Interesting article from John Chatterton

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Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Dusty2 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:06 pm

Here is an interesting article that I'm sure is going to ruffle a lot of feathers so if you are easily upset by opinions contrary to your own diving philosophy it would probably be best if you pass this over and continue reading elsewhere. I agree with most of what he says but I am aware that there are those who will violently object to his ideas. Remember that this is one of the most well known divers presently alive and who is an advanced trimix/deep tec/CCR instructor with thousands of deep water dives to is credit.

Please lets not start a lot rants about this and get this thread locked. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and lets all respect that and keep this civil. Remember rule #1 please

http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/content/554-self-reliance-tech-diving.html

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Scubie Doo » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:21 pm

Very interesting article. The debate is like arguing religion. No one is right and everyone is right at the same time. Thanks for sharing this Rich.

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Dusty2 » Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:37 pm

Scubie Doo wrote:Very interesting article. The debate is like arguing religion. No one is right and everyone is right at the same time. Thanks for sharing this Rich.


I like that, no one is wrong and no one is right. There is no normal it is a figment of your imagination.

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by LCF » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:57 am

I know you didn't want discussion, Dusty, but I can't be entirely quiet.

I accept that there are different approaches to diving, and nobody else has to adopt mine. But when a very famous man writes that, if someone came to him for gas at depth, he would fight them off and refuse to help, I don't find that palatable, nor do I think that is a good model to put in front of thousands of divers who will never do the dives he does, and don't understand what the DIFFERENCE is.

I lost a lot of respect for Mr. Chatterton over his article.
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Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by spatman » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:02 am

Chatterton's entitled to his beliefs and practices. Though if given the opportunity, I probably wouldn't tech dive with him if it were just the two of us.
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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Norris » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:25 am

I personally enjoyed the article and understand his line of thinking. I posted this on FaceBook last week and didn't post here as I felt that it was contrary to the way that many people think on this board. I pride myself in being self-reliant and do my best to assure that I do not place someone diving with me in a situation where they have to save me, thus adding to their stress and creating a possible situation.
The diving that many people do on here does not even remotely compare to what he does on a regular basis. So to call his article blasphemy is comparing apples to oranges. Here we are again "SURPRISE"!! Someone's styles, beliefs, and methods are different than what someone else believes and I assume that there will be some backlash on here.
Personally I respect the guy and agree that there is a lot to consider before defining yourself as someone who should be doing the dives he is speaking of in his article. Team divers would not dive with him, but I would. I am always available to help someone and tend to really keep an eye on people underwater. However; when I dive, concerning MY safety I always consider myself to be solo diving. I personally dont want to "rely" on someone not to fold should something go a little wrong. Take another failure point out of the equation.

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by spatman » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:39 am

I agree with you that self-reliance is important, and in many ways a good practice. But to categorically say, "screw you, you're on your own" to a fellow diver in distress is pretty lame, imho. I think every situation needs to be assessed and I will do what I can to help another diver, up to a certain point where I feel I am putting myself in significant harm's way.
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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Dusty2 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:41 am

Thanks guys for keeping this civil. Proves we can live together peacefully. I understand both sides of this argument and try to look for the good in both. Each of us has their own style and comfort zone and their own beliefs. If we can respect that we are indeed showing that we are adults and realize that people are different and we can't expect everyone to think the way we do. I am sure that each and everyone here would do there utmost to help any other diver in distress not just their buddy. This has been demonstrated again and again from our board members in real life situations.

Lets all dive safe and respect each other and remember our sport is only as safe as we make it.
Last edited by Dusty2 on Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Norris » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:43 am

Oh and after pages of posts on ScubaBoard Chatterton replies here. Another well rounded response, and in my opinion a good way to think...

http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/conten ... l#comments

Chatterton - February 13th, 2013, 06:53 PM

Jajajajajajaja

Thank you all for the very nice comments, the unexpected comments, and the somewhat humorous comments.

