Can I Get Sued For Not Helping a Diver? (Redux)

I am not a lawyer, and this is not official legal advice. In addition, laws vary between countries, so the situation can always be different for your country or the country you’re diving in.

A while back, I attempted to answer this question about getting sued for not helping divers. Mainly this applies to professionals, who are trained to assist divers in distress.

The question was prompted by dive professionals (divemasters, instructors, etc.) who go on vacation, and when asked in a dive shop flash their advanced open water certification cards---not letting the shop know they have more training. The thinking is that when I am on vacation I don’t want to worry about other divers, and especially don’t want to get sued for not helping.

I asked around, and apparently there is no precedent for this. Unless you’re an employee of the dive operation, simply being there does not place a burden of responsibility on you.

Reader Steven pointed out an exception in some countries, like in the U.K. If you are a diver’s buddy, and they get into trouble, a “duty of care” kicks in and you are responsible to assist them to the limits of your training.

Even if you don’t reveal your true certification level, if an accident occurs with your dive buddy, the shop (or the family’s legal council) will look into it and discover whether you acted to the limits of your training.

As an open water or even an advanced open water diver, simply saying “the situation was too dangerous so I went for help” is a valid excuse, since your limits of training are not very high. However, as a rescue diver, divemaster, or instructor, you are explicitly trained for these situations, so you better be prepared to help.

Again, this only applies in certain countries, so check on your diving region. And it only applies to your buddy---you are not responsible for everyone in the water.

Thanks again to Steven for the additional information.

Photo by Let Ideas Compete

Electric Drysuit Insulation

The other day I harped on the pains of dry suit diving. One of my complaints was that after all that effort, you’re still not all that warm.

Diving Unlimited International (DUI) read my thoughts, but only a long time before I had them. They’re introducing a new line of electrically heated insulation for drysuit diving.

Initially I was a little frightened at the thought of electrical equipment---wires, batteries, etc.---strapped to my chest underwater; who knows how batteries respond to pressure. But I suppose this is what they’ve worked out in the lab and field testing …

Dry Suit Diving: A Necessary Evil

I hate dry suits.

There, I said it. Now with that out of the way, let me tell you a story.

Back in May, I participated in a drysuit diving day at my local quarry. As many of you know, quarries are amazing places to dive^1^, but we were there with a mission, to get our drysuit certification.

Why dry suits?

Let me answer your question with a question: why do you get cold on dives? Now let me answer my question which was an answer to your question: heat flow.

You get cold when heat flows. Specifically, it …

Fish Identification: Creole Wrasse

This interesting member of the wrasse (pronounced “rass”) family is a common sighting on many a dive trip.

Physical description

Shape-wise, the creole wrasse looks like a typical wrasse---elongated body, slightly forked caudal fin, and rear-trailing dorsal and anal fins.

The creole wrasse’s colors change through its life. Juveniles are almost entirely a deep purple to violet color.

As the fish ages, it develops a yellow patch on the rear lower part of its body. The tail fin also becomes a bluish or black color.

Their bright coloring makes them a difficult sight to miss.

Geography and habitat

Creole …


Underwater Photography with a Compact Camera

Today I’ll continue along on the underwater photography kick. Tony Wu is a professional photographer, who also keeps a blog which I enjoy reading.

The other day I was digging through archives and came across this article. Now, as a professional photographer, Tony takes massive amounts of expensive equipment underwater with him. In this post, he describes his experience going back to a simple point-and-shoot camera.

I found his description educational and encouraging---especially if you look at some of the pictures he manages to get on a relatively cheap camera.

You should particularly take note of his mention of …

Color Balancing Underwater Photos

We looked before at a super-easy, fast way of color balancing photos using Photoshop’s Auto Levels feature. But what if you need a little finer control? Today we’ll look at manually adjusting levels to fine-tune your pictures color balance. We’ll use this picture of a turtle.

Color balance

If you don’t know what I mean by color balance, it is simply the different amounts of different colors that are present in an image. Underwater photos taken without a flash or adjusted white balance tend to have a blue-centric color balance that usually needs correcting. Very few …

Fish Identification: Moorish Idol

Keeping up with a Finding Nemo theme, started last week with the regal blue tang, this week’s fish also makes an appearance in the Pixar movie. The character Gill (voiced by Willem Dafoe) is a moorish idol.

Physical description

Moorish idols are not big fish, reaching a maximum length of 23 cm (about 9 inches), but are often smaller.

Idols have a highly compressed (flat) body that is shaped like a disc. Sharply contrasted vertical bands of white, yellow, and black make them stand out.

Besides the color (which is shared by a few butterflyfish), the snout and dorsal …

Diabetes and Scuba Diving

Diabetes is a widespread and complicated illness. Like most diseases that aren’t completely understood, doctors often take an overly conservative stance when patients ask what they are and are not allowed to do.

Such has been the case for the past 20 years in scuba diving, with doctors flat out denying the privilege to insulin-requiring diabetics. In the past five years, however, that’s starting to change.

Data has come out that some diabetics are still scuba diving, and not dying. This has caused the diving medicine community, in particular, the Divers Alert Network (DAN), to revisit their stance …

Cheap Scuba Diving Vacations

I was a graduate student when I started scuba diving. Needless to say, graduate students are not know for having copious amounts of spare cash. Nevertheless, I managed to take some memorable dive-oriented vacations.

Now, to be completely honest, scuba diving can be an expensive hobby, especially if you don’t live near good dive sites. However, with the appropriate planning there’s no reason why someone on even a modest income can’t enjoy what the world of scuba has to offer.


As with all things budget related, it’s all about priorities. In order to take scuba …