Depth Limit?


Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D.

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I strongly believe that everyone who is considering becoming  involved in dive training should read Your Instructor Image Can Kill (in pdf) by Lee Somers, Ph.D.. The following paraphrases my personally favorite  incident from Lee's  article.

A number of years ago, Lee Somers at the University of Michigan ran an entire basic scuba diving class (15 three hour lectures and 15 two hour pool sessions) without mentioning a specific depth limitation for recreational diving. This was intentionally done.

On the final exam for this class, Lee asked his students to assign a numerical depth limit to their recreational diving based on their readings, class lectures and the entire class experience. Most of the answers were in the range the recreational training agencies have defined as operational limits for scuba diving: while a few students listed 60 fsw, the majority of the students listed the most commonly seen 100 to 130 fsw as their chosen limit for diving. But one student  listed approximately 160 fsw. 

Lee interviewed the student to determine how he had derived the160 fsw limit for his diving. His answer was:

Some  students during a post pool training get-together had overheard some of the TA's talking about a trip to Tobermory (a world class wreck diving underwater preserve in Ontario; about 5 hours from Detroit). The TA's were discussing diving a wreck,  the Forest City. The stern of this wreck lies in approximately 160 ffw. 

The student ASSUMED that since the teaching assistants were going to dive to 165 ffw, that this depth MUST BE within safe limits.

The point is:

Students will listen to all that you say and sometimes off-the-record comments made in a non-classroom situation will have a most significant impact on their later behavior. 

So,  if you choose to socialize with students, be guarded in your behaviors 'cause the students will observe your actions and you will be emulated!


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About The Author: 

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D. is a biochemist and Diving Safety Coordinator at the University of Michigan. He has authored more than 200 scuba related articles. His personal dive library (See Alert Diver, Mar/Apr, 1997, p. 54) is considered one of the best recreational sources of information In North America.

  Copyright 2001-2024 by Larry "Harris" Taylor

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These articles may be used for not-for-profit diving education