I guess I should have done a better job of titling the blog? Self reliance to me means taking responsibility for oneself. I should have titled it, Responsibility. Although I engage in solo diving on occasion, it is when the occasion dictates so to me. It is possible for me to have that option, because I am self reliant. The Doria video dive would have been a nightmare with two divers in those small spaces, with all that loose debris, but I am not an advocate of solo diving without cause. However, I am an advocate of divers being responsible for themselves. If I was with a buddy, and I were to have a problem, any problem as has happened in the past, my methodology for dealing with the emergency, is to deal with the emergency, myself. It is simpler to have the solution with me, rather than go get it from someone else.

The way the human mind works is that we observe, we process the data, and then we react. It takes time. If I have an emergency, I have to identify the problem, process the information, and then act to resolve the issue. The emergency may be inconvenient, but not unexpected, because I am prepared.

If I have to identify the problem, process the information, resolve the issue by finding my buddy, relate problem to him/her where he/she then has to identify the problem, process the data, and then react, well I think I have made things more complicated than necessary? I like simple, not complicated. But that is me???

I like team diving. I have been part of several expeditions, multinational expeditions, all over the world, with extremely detailed and involved dive plans. We used buddies, and support divers, and all sorts of things to minimize the inherent risk of deep wreck diving. The divers, without exception, were all very responsible. That is how we got stuff done. We could count on our fellow divers to be self reliant, and responsible. That means follow the plan, and it never meant come over and rush me for a regulator!!

Why would anyone rush another diver for a regulator? Because they are out of all breathing gas? Because they suffered a primary failure with no backup? To me, either one of these is totally unacceptable and unnecessary.

So, I think training should have greater focus on honesty, self assessment, self reliance, and responsibility, with less focus on honing buddy diving dependency skills. You can still keep your buddy. As far as I am concerned, take two, or three??

So, my blog is not about Solo vs. Buddy. It is not about safety. It is not about refusing to work with others. It is not about Tek vs. DIR. The blog I was trying to write is about mindset. It is my personal opinion that as divers we need to man up (or woman up) and take responsibility for:

1. Our own ass.
2. Our own dive.
3. Having the necessary experience for the dive.
4. Knowing the pitfalls.
5. Having all the equipment we might need.
6. When systems fail, having an appropriate backup.
7. Knowing what the hell we are doing.
8. Having the courage to know that when we can't assume all that responsibility, then we should probably stay on the boat, instead of assuming that if/when something goes wrong, the plan is to inflict myself on someone else.

Yes, I am dangerous. My message is dangerous. You are right. I preach, responsibility!! I am an evil genius!!!!!!!!! Jajajajajajajajajjajaja

I am just kidding. I am not a genius.

Cheers

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Dusty2 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:51 am

Well said John!

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Norris » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:04 am

spatman wrote:I agree with you that self-reliance is important, and in many ways a good practice. But to categorically say, "screw you, you're on your own" to a fellow diver in distress is pretty lame, imho. I think every situation needs to be assessed and I will do what I can to help another diver, up to a certain point where I feel I am putting myself in significant harm's way.


I think his "screw you" option is used on dives where taking his air would screw them both, considering deco and depth. I think you and him agree that you would "do what you can" to help, but some situations would mean that helping would place both divers in serious jeapordy?
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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Tom Nic » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:29 pm

Norris wrote:
spatman wrote:I agree with you that self-reliance is important, and in many ways a good practice. But to categorically say, "screw you, you're on your own" to a fellow diver in distress is pretty lame, imho. I think every situation needs to be assessed and I will do what I can to help another diver, up to a certain point where I feel I am putting myself in significant harm's way.


I think his "screw you" option is used on dives where taking his air would screw them both, considering deco and depth. I think you and him agree that you would "do what you can" to help, but some situations would mean that helping would place both divers in serious jeapordy?


