The "Loved One" Rule


Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D.

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When I was trained as an instructor, there was one supreme authority, the "Loved One Rule,"  that guided receiving instructor credentials. I was told it was absolutely inviolate and once invoked,  never challenged ... the only absolute in an instructor's set of evaluation procedures. At my Instructor Training Course at the University of Michigan, 12 people on the staff Board of Review had to each accept the instructor candidates under this inviolate tradition. This principle was so ingrained in those that trained me, that I have adopted it and used it in all my dive-related decisions. 

Sadly, most of today's young instructors have never heard of this guideline, much less be able to apply it to their diving instructional certifications.

I would like to suggest that much of the degradation in the knowledge and skills of newly certified divers is a result of the abandonment of this "loved one" rule. I would further suggest that our sport would be safer and more enjoyable, if every instructor used this simple guideline as their final certification criteria.

The "Loved One Rule" can be summarized as, "My signature on a dive authorization, evaluation, or C-Card means I would would trust you (the C-Card recipient)  to dive (at the level of certification being evaluated) with those I love."

Use of this rule is simple. Whenever it is time to issue a certification, just consider the "loved one rule" ... those you trust, get certified, and those you do not,  receive extra training until you can, in good conscience, believe the student meets your trust.


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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