Under Pressure

Diving Deeper with Human Factors

More than 30 case studies combined with academic theory and detailed analysis to show how the events developed in the manner they did and what you can learn from them to improve your own diving.

"Understanding and integrating human factors into the practice of diving—the subject of "Under Pressure"—is the next frontier in improving diving safety and performance. As such, the book is a ‘Must-Read' for divers, team leaders and educators wanting to up their game.”

Michael Menduno/M2
PUBLISHED 12 MARCH 2019

Here's the reality...

Every one of us makes mistakes every day, even the experts.

For that very reason, the aviation, nuclear power and medical professions have invested huge resources in helping their personnel to get better at not making those mistakes, and if they do, how to capture them before it gets really bad. Now it's your chance to learn how they do it. This book demonstrates a new way of thinking and planning to avoid the errors that even the best of us make, errors that can cost lives.

Read the reviews from others...

"Accidents rarely “just happen”. As scuba divers, we are heavily dependent on our life support equipment to function properly, and we train and plan for our underwater excursions to anticipate certain failures. However, experience has shown that the “Human Factor” is the primary cause of most diving incidents. Everything is going well, until a seemingly innocent shift in procedure alters the course of the dive - through the cumulative consequences of bad habits, poor choices, and innate complacency - sometimes with tragic results.

Utilizing case studies of actual diving incidents, alongside examinations compiled by other high-risk industries, “Under Pressure” seeks to remove the stigma surrounding the mistakes divers make, illuminate that errors are a critical part of our collective learning process, and that despite the level of one’s experience, not a single one of us is infallible. Regardless of your current experience as a diver, the use of non-technical skills and understanding of the Human Factors affecting both your choices and those made by others around you will positively impact your own underwater performance, and hopefully make your own diving safer."

Richie Kohler, Shipwreck Explorer, Author and Filmmaker.

What you'll get from the book...

Detailed Case Studies

The book contains more than 30 detailed stories from globally-known divers such as Jill Heinerth, Richard Lundgren, Steve Bogaerts and Roger Williams. The case studies and analysis show how experts can make mistakes and through the application of experience (won the hard way) they survived to tell the tale.

Topics For All Divers

No matter if you are a beginner diver, an advanced wreck diver on CCR, a cave diver pushing the line on an exploration dive, or an instructor developing the future generations of divers, this book is for you. The details, skills and knowledge contained within this book are applicable to all divers, irrespective of your experience.

A Book with One Aim

To improve the safety and performance of divers. Too many divers don't understand how and why incidents happen. Often the incident is judged as 'human error'. If this happens, learning is limited and mistakes WILL happen again. Learn how humans really make decisions, how they should communicate and how we should all lead others.

ORDER NOW

Added Bonus

If you buy the book from this site, you will be automatically added to the 'Under Pressure' community where you can discuss with other divers your successes, failures and opportunities for applying the knowledge in this book. Once you've paid for the book, you will be given access to the members area and can join in the discussions there.

Reading ‘Under Pressure’ is a reassuring and humbling experience. Reassuring because it narrates many scenarios you could have been in but you were not because you used knowledge, common sense and gut-feelings to make a decision, a decision that often meant you had to stand tall facing peer pressure to do something different. Humbling because through the testimonials you learn that it doesn’t matter the number of dives you have or that you have a vast amount of experience, the combined decisions in a team and the operating conditions can always turn a great dive into a true challenge.

‘Under Pressure’ is a must read for every diver and every instructor, to become more aware than you thought you could be so that your learning, processing and instinct come together to contribute to the best outcome when you’re faced with critical decisions which need to be made quickly and while under pressure. Even more important though, the knowledge contained within this book will help you avoid being in a situation where you need those skills!

Ellen Cuylaerts, Award Winning Underwater Photographer and Conservationist.

What is inside the book?