This was my take on his statement... If you were rushed by another diver while at 200fsw+ on the Andrea Doria diving air there is a good chance that the diver is going to kill both of you.

Perhaps I am wrong, and I have no dog in the fight nor a desire to defend John Chatterton, but even in our basic Rescue course back in the day we were taught self-rescue first, and there was a clear "if somebody comes at you panicked, distressed, etc to the point where they are going to do you harm you have a responsibility to get away however you can if you need to protect yourself", accompanied by various description of what violent things the instructor would do to said person if they came after them.

It was in that context that I understood his statement - although the knife part is a bit stark.

Who knows what any of us would do in either of the above situations until you find yourself in them?

Again, perhaps I am wrong, but I have a hard time imagining that if I came to him on a recreational dive out of air that he would not donate to me... who knows? The point was about being self reliant, and though I am not technically trained, it is my understanding that a Tec Dive is to all intents and purposes a solo-dive. However any diver or multiple divers choose to plan their individual dive is their choice. As is what they would do if someone came rocketing at them out of the gloom at 200 fsw in a confined overhead environment.
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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by lamont » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:44 pm

From Chatterton's article:

So, these guys are getting suited up and talking over their dive plan, and it comes to talking about supplying gas to the other diver, in an emergency? It was like, “This is my long hose, but if you have to take a regulator, blah blah blah”, kind of stuff. This was their training and they were doing what they were trained to do, but I was amazed at how unrealistic this was, and I was kind of amused by it all. I was not worried about either of these guys, but they were looking at their dive differently than I would have.


That's a bit of a strawman. If I saw two "team divers" gearing up to do a 200 foot dive and they were going over donating regulators, I'd be a bit amused as well...

And if you've got a buddy at 200 feet coming at you for a regulator and its a situation where you're both possibly going to die, then there's been a huge set of failures leading up to that moment, including one or both of those divers not being team divers and being in way over their head.

I do think there' is a valid argument to be made that "team diving" lets less capable divers do bigger divers with stronger teammates, and that may result in a situation like that. That isn't inherent to team diving, though, and with restraint you can avoid that.

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by CaptnJack » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:55 pm

The whole thing's a troll, Chatterton is diving CCR anyway. He's (understandably) not donating his loop. Fighting off the random OOA diver only happens on ridiculous oversized random tech charters (apparently east coast since its not happened here in recorded history) and to Mike Nelson.
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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Grateful Diver » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:18 am

Some random thoughts ...

  • Self-reliance and solo are not necessarily the same thing.
  • If you want to dive solo, don't bring a buddy ... doing so misses the point of solo diving, and sets an expectation that you aren't mentally prepared to follow through with.
  • If you dive with a buddy, set expectations for how you're going to deal with potential problems before getting in the water together. Once expectations are set then yes, it's each diver's responsibility to be adequately prepared to execute what you agreed to do. This applies no matter what diving philosophy you happen to adopt.
  • If you're mentally prepared to "fight someone off" who needs your help, you should not be in the water with them to begin with.
  • Solo diving is all about personal responsibility. Diving with someone you're not willing to assist in an emergeny is not ... in fact, it's irresponsible ... regardless of how self-reliant you believe yourself and your buddy to be.
  • Sharing air at 200 feet is no more difficult than sharing air at 60 feet. If you think you lack sufficient reserves for the two of you, then you didn't plan or execute the dive properly.

I've met John Chatterton ... had dinner with him and his wife once, in fact. I don't consider him an irresponsible diver in the least ... just one who, due to how he learned to do these dives, adopts a different mental approach than I would. I also don't think he expresses himself very well at times. This is one of those times. Would I go diving with him? Sure ... but I'd know enough about the dive first to be prepared to handle my own emergencies, should the need arise.

And let's keep in mind the type of diving he's talking about in this article ... it wouldn't apply to most of us.

