rules of diving. Thank goodness we had stayed close to one another on entry and that we had been paying attention to one another before signaling our OK to descend. And even better thank goodness she had the courage and discipline to say something was wrong. All things considered we had made the best of a very bad situation.

BUT what is the lesson learned here? Is there a lesson AND NOT blamein all of this? Yes. Caveat Renter, or BEWARE to those who rent or borrow Diving Equipment.

So many times I have heard disparaging remarks about this dive shop or that dive shop and their rental equipment, or about how that same shop that gives "short" fills in their tanks. Caveat Renter! You just have to ask yourself "Why did I leave the dive shop (or my house for that matter) without first checking to see if I had all my gear, and secondly and even more importantly DOES ALL MY DIVE GEAR WORK PROPERLY?"

We have all undergone a certification course, or two, and in every one of those courses your diving leadership has emphasized the importance of diver checks, buddy checks, and the all important equipment checks. Can you imagine the pilot of your next flight just walking out, setting down in the pilot's seat and firing up the aircraft without doing a few ground checks first?

Let's start out this New Year with SAFETY in mind and less blame (unless it is self-blame) on our tongues. Let's look our gear over and be sure that it is in working order before we leave for the dive boat, or dive site. Let's look after each other and really do those buddy checks no matter how much experience we have, nor how many levels of certification cards are in our pocketbooks and wallets. Let's all try to make 2001 the safest year on record for diving on Okinawa. See you at the beach or just drop in and say hello on my website at www.jwchandler.com .

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