Friday, December 27, 2013

Here's an idea... if you aren't trained and certified, stay the hell out of caves while diving!

How many have read about the Christmas Day death of a father and his teenaged son at a sink/cave location in Florida? From the facts released in the news, this was a completely avoidable tragedy. (I have trouble calling it a tragedy when an adult seemed to act so wrecklessly of their own will; his actions, however, don't just affect him, but in this case the mortality of his own son, and the life-long futures of his remaining friends and family and those who had to leave their families on Christmas to recover their bodies. Ooooh this kind of stuff makes me so angry.)

If you haven't found this little corner of the web already, check out the Accidents and Incidents forum over on ScubaBoard. It gets long and deep pretty fast as there are so many people, opinions and some are quick to keyboard bang. But it's often very informative.

So quiz time: what should an Open Water Certified adult (without any cave training) and his completely uncertified, self taught teenage son do when they are headed toward a dive site and see this sign: "Cave diving in this area is extremely dangerous - even life threatening. Do not dive unless you are a certified cave diver."

There's only one answer, in my opinion: turn around, go home, and look up your favorite local cave instructor. Get Dad signed up with him/her, and get junior into an open water class. (Which, if Dad's taught him how to dive well, should be a snap, right?) Then, he can follow Dad into cave training.  And once both are certified, they can dive within their training and abilities, and progress along a path of training and experience, with the support of one of the most amazing diving communities around (assuming they don't act like total douchebags).

This makes me so sad, and angry, and sad, and angry and...

I can imagine and understand the siren-song draw of an open sink with cave leading off of it, I really can. "I'll just poke in a few feet, that's all..." And that's bullshit. You just don't even start. Don't even OPEN that door. Just DON'T.

This wasn't an "accident." This was the incredibly negligent and reckless actions of an adult that resulted in his own death, and IMO the murder of a teen aged boy.

I could write many more words of anger, judgement and emotion, but they would be for naught. If others who might be sitting on the cusp of not giving proper respect to the unforgiving power of the water and the underwater caves could learn from this, at least that would be something, no?

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