And, FWIW ... there are places inside wrecks and caves where donating air would be problematic ... and each diver needs to be prepared to handle their own emergency if they should have one at that point in time. I believe that's what John was trying to convey. I once backed out of a restriction I could have made it through because the thought occurred to me that if something happened that caused me to lose my air at this point in time I would not be able to move my arms sufficient to switch to my other regulator. It's something you need to think about before pushing through that small space ... what would I do right now if I lost my air? Each of us needs to take responsibility for our answer to that question, because there's times when a buddy can't help you, even if they wanted to ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Dusty2 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:17 am

I concur with Bob, but would like to add that even in the type of diving most of us do we need to consider how we dive and what we are doing on our dives. I make it clear when someone dives with me that I am not a good buddy. The reasoning is if you have a camera in your hand you are no longer a good buddy. Why? Because your attention is not on the person with you. Yes I try to always be aware of where the other person is but my attention is focused on what I am doing and not focused on you at all times. We will frequently be separated and when you stop to take a picture your buddy is very likely to continue on unaware that you have stopped. To be the kind of buddy that is always within reach you must be dedicated to that and your focus must always be on your buddy to insure that they stay within reach at all times. I consider all dives I do to be basically solo dives and prepare accordingly. if an emergency occurs in our diving conditions in the northwest unless you are tethered or almost literally touching at all times you are pretty much alone and the time it takes to locate a buddy and get their attention is something that could use up the options and time you have available. I have experienced that sensation of letting out your breath and starting to inhale only to get nothing and I can tell you that at that moment YOU ARE ALONE. Unless you are in physical contact when this happens you are in serious danger and even then it would be dicey by the time you get their attention and they realize that you are in trouble and have time to react. This is why I will never dive without a pony of adequate size. If that moment comes and it can to anyone anytime your single best buddy in the world is that alternate air supply. My pony reg is on a bungee around my neck literally touching my chin at all times. Diving with others and sharing your finds is great but betting my life on your actions in an emergency is NOT on my list of things I want to do.

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Joshua Smith » Sat Feb 16, 2013 10:27 am

Grateful Diver wrote:Some random thoughts ...

  • Self-reliance and solo are not necessarily the same thing.
  • If you want to dive solo, don't bring a buddy ... doing so misses the point of solo diving, and sets an expectation that you aren't mentally prepared to follow through with.
  • If you dive with a buddy, set expectations for how you're going to deal with potential problems before getting in the water together. Once expectations are set then yes, it's each diver's responsibility to be adequately prepared to execute what you agreed to do. This applies no matter what diving philosophy you happen to adopt.
  • If you're mentally prepared to "fight someone off" who needs your help, you should not be in the water with them to begin with.
  • Solo diving is all about personal responsibility. Diving with someone you're not willing to assist in an emergeny is not ... in fact, it's irresponsible ... regardless of how self-reliant you believe yourself and your buddy to be.
  • Sharing air at 200 feet is no more difficult than sharing air at 60 feet. If you think you lack sufficient reserves for the two of you, then you didn't plan or execute the dive properly.

I've met John Chatterton ... had dinner with him and his wife once, in fact. I don't consider him an irresponsible diver in the least ... just one who, due to how he learned to do these dives, adopts a different mental approach than I would. I also don't think he expresses himself very well at times. This is one of those times. Would I go diving with him? Sure ... but I'd know enough about the dive first to be prepared to handle my own emergencies, should the need arise.

And let's keep in mind the type of diving he's talking about in this article ... it wouldn't apply to most of us.

And, FWIW ... there are places inside wrecks and caves where donating air would be problematic ... and each diver needs to be prepared to handle their own emergency if they should have one at that point in time. I believe that's what John was trying to convey. I once backed out of a restriction I could have made it through because the thought occurred to me that if something happened that caused me to lose my air at this point in time I would not be able to move my arms sufficient to switch to my other regulator. It's something you need to think about before pushing through that small space ... what would I do right now if I lost my air? Each of us needs to take responsibility for our answer to that question, because there's times when a buddy can't help you, even if they wanted to ...

