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<font color='#810541'>i`ve been wondering if i should post this. But i`ve been convinced by a few friends that i should on safety grounds.
I`m not particularly experienced (16 dives AOW) but i know what i considor safe.personally!
A friend of mine and myself went to dominican republic last month, firstly so he could do his OW qualification somewhere warm, i could do some diving while he learnt, and then we could dive together and have a whale of a time!

Unfortunately he couldn`t get his head around the mask off exercise in the pool..and he felt quite ill for the rest of the day (too much pool up the nose probably!)

Not a problem says i, leave it for til the next weekend, and have another go. In between, i went for a 2 tank dive, got to the dive boat, no real dive brief, roll off the boat, oh ok so i`m underweighted, not a problem i`ll just get dragged by my fin to 20m by the dive guide!! So i`m now neutral...just wondering where i`m gonna find the extra 2KG i need, now getting a tad worried.

so we carry on to 30m, i`m pretty worried about holding my safety stop while beind underweighted, ok so it isn`t required, but i do them as a matter of course.

My next worry is i`m breathing faster than i ever have while under!! My air got to 800psi, warned the dive leader.."no problem"..ok, i`ll just chill out and wait for the dive to end.....10mins later, i`m at about 550psi and we`re still at 20m!! i`m getting pretty frantic.

My point is this, all ended ok, we shallowed out fairly quickly, and did a 3min safety, but had a decent brief been carried out i probaby wouldn`t have worried, as it was i spent the whole dive worrying...a more experienced diver would probaby have had a few serious words with them `prior` to getting in the water, however as a none too experienced type, i "assumed" as a PADI company, certain standards would be upheld!!!

needless to say i had a few beers that night to reflect on what had happened, and tried to decide if i was just being a bit of a woose, or did have valid concerns?


My mate didn`t bother doing his course while we were there, after i told him about my safety concerns.

Am i being too harsh? is this something i can look forward to on other foreign holidays? I don`t think it is.

ATB
Rob
 

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Well, for starters, an e-mail to the company you dived with is in order, we have a thread on this site for muppet of the month, your dive guide should be on the top of the list.

We have all had the odd "what the hell am I doing here moment". But such blatant disregard of what should be considered normal practise, i.e. a check dive to confirm weighting, skill levels etc by a dive operation is unforgivable.

No you most certainly should not expect this from anywhere in the world, you should insist on a couple of minutes at the bigining of the dive to check your weighting, and confirm your kit is functioning OK. Most dive guides who have any real experience carry a couple of kilo's in there pocket for just this reason.

What you have discovered is just how "variable" PADI centres can be. Please post the name of this centre so we can all avoid it in the future.

Andrew
 

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Rob,

There are good operations and bad operations.

I learnt to dive in the DR and the standards were piss poor.  Unfortunately I did not realise how much they had skipped and cut corners until I watched my wife doing an OW course 2 years later in the UK!

I am sure there are some good operations out there but it sounds like you did the right thing by telling your mate not to do their OW course with the same organisation.

You can relay your experience to PADI and they will investigate whether standards are not being met.

All of my courses since AOW have been completed in the UK and I can honestly say, they have always been of a high standard.

Daz
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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<font color='#810541'>Cheers andrew,

glad to know i`m not being perdantic (no idea of the proper spelling!) the gear i was using was mostly theirs, and that left a little to be desired (very poor reg balance, had to suck like a whore out of the water, wasn`t too bad once head down..but still)
 

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<font color='#810541'>daz,
i did my Ow and AOW in tenerife, with a british company, felt like i`d been taught very well indeed, very confident since, but this holiday knocked my confidence. It`s not just about having confidence in your own ability, it`s also obviously having enough confidence to say "NO F#$ck this I`m off!" before it all goes horribly wrong!
I`m pretty sure that 98% of you would beat the crap out of anyone who tried pulling you down cus you were underweighted, I just didn`t feel confident enough in my own "what was and what wasn`t right" at the time, but i`m damned if that`s gonna happen again to me!!

Hope it`s safer for you
Rob
 

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Rob mate,

Never feel that just coz you've 'only' got a few dives under your belt that you can't take the centre to task for their perceived short-comings!! Good and safe diving practise begins the moment you take up the sport!!

If you're not happy with a briefing, tell them there and then that you'd appreicate a more in-depth review of the site to be dived, the expected conditions, any current or surge type issues to be expected, depths to be dived, sites/points of interest (coral types, sea-life etc.) to be seen whilst down there (these can help a new diver orientate him/herself and so help build confidence on the dive) etc. And then don't apologise if you fancy going into a detailed Q&A session, as any info garnered on the boat can make the dive more enjoyable and relaxed for you.

And if I've read you correctly (and please correct me if I'm wrong), this was your first dive in-country, i.e. your orientation/get weighted correctly/sort your general shit out and get comfy dive? Yes? Well then, what on earth was this tit doing taking a diver with 16 OW dives on his first wet in-country down to 30 metres! Reverse profile comes to mind.

I've heard a few 'mixed' reports (never dived there myself) about DR, and I have to say it might be on my list to visit, but only after I've exhausted a few other regions of the world. And NOT coz of the diving there, more so, as has been given in first-hand accounts above, the general 'go as you please' approach to areas which need serious attention.

If you can sort it on the boat (i.e. things like your under-weighting issue) then there is less chance of them becoming an issue at 30 metres!!