Safety is boring! That’s why this book doesn’t focus on safety; it focusses on the skills and mindset required to be a high-performing diving team, individual diver or instructor/instructor-trainer. This chapter identifies what non-technical skills mean in the context of diving and why they are so important - using a number of examples of dives where things didn’t go to plan, but also how the application of the skills can create exciting and memorable dives, for the right reasons and not the wrong ones!

Systems thinking has been shown to be the most effective way of improving performance and safety. This is because while it is possible to improve specific components or people within a system, unless you look at their interactions with other people, equipment and the environment, you cannot make an improvement in the performance of the system.

In diving, there are numerous systems in place: a rebreather, diver, instructor, social and physical environment all make up a system. You can manufacture a rebreather which passes the required standards, but that doesn’t mean that it will be safe to use as a system (or part of a system), unless you take into account the components of the system.

This chapter will give you an overview of systems thinking and why it is essential to consider it if you want to improve your performance, your safety and the safety of others.

Human error is a term often used as a 'catch-all', but has limited value when it comes to learning to improve. In the ’70s & ’80s, multiple research papers and presentations stated that 80% of aviation accidents were caused by 'human error'. Since the 1990s it has been recognised this attribution is flawed because 'human error' is normal and a ‘general’ term does not help learning from specifics.

This chapter will provide you with a summary of human error, error-producing conditions and why we need to search for the ‘rich-context’ stories if we want to improve.

Much of diving is about risk management, but divers don't realise this because of the way in which the sport is portrayed; the suppression of diving incidents and accidents’ information; and the often adversarial and confrontational nature of near-miss discussions within the diving community when ’stupid’ mistakes are made.

This chapter will focus on risk; what it is; how we can manage it; and the biases we face when it comes to making ‘risk-based decisions’ in a dynamic environment. The aim isn't to scare divers, but rather to give them an indication as to how far we can drift and still think we are being safe.

This chapter will highlight that without a Just Culture in place, learning is limited; and the same accidents/incidents will continue to occur with the individual divers often being blamed for the failure, rather than systemic factors. A Just Culture facilitates reporting and learning from adverse events leading to improved safety; whereas blame is the enemy of safety with incomplete stories being told, leading to poor incident analyses and sub-optimal behaviours when it comes to hiding near-misses.

Decision-making has been defined as the process of reaching a judgement or choosing an option to meet the needs of a given situation. It can be broken down into the following main areas: understanding the situation at hand/defining the problem; determining a potential course of action or the option(s) available based on the information immediately at hand; selecting and executing that option; and then undertaking some form of review process to determine if the decision was effective in terms of the goals set.

This chapter will describe the different decision-making models and processes we use; their strengths and weaknesses; and how to overcome some of the cognitive limitations we have.

Situational awareness is often talked about in diver training, but there isn't much detail about how it is developed and, more importantly, what can cause it to be 'lost'. Situational awareness is the concept by which we perceive data through our senses; process it so that we understand the here and now; and then using mental models of reality based on previous experiences, create a future model of what might happen. This is often simplified as What? So What? Now What?

This chapter will describe how the body/brain perceives information, the working memory and its associated strengths/weaknesses, before moving on to how your individual and team situational awareness can be improved in the context of diving.

If only we could solve communication problems, then we wouldn't have any confusion or conflict! Communication sits in the middle of the model of non-technical skills and is crucial to high performance. Understanding the barriers and enablers to effective communication is essential if we are to improve performance and reduce error.

This chapter will focus on the different models of communication, how to decide which one to use and how to increase the likelihood of effective communication taking place through the use of different questioning techniques, briefs and debriefs.

A team is not a group of people who work together; rather, a team is a group who trust each other, and creating trust is a challenge in a peer-to-peer social environment and even harder without a clear leadership role being present. Teamwork is the core to high performance, because teams can achieve far more than just looking at the sum of its individual parts. However, teams don't just happen: they take time to develop and they all go through the same development process with conflict and frustration eventually leading to things 'just happening' when there is role clarity, effective communication and the need and want to hold each other accountable.