... Bob (Grateful Diver)

Very good and thoughtful post, Bob. You hit most of the points I wanted to make.
By the way, his latest blog update is almost guaranteed to start another round of impassioned posts. I hope we can all try to keep the discussion on this board civil.
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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Dusty2 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:24 am

I am very proud of the feedback that I have seen on NW dive club thus far. Everything has remained civil and adult without a lot of flaming and name calling. This is why I seldom venture onto scuba board and other sites. We have a much greater level of peaceful communication and interaction than other boards and our mods do a much better job of maintaining that.

Viva NW Dive Club! :joshsmith: :joshsmith: :joshsmith: :joshsmith:

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by pensacoladiver » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:21 pm

The dive John was referring to in the blog.... He was on OC.

He may very well be diving CC at times but the decompression dives I have done with him and the recent expeditionary 200-250 foot dives he has been doing are on OC.

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by pensacoladiver » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:29 pm

I also feel that a key word has been overlooked in Johns original post... Intentionally or not.

That word is "jumps".

Ask any man what actions he will take if someone "jumps" him. The only honest answer is "fight or flight". This applies to any environment... Surface or subsurface.

I suppose there might be a few. Who would just hang out and let their ass get kicked. I have no idea why.

At 200 feet, if you have let your problem develop into such a mess that you have to go "jump" someone for their air, you are simply out of control and a madman.

Who would not fight away a madman?

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Joshua Smith » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:05 pm

pensacoladiver wrote:I also feel that a key word has been overlooked in Johns original post... Intentionally or not.

That word is "jumps".

Ask any man what actions he will take if someone "jumps" him. The only honest answer is "fight or flight". This applies to any environment... Surface or subsurface.

I suppose there might be a few. Who would just hang out and let their ass get kicked. I have no idea why.

At 200 feet, if you have let your problem develop into such a mess that you have to go "jump" someone for their air, you are simply out of control and a madman.

Who would not fight away a madman?


Again. Good post.
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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Norris » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:48 pm

Joshua Smith wrote:
pensacoladiver wrote:I also feel that a key word has been overlooked in Johns original post... Intentionally or not.

That word is "jumps".

Ask any man what actions he will take if someone "jumps" him. The only honest answer is "fight or flight". This applies to any environment... Surface or subsurface.

I suppose there might be a few. Who would just hang out and let their ass get kicked. I have no idea why.

At 200 feet, if you have let your problem develop into such a mess that you have to go "jump" someone for their air, you are simply out of control and a madman.

Who would not fight away a madman?


Again. Good post.


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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Mortuus » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:04 pm

I actually don't have much issue with what he was saying. I completely agree that divers should be almost completely self reliant, even in team diving. A buddy is a fantastic commodity, but while doing extremely deep/long dives, I think it is expected by ALL parties (whether you are a team diver, or not) that divers on that level have sufficient skill and experience to, for the most part, take care of themselves. I'm not saying you can't (or shouldn't) expect help from your buddy if you are a team diver. In fact, the total opposite. You can, and should expect help from your fellow team diver! This is where, in my opinion, the strength in team diving comes from. It takes all the training and experience required to do the dives, but has the ADDITIONAL safety margin of having a reliable buddy whom you can trust completely (if you cant, then you shouldnt be doing the dive with them), and a standardized configuration.

Imo, I think Chatterton just has a bit of a skewed perspective on what "the other side" is actually all about. I gleaned that from reading the responses to Gareth on the first post (on his blog). Oh well. I do worry about new divers and their ability to read between the lines on this sort of thing though, especially when it comes to the quote about fighting away your buddy who is reaching for air. While I understood that statement in the same way as TomNic (and most of the others here), I dont know if a newer diver would.

