On the advice of a friend I bought and downloaded Diver Down by Michael Ange. The book is about accident analysis. This is something that is lacking from a lot of recreational courses (though it is part of most technical courses), primarily because they don’t want to scare off the new divers.
The books starts with a fantastic and easy to understand description of diving terminology. It definitely seems to me that it would be suitable for someone who is just getting into diving or who is thinking about it. Ange speaks generally about the different diving agencies and doesn’t mention exact specifications but he explains the standard hierarchy from recreational diver to dive professional. This would give the novice diver a thorough understanding of the progression that they could make.
Once the terminology has been covered he dives right into the different scenarios. These scenarios are based on real life events, however details that could identify the participants have been removed. He comments that he receives emails from people asking if it is their accident that has appeared in the book, however from his experience he has found that so many accidents are similar that he isn’t surprised the people think the scenario is about them.
What you can take from this book is that the majority of dive accidents are caused by human error. Well maintained and serviced dive equipment barely fails, however it is the users choice to make sure that it is maintained and kept in a working order. The errors that divers seem likely to make are
- over confidence in their abilities
- not having the correct equipment
- not having the right training for the environment or the equipment
- thinking that tried and tested rules don’t apply to them or the situation
- not listening to those that have levels of greater experience
Accident analysis should be done by ever diver on a regular basis, as that isn’t going to happen then all divers should read this book. I have seen too many complacent divers pushing the limits and not knowing how narrowly they missed more serious consequences. I will be definitely recommending this book to all my friends who dive and my dive students.