This chapter will focus on how to develop effective and high-performance dive teams using knowledge and understanding from the military, aviation and healthcare domains. It will also look at why teams fail and what can be done to address that. Fundamentally, effective teams understand the difference between teamwork and taskwork and develop their skills to meet both requirements.

Most groups have some form of leadership present, be that formal or informal. Leaders can easily set the tone, positively or negatively, within the group and effective followers will provide support. However, destructive goal pursuit, where the goal is more important than the safety and well-being of the team-members, combined with poor leadership, can easily lead to accidents or incidents. This is especially true with beginners who do not necessarily have the assertion skills and don't recognise the authority gradient which is present.

This chapter will focus on leadership and leadership styles in the context of diving and how knowledge of these can improve diving enjoyment, goal attainment and instructional abilities. The chapter will also cover the topic of followership and why it is so important in a recreational activity where decisions need to be made considering a team and not just individuals.

You can have the best technical skills in the world and be able to apply a high level of technical and non-technical skills, but if you don't understand the impact of stress and fatigue on your own and others' performance, then you are destined to failure.

This chapter will provide divers, especially supervisors, an overview of how stress and fatigue shape human performance and what can be done to manage these factors thereby improving diving safety. Furthermore, linking with the chapter on human error (chapter three), error-producing conditions will be covered in more detail here.

Failure is everywhere. However, we cannot innovate or improve if we don’t fail. Despite this, failure has been given an incredibly negative attribution by most parts of modern society, normally because something has been lost or didn’t reach fruition, be that a goal, money or a tangible product. What if we turned it around so that learning from failure was seen as the key to improvement? What if we looked at the failed processes and unsuccessful outcomes as lessons and opportunities to learn and not just identify where the failures happened?

This chapter will focus on learning from experience and will give you specific tools whereby you can apply 20:20 hindsight before a major trip or expedition, or use learning reviews to understand what really happened - rather than what should have happened. Telling stories about things which didn’t happen doesn’t help learning.

This chapter will summarise the learning points from each of the chapters and provide readers with quick wins on how to apply the contents of this book into their own diving, instruction and leadership.

“Under Pressure:Diving Deeper with Human Factors is a genuine game changer. There are many books about decompression theory, diving medicine and advanced diving techniques, but this is the only text that looks into the incredibly significant impact of Human Factors within diving. 

Gareth does a great job of taking the newest ideas in the fields of psychology, human behaviours and accident analysis and making them both entertaining and relevant to divers. The case studies from some well known diving personalities are fascinating and bring the book alive, illustrating some of the complex human factors concepts in a most accessible way.

If you want to improve your diving, it is hard to think of a more cost effective way to do it than reading this book. If every diving course included a copy, recreational and technical diving would be a great deal safer and more enjoyable. If you are a diver, know a diver or want to be a diver: read it!”

Lanny Vogel, CCR, Cave and Technical Diving Instructor, Owner of Underworld Tulum.

I am travelling overseas from 13 March to 16 April. Ordered copies won't be sent next day, but might take a couple of days to pack up. Signed copies will not be available during this period. If you need a copy more quickly than a few days, consider ordering from Amazon or Waterstones. To work out what this is in your own currency, visit https://www.xe.com/

£33.95

Can be signed prior to shipping

£30.00 plus £3.95 P&P

UK - ORDER NOW

£37.95

Can be signed prior to shipping

£30.00 plus £7.95 P&P

OVERSEAS - ORDER NOW

£30.00

Can be signed

Pick-up or In-Person Only

COLLECT - ORDER NOW

£30.00

Visit other Amazon links by changing .co.uk to .com, .be

ORDER NOW VIA AMAZON

You'd Like Multiple Copies of the Book?