I get what he is trying to say, but the delivery was pretty awful. He was just asking for it. Especially in posting it to ScubaBoard! Hilariously, his second blog post is a "response to da h8rz". Not a good way to start your blog, Chatterton. Not good at all... =P

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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Paulicarp » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:38 pm

Maybe it's a great way to start a blog- after all it got me thinking... none the less I probably wouldn’t be offering the following observations if it weren’t for the fact that, coincidentally, I just finished reading “Shadow Divers” last night and today I read Chatterton’s blog posts. I don’t know Mr. Chatterton like some of you do, I only know of him thru a book written about dives that took place decades ago when many of the “Team Diving” protocols that are growing in popularity today didn’t exist. The philosophy of diving he embraces in his blog seems very consistent with what is recounted in the book.

The story of his work diving on and identifying U-869 is a compelling story that resonates with a part of me that seeks adventure and exploration; history and truth-seeking. At the time that Chatterton and his fellow divers were engaged in this truly epic adventure, they were trail blazing- learning the lessons that (in part) informed how team diving protocols and procedures would be shaped in the years that followed. It makes me suppose that Mr. Chatterton hasn’t learned as much from his experience as others have.

In his blog, Mr. Chatterton speaks of buddy diving and team diving as if they are the same thing. But I can identify several distinct differences between the kind of buddy diving that claimed at least several lives (Chris and Chrissy) in the exploration of U-869 and the kind of buddy diving that I have learned in classes that teach team diving.

1)Chatterton contrasts “self-reliance” with “buddy diving,” as if you choose to do one or the other. The small amount of training I’ve had in team diving persuades me that this is a false dichotomy. Self-reliance is not discouraged in the team diving I’ve learned. Just the contrary- I’ve been taught that every member is not only self-reliant, but planning to be relied on by at least one other member of the team as well when the need arises.

2)According to “Shadow Divers,” Chatterton insisted, even pleaded with Kohler, against Kohler’s better judgment, to make the dives with Chatterton for the final push into the Engine Room where they were to find the spare parts boxes that would confirm the identity of the wreck. Kohler made the dives with Chatterton, but they clearly did not plan the dives as a team, evidenced by Kohler’s own observation that he was of no real use to Chatterton in the event of an emergency. Kohler was basically along for the ride, and when Chatterton really did run out of gas, it was not to Kohler that he went, but right past him on to his own next gas outside the wreck. If this was an example of how to dive as buddies, I would agree with Chatterton that it is of little help and possibly a hindrance to one’s own survival.

3)In the case of Chris and Chrissy, the book recounts their dive as an example of how important mixed gas is for deep diving. In my opinion, that’s only part of the lessons to be learned from their tragedy. Obviously diving as buddies didn’t protect them from the disaster they encountered, but if they had been diving with team protocols, the problem of their lost stage bottles and failed stage bottle regulator were failures that they would still have had enough resources to overcome, and bolting to the surface with several hours of deco obligation would not have been Chrissy’s best option.

Likely very few readers made it this far thru my post, but let me underscore emphatically that I respect Chatterton deeply after reading of his monumental accomplishments. I undoubtedly will never be half the diver in my whole life that he was in any one of the ten years between 1990 and 2000; and that might be giving me too much credit. However, for him to be amused at divers practicing an air share belies an obvious lack of lessons learned from his own experience and makes me wonder if his accomplishments are partly driven by an ego-centrism that helps to define his preference for a “self-reliant” philosophy of diving.

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Mortuus
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Re: Interesting article from John Chatterton

Post by Mortuus » Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:10 pm

Paulicarp wrote:1)Chatterton contrasts “self-reliance” with “buddy diving,” as if you choose to do one or the other. The small amount of training I’ve had in team diving persuades me that this is a false dichotomy. Self-reliance is not discouraged in the team diving I’ve learned. Just the contrary- I’ve been taught that every member is not only self-reliant, but planning to be relied on by at least one other member of the team as well when the need arises.


Exactly.

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