How do I tell if my future dive shop is a cowboy operation likely to kill me?
April 10, 2006 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Are there any resources that track dive shop safety?

Having just been on a scuba dive where there was a fatality, I'm thinking about diving safety more than ever. Is there a good e-resource that tracks statistics on dive shops - how often they have accidents, what kind of accidents they have, how many fatalities they've had, etc.?
posted by Amizu to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
dan, at least a good place to start
posted by killyb at 5:06 PM on April 10, 2006

Good of you to be concerned; I learned in the middle 80s and looking back on it I think the whole industry was very cavalier about the real dangers involved. That said, I'm not sure I think most of the dangers are from anyone other than ourselves, the divers.

The only big danger I can think of that can be caused by the shop itself is bad air through the introduction of carbon monoxide in the pressurizing process.

If you mean that the shop is also operating the boats you're going out on there's this good list of things to look for on You may also want to read at the DAN site and just google around in general for "scuba shop safety."

As far as I can tell, Florida doesn't require any explicit registration for SCUBA boat operators. Searching on turns up "Scuba Diving Teacher Certification" and "Scuba Diving Schools Registration" but nothing about SCUBA boat operators. There are things to be found there about tour boat operators in general, however.

Other Florida SCUBA resources:
Scubahound has a number of links in their academic section about SCUBA medicine, might be worth a look.
posted by phearlez at 5:19 PM on April 10, 2006

Amizu - I can't answer the question directly, but there are alternative ways to think about the situation.

I was fortunate enough to be certified by a former military diver. I never did get specifics on his background, but it doesn't really matter now. What does matter is that he had no commercial interests at the time. He was also very, very vocal about safety. He was also ahead of the curve on gear. We thought he was joking about how out of date many of the dive shops and commercial interests were when it came to preparation, training, equipment, and safety. Until the day of our first open water dive (in a quarry). Long story short - it would be easy to laugh at many of the other divers if you didn't realize how ill-prepared they were.

My point? Dive shops might not be the best place to go. I've seen good and bad. Find someone with more experience and less of a profit motive. Even if you have to take an advanced course.

phearlez - Carbon Monoxide was one of the first issues my instructor brought up. Again, it sounded more like a joke at the time. Sad that some people are so careless and lazy about such things.
posted by bh at 6:11 PM on April 10, 2006

I haven't been diving in well over a decade, but I was trained by my Dad (who I guess had some vested interests in me not dying while diving), and a guy who'd been a commercial diver, and had been damaged (pretty bad tremors in the hands) by commercial diving gone wrong (he was quite the character though, total adrenaline junkie).

My Dad was big into diving; he initially trained under the PADI curriculum of the mid-80s, then switched to BSAC (where he ended up with the second-highest instructor rating before "retiring" from diving). The general sense was that BSAC was far more thorough than PADI in terms of training and safety, and that their instructors were far more knowledgable and held to a higher standard than PADI.

However, this is all information from the 80s and 90s, and I have no idea how the industry or its major players have changed since then.

Caveat urinor!
posted by lowlife at 5:23 AM on April 11, 2006

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