A Sharp Point


Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D.

 This is an electronic reprint of a letter to the editor that appeared in SOURCES (Sept/Oct. 1989, p. 4). This material is copyrighted and all rights retained by the author. This article is made available as a service to the diving community by the author and may be distributed for any non-commercial or Not-For-Profit use.  

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Several years ago I took my first two advanced diver students diving. We were slowly moving along a sandy bottom that was lightly covered with thick  green/brown vegetation. I noticed that one of my students had passed over something shiny, so I went over to investigate. I found a diver's knife. It was about 10" of stainless steel with a black handle in absolutely superb condition. It was a knife that Jim Bowie would have been proud to carry. So, I picked it up. I already had a knife on my thigh and I did not have any place to put the knife, so I carried the knife in my left hand.

After a few moments, I noticed that both my students had taken out their knives and were swimming in a menacing posture. I knew that there were no predatory critters in the fresh water of Grand Traverse Bay and that we were definitely not swimming in enemy waters. Although the sight of my students swimming with their knives was amusing, it was clearly an inappropriate behavior. I indicated that they should surface. On the surface I asked my students, "Why are you swimming with your knives out?" One student replied, "Well, you had your knife out, so I assumed that you wanted me to take mine out too."

The point is:  

Students may listen to what we, as instructors, say, but they will do as we do. As scuba instructors, our best method of teaching is by example.  


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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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Use of these articles for personal or organizational profit is specifically denied.

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