I’ve been diving around the Caribbean for about four years now, and in that time I’ve met thousands of divers. Yes, literally thousands.
Part of what makes being a divemaster fun is getting to know new people each and every week (and also the return of some favorites once or twice a year). That being said, while the people are all different, you do tend to see similar types of divers.
This list was brewed by some fellow dive pros and I during random conversations over the years, but I’ve finally pulled it all together in one place. It’s all very tongue-in-cheek so I’m waving a white flag in advance to the haters, but I’m offering (brutally?) honest tips if you think you fall in one of the categories and would like to improve – some to improve their diving, some to improve their experience overall. I hope everyone will enjoy this post, but in all fairness it will probably only be funny to divers, and hilarious to dive pros.
|source – read on for more about this shitty dive operation! DON’T TOUCH!|
Dive Site Dan
What Dan is like: Dan wants to know every site we have planned for the next seven days. Dan wants to pick all the dive sites based on his preferences, and he doesn’t really give a shit about everyone else on the boat. Dan will show you his log book from four years ago when he went to Spooky Channel once on a good viz day and will insist you take him there again even though you have told him three times that the viz is terrible this week. Dan is pretty sure he knows more about the sites than the divemasters who have been there 300 times.
What Dan can do to improve: Dan can trust that his divemaster will take him to the best sites possible based on current, visibility, where other divers on the boat have already been, and the ability of the rest of the group on his boat. Dan can make specific site requests at the beginning of his trip and surely the shop will do their best to accommodate when possible. Dan can also open his mind to new and amazing sites!
What Denise is like: Denise probably shore dives in Bonaire a lot. Denise wants special treatment for everything and she makes sure everyone knows she’s not fucking paying extra for one single thing. Denise wants the shop to change the diving schedule to when she feels like going and she wants her own private boat away from all the other ‘terrible’ divers. Denise wants her own divemaster for free and does not want to pay for gear rental. Denise and Dive Site Dan hang out a lot. Denise always feels like the shop is not accommodating her special snowflake needs and so she either leaves no tip at all or gives the divemaster $11 after a week of diving 3x a day.
What Denise can do to improve: continue shore diving in Bonaire with her buddy and forget diving at shops with boats and schedules and other divers. Just don’t…for everyone’s enjoyment.
What Larry is like: Larry is fucking awesome. Larry just chills. Changes in schedule, dive sites, dive group members, etc. are noooooo problem for Larry. He just wants to know when and where to show up, and he shows up with a smile on his face. Larry comes up from every dive saying, “that was awesome, wooooohooooo!”
What Larry can do to improve: Never change, Larry, please. You rule.
|source – read on for more funny hand signals!|
What Nancy is like: Poor Nancy. She’s probably been out of the water for a few years, or had a terrible experience with a nasty divemaster in the past who left her alone on a mooring line when she took more than 30 seconds to get down. Nancy clings to the divemaster on the boat and talks a little too much because she’s not feeling very confident. Nancy makes a lot of self-deprecating jokes about being a bad diver. Nancy is usually a totally competent diver who just needs someone to tell her that, plus a little practice.
What Nancy can do to improve: Schedule a private refresher on her first day of diving to get comfortable and confident 1-on-1 with an instructor before joining the fun diving boat. Nancy can set up and break down her gear as many times as it takes to feel competent in doing it alone, and consider continuing education like a buoyancy course to be 100% confident in the water. Nancy should also tell her husband to shut the hell up when he makes fun of her not being the greatest diver of all time (here’s a hint Nancy, your husband sucks too he just doesn’t know it!) and don’t let unqualified people try to correct her equipment or diving skills.
What Eric is like: everyone hates Eric. Eric thinks he is the best diver of all time (he may be Nervous Nancy’s husband). Eric, coincidentally, is literally NEVER the best diver of all time and nearly all the time he is the moron kicking the reef with his fins and blowing through his air in 33 minutes – and blaming the divemaster for it. Eric likes to tell everyone on the boat about his ‘hardcore’ diving in Monterrey or North Carolina. Eric will always have a bigger and better diving story than you.
What Eric can do to improve: Eric can shut the fuck up. (Also, every good diver knows that you can always learn something new or improve no matter how many dives you do. The best divers never talk about how good they are!)
What Delia is like: How has Delia not died yet? Delia doesn’t seem to know where she is topside or under the water. She is always sort of floating away and not really paying attention to what’s going on. Delia will see a turtle and follow it in the opposite direction of the dive group and then be lost and giggle when the whole group has to end the dive because she disappeared. Delia is late to every single friggin’ dive and does not realize there are seven other divers sitting around on the boat waiting on her.
What Delia can do to improve: Delia can just. pay. attention. PAY ATTENTION DELIA! And get a watch.
Wandering Wendy & Buoyant Bob
What Wendy and Bob are like: These guys hang out with Ditzy Delia a lot, but while Delia is just a space cadet, Wendy and Bob are riding the struggle bus on the buoyancy skills. They are up, down, and all around. They seem to take the “stay on my level in the water, not above or below me” in the dive briefing as a mere suggestion. Wendy and Bob will take approximately 99% of the divemaster’s attention, because the DM will be spending the entire dive telling them to get up or come down or stay with the group.
What Wendy and Bob can do to improve: take a buoyancy course. And stop using their inflate and deflate buttons as an elevator button. (Insider tip: when I tell my divers underwater to stop messing with their buttons and they keep doing it behind me… I CAN HEAR YOU DOING IT… you’re not fooling me!)