Hope the trip wasn't a total waste mate, if only to high-light the safety issues and give you a sense of 'how I'll want to see it done next time I visit a new dive centre'!

Cheers,
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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<font color='#810541'>bren,
you`re quite right it was my first dive there, my main concern is i wasn`t confident enough to say `hang on`, my fault i know, but what i thought would be a good idea, would be to highlight this problem, simply because there can be a slight language problem abroad, where do you draw the line between being happy with your own ability, but not happy with the lack of info about the dive profile you will be diving when it`s controlled by a `local hero`. i`ve certainly learnt my lesson, i`m just unsure if i should email the relevant people about the diving being carried out in their name, ie. because the standards are
1. very possibly dangerous
2.substandard
3.or at the very least may put people off this bloody brilliant sport!!

ATB
Rob
 

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<font color='#000080'>Hi Rob,

I'm of to the DR in april so I would appreciate the name of the company [by pm if you prefer] as I was going to let my kids do a refferal out there.

Safe diving,
Steve.
 

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Rob,

Sounds like a real cowboy outfit!

I reckon it takes at least 50 dives before the average diver reaches a comfort zone and settles into their own routine. Well I know it took me that many. That would also include a couple of moments where you think "Oh F**k what the hell am I doing down here!". Sounds like those idiots were far too complacent.

Don't let it put you off.

Chris
 

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<font color='#8D38C9'>Hi Rob,
having been dragged down on a dive when I forgot my weightbelt, (d'oh!) I understand your concerns! As you say its fine when you're down there but you do spend the entire dive thinking "how the feck do I hold a safety stop?"
Glad it all ended safely, sorry it's knocked your confidence (I cried like a baby once I was out of the water!), but I now always make sure I have a weightbelt on!

I have dived in a number of different foreign countries, I always e-mailed them & got information before I went, as I was a single lass looking to dive, dive, dive! (usually the ones that answered all my questions/concerns ended up getting my business) I have walked into dive operations to go diving and then left because of the lassiez-faire attitude of staff, but I'm a bolshie Irish lass!

My advice is to contact PADI, they do take complaints seriously and as you said you felt that they were unsafe, substandard & the fact that they could put others off is a terrible thing! Also as Andrew said, drop the company a line expressing your concerns, and let them know that you are contacting PADI.

Hope you get into the water soon & put this unfortunate incident behind you, don't let it put you off, there are some great dive operators out there (not just PADI ones!), and this lot need to be named & shamed!

Blanaid
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Rob ,


mate , the 7 P's can = Death
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]If you're not happy with a briefing, tell them there and then that you'd appreicate a more in-depth review of the site to be dived,
if ya not happy , stand ya ground until you are


Andy
 

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Rob,

Report it to PADI and let them follow it up as they sound like they are NOT following the PADI standards and tell them everything thet you can remember. It will all help in the investigation. Don't let it put you off diving abroad though - there are more good centres than bad 'uns.

Steve S,

Did I meet you on Saturday in Derby Divers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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<font color='#810541'>Hey all,
thanks for the comments, i wasn`t too sure if i was just whinging for the sake of it, or if i had a valid concern, feel a lot happier now!
If anyone wants to know the outfits name just PM me i`ll be happy to PM you back, i don`t really want to start naing names on the post. Hopefully my experience is an isolated one with them, i met some people out there who had done a number of dives with them, and they were quite happy!
ATB
Rob C
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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<font color='#810541'>Hi Steve
Derby divers...not me mate, sorry. There are a lot of people looking like this these days though..easy mistake!

I wanted to test the water on here first, now i know i`ve got some valid points, i will be emailing PADI, they can`t fix what they don`t know after all.

ATB
Rob C
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Noel Johnson @ Mar. 22 2004,12:39)]Steve S,

Did I meet you on Saturday in Derby Divers?
<font color='#000080'>Not me mate I was tiling our bathroom
trying to finish it in time for the rugby.

Safe diving,
Steve.
 

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Go ahead, report the buggers!

Confidence comes with experiance and you will have gained some from this, even if you don't agree now.

If you ever find yourself having to "swim" down because your a "bit" light, you can usualy find some stones/rocks to put in your BC pockets for your return to the surface. It's not text book, but it can save an otherwise worrying dive.

James  
 

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Rob,

Name names, please, one of the purposes of a forum like this is pass information amongst each other on experiances such as this. Also, they really should be reported to PADI. Belive me, what they did was beyond reckless, pulling an under weighted diver down is a disaster waiting to happen.

Andrew
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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<font color='#810541'>hi james,

gotta say, while i was down i was scraping around for something to stuff in my pockets...but it would have either been alive or it would have been dead coral i`d have to have busted off....neither of which is right....or heavy enough  


ok, i`ll bust `em in public!!! There name was Sea Pro Divers based Puerto Plata, i will say though that i met 2 english guys there on holiday, who had done a good few trips with them that holiday and hadn`t experienced any problems, so it may well be i had a dodgey guide...please to all, don`t avoid them on my say so, it may just be i had an isolated/bad experience.

I`m just glad i haven`t over reacted to my experience, the replies people have posted has made me realise that what i considor safe practices, is what other people expect too.

Thank you all, very much appreciated.

Rob C
 

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Just an observation, from reading your post it seems you had no problem holding your safety stop. Had you been underweighted I would have thought that the near empty aluminium cylinder would have popped you up to the surface.
I dived with Sea Pro and thought they were OK , but then I count myself as reasonably self sufficient and experienced.
The diving itself however was very very dull !
 
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