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February 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Cozumel Dive Boat Sinks

from the February, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Arrecifes II Dus, Dive Boat

Scuba divers are well prepared for getting into the water, but it was an unscheduled boat entry that awaited 10 divers, some inexperienced, who had signed up for diving while aboard Royal Caribbean's Celebrity Equinox and Navigator of the Seas. On January 3, they and two crewmembers unexpectedly ended up in the water near Cozumel's Tormentos Reef, when their dive boat sank.

Passenger Thiago Koga posted his experience on Scubaboard, alleging there was something wrong from the beginning since their dive boat, Arrecifes II Dus, operated by Sand Dollar Sports, appeared to have difficulty making any speed. "It appears that the dramatic failure of a gland [on the prop shaft?] was responsible for the vessel flooding faster than the bilge pump could cope, and the vessel finally ended up on the seabed.

"Everyone at that moment was wearing their wetsuits and weights. We were listening to the instructions and preparing to don our BCDs when water began to flood in the back part of the boat."

The divemaster asked them to move forward to equalize the weight in the boat. When he realized that the flood was continuing and there was no way to pump the water out, he yelled, "Remove your weights!" and instructed them to abandon the vessel. It went down stern first.

Though not far from shore, divers were quickly picked up by other vessels nearby and transported to La Caleta; there were no serious injuries. Koga says that the divemaster and others later dived to the sunken vessel to retrieve personal effects and the diving equipment. He had $400 in his wallet, and although his ID and backpack were returned, the money was not. The boat was recovered and taken to the Meridiano marina to dry out.

The manager at Sand Dollar Sports, Sandra Ramirez, told Koga that in 25 years of operation, nothing like this has ever happened before. According to a claim on Sand Dollar's website, "Sand Dollar Sports is the largest and safest dive operator on Cozumel and carries the most comprehensive insurance coverage available."

The safest operator in Cozumel? Who did the polling?

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