Terrified Tim & Panicky Paul
What Tim and Paul are like: these two are a whole different breed from Nervous Nancy. These two will full-on panic when their mask leaks at 60ft and shoot straight to the surface while pulling their reg out and inflating their BCD. Tim and Paul will probably get embolisms and get a ride in the chamber at some point. They will also give their divemaster a heart attack.
What Tim and Paul can do to improve: 1-on-1 sessions with an instructor in shallow water until their feel comfortable with basic dive skills. If they still can’t do it, it’s time to retire from diving and snorkel instead. Panicking divers are not having fun, and it’s not safe for them, the divemaster, or the rest of the group to be diving with them. Safety has to come first with diving!
What Amy is like: Amy hangs out with Laid-Back Larry a lot. Amy is a great diver, pleasant to be around, tips well, shows up when she’s supposed to, keeps her hands and fins off the reef, doesn’t cancel at the last minute and knows how to use all her gear. Amy has a few requests for dive sites she likes but she doesn’t whine and stamp her feet if it doesn’t happen. Amy follows the instructions in the dive briefing and takes care of herself and her buddy during the dive. Amy doesn’t monopolize the divemaster’s lunch break with stories about diving in Bora Bora that could really wait until later, and she offers to buy them a beer after a night dive. Sometimes Amy brings granola bars for all the divers on the boat. Amy does not forget to thank her divemaster and boat captain when she has a good time.
What Amy can do to improve: Amy is perfect and does not need any improvement! We love Amy!
What Elicia is like: Elicia wants to do all the badass diving stuff – the deepest, the longest, the most challenging. Elicia wants swimthroughs on every dive, 75 minute dives, fifteen macro finds on each dive for her huge camera setup, wreck penetration and hitting 1 minute of no deco time at least once during each dive. Elicia is usually a good enough diver for all this but often forgets she is the only one in a group of eight divers who is qualified and capable for all that.
What Elicia can do to improve: travel during off-season when shops aren’t as busy so that smaller groups are the norm, or pay for a private divemaster to do all the hardcore stuff with without being held back by a less-experienced group.
What David is like: David has too much shit on his BCD. David has three types of noisemakers, two cameras, two poking sticks, two SMBs, a signaling mirror, two torches, an underwater slate and an EPIRB all attached to him along with a GoPro on his head. David looks like a walking Christmas tree and is probably his local dive shop’s best customer. David always has a mesh bag with additional shit taking up too much space on the boat. David probably does a lot of diving in cold water. Most of the time, David is not the greatest diver but he usually tries hard.
What David can do to improve: when doing guided dives, take off the unnecessary stuff (ie. if the divemaster has one, you need one or none). Also, David, just so you know – all three GoPros I’ve found on the reef while I’ve been diving have been on head mounts. Get rid of that thing.
What Fred is like: Fred has a tough time getting a bottom time more than 35 minutes, even on shallow dives. Fred has trouble understanding how dive physics and air consumption are related. Fred will often email in advance asking for 100cf tanks rather than work on improving his dive/air management skills. Fred will sometimes make jokes about how he is an air hog but will sometimes like to blame the divemaster for his terrible air consumption. Fred is one of those divers that is convinced he will get a longer bottom time if he gets Nitrox, and will not believe you when you try to explain that there is the same amount of air in an air tank and a Nitrox tank.
What Fred can do to improve: a buoyancy course focuses a lot on air management and consumption and is immensely helpful for air hogs. Fred is going to have to buck up to the fact that even though he’s a certified diver with however many dives under his belt, he has some more work to do to improve. Fred should ask his divemaster how he can get a longer bottom time – we all have tricks and suggestions to use and we’d love it for you to get a longer time too…. having to dive dragging an SMB for 35 minutes after sending an air hog up is no fun for us either.
What Penelope is like: Penelope, I get it, I really do. I totally understand you’ve got your fancy camera setup and you like diving for the underwater photos. But you sometimes forget that you aren’t the only person in the group, and not everyone wants to sit in one spot for 10 minutes while you get the perfect shot. Most divemasters set a slow pace for everyone to explore slowly and enjoy the dive, and will even take the pace down a notch when they see they have photographers on board. But most dives are going to move a little more than 40ft from the boat during the course of an hour.
What Penelope can do to improve: You have to play nice too Penelope – keep up with the group and pay attention
to the divemaster between shots. Don’t even think about putting your
hand on the reef to capture that flamingo tongue, and please watch your
fins while you concentrate on the perfect turtle snap! An underwater photography and/or buoyancy course can help improve skills. And if you need to sit in one place for 20 minutes, we understand – book a private divemaster (yes, this costs extra), shore dive, or let the dive manager know you want to park and ask them to do their best to get you on boats that will let you do that. Being flexible and nice will always get you far with what you want/need on your dives.
What Nathan is like: Nathan was trained to dive in the military so basically he had dudes trying to kill him while he was learning how to breathe underwater. Nathan frog kicks with precision, has perfect buoyancy and is every divemaster’s favorite because he intently listens to all briefings and follows all instructions to a tee. If you forget to say the max depth or dive time even if it’s been the same all week, Nathan will remind you. Nathan has never been late to anything in his life and will be sitting quietly in the dive shop with his shit packed up and ready to go a full 30 minutes before he’s meant to arrive.
What Nathan can do to improve: Have some fun Nathan! Recreational diving is supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing! Nathan can buddy up with Laid-Back Larry to try and catch some chill vibes.
Obligatory disclaimer: CLEARLY the names are for my very clever alliteration purposes only, any coincidences are just coincidences. Also, if any of these offend you, take a closer look and see if maybe you are that diver 🙂