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July 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 33, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Do You Want Diving Regulated?

some countries do have statutes

from the July, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Three divers were arrested on April 4th in the town of Geoje, South Korea for scuba diving after dark without safety equipment such as BCs, near a breakwater and dock. Scuba diving is prohibited from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before dawn, probably enforced as a national security measure given its bellicose northern neighbor. Reader Vaclav Pisko (Forest Hills, NY) reminded us that the North Koreans tried to infiltrate the South in a tiny plastic submarine.

Tony Street (Buffalo, NY) told us that during the early 1970s, while working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a group of his colleagues decided to go diving off the shore one night. Not realizing they were required to notify the police of such an activity, they were arrested as they came ashore (all dressed in black rubber) and thrown in jail, where they festered in their damp wetsuits until a couple of days later, when a U.S. Embassy official, making a routine check for misbehaving Americans, discovered them. They were threatened with deportation and told they were lucky not to have been shot as terrorists.

Americans -- especially scuba divers -- hate to be regulated, but the regulation of scuba diving is common in many countries. In the UK, for example, diving instructors are subject to regulations that specify their instructor certification; they must pass an annual medical examination by an approved doctor; they must prepare a risk assessment for each different dive site used; an oxygen therapy unit must be at the waterside, and instructors must carry a redundant second air source. The government investigates casualties and will prosecute if rules have been broken. Liability releases have no value in English law....

An unskilled diver puts rescuers at risk

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