If you want multiple copies, please get in touch directly with your address, the number and I will create a specific order for you. If you are an instructor or part of a training agency's staff and you'd like to include this book as pre-course reading for your classes, please get in touch. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge, we can talk about options to maximise learning and minimise cost.

Reviews

Under Pressure is not a light read. Given the subject it should not be. It's a work that requires the reader to change what may be their mindset about the risks and mitigation of such hazards as are encountered under water. As a recreational and technical instructor who has made diver safety and training a personal mission, Gareth's work is a breath of fresh air in an industry that seems hell bent on taking the fast lane to mediocrity. Agencies dumb down recreational courses. Fun is promoted over safety and education. Skill requirements are designed to breed complacency and promote the normalization of deviance that leads to accidents. Throughout the book are examples of scenarios that did not have to happen in the first place. As well as others that initially were not the fault of the diver, but their response was less than optimal due to a lack of education, understanding, and experience dealing with such events under controlled conditions. The latter leads to a lack of clear judgment when a problem occurs and a deficiency of muscle memory. Gareth analyzes these events and the reactions to them in detail. Not stopping there, a root cause analysis provides the reader with a clear understanding of the events and actions or inaction that led to them. This provides a path to understanding and applying these lessons to the readers own dive should they choose to. I know how hard it is as an author to say everything you want to in a limited amount of space. Trying to do that and save lives is even harder. That's what this work has the potential to do. Save lives. It will require the reader to take some time and open their mind. In some cases they will need to make, perhaps painful, honest appraisals of their own attitudes, knowledge, and skill level. It will be worth it. It may also force them to look at their previous training and see how much was left out or just plain wrong from a planning and risk management standpoint. That also will be worth doing. I want to thank Gareth for producing a work that will hopefully make my job and mission a bit easier. Dive Safe.

After reading “Under Pressure”, the most notable takeaway for me was the breakdown and analysis of the incident narratives. Nearly all of the narratives are from real divers who I was familiar with and/or whose work I had admired for years. As they detail the events surrounding their own personal diving incidents, Gareth employs his experience and knowledge of human factors/non-technical skills to illustrate to the reader that the causes behind diving incidents are not so neatly categorized.

While the vast majority of diving incidents are chalked up to “human error”, the reality is that human error is always present and to learn from the incident we need to learn the why’s and how’s behind the human error. In other words, we are going to fail, but we need to learn how to fail safely. “Under Pressure” explains how human factors/non-technical skills are used to accomplish this and how they affect our diving. Once these are identified Gareth also gives the reader the tools to develop these skills through practice and evaluation exercises.

After more than thirty years of diving I have found very few books that will impact one’s diving enjoyment and safety as this book. “Under Pressure” is a handbook for increasing diver safety through management of risk and uncertainty. It will give you a new way to examine and understand diving incidents so that we may actually learn from them instead of placing blame. This is a must have for every serious diver’s library.

"On many occasions in the 30 years I have been diving, teaching and exploring there have been events that I overcame by something not taught in any of the classes or workshops I had attended. What brought me back from those dives, with my team and with my fellow divers was not flawless buoyancy, the correct finning technique or a fast slick ‘shut down drill’  It was something else, something inner that was not given at birth, rather acquired over thousands of hours in the water in a wide variety of environments, on a wide variety of equipment types and with a wide variety of divers. My question to myself as a diving educator, Instructor trainer and expedition member was ‘How can I share this?’

For many years of teaching cave diving the ‘bible’ of this mystery ‘skill’ was legendary cave explorer Sheck Exley’s short book ‘Blue print for survival’ where he analysed common causes of cave diving fatalities by case studies and suggestions of how to avoid becoming victim to the same situations. The key part of the book was ‘Training’ but it mainly concentrated on ‘Technical skills’.

What Gareth has achieved through over a decade of study and hard work is a manual and a training system to look at developing, nurturing and training the diver beyond their ‘Technical skills’ in ‘Non Technical skills’.

I feel the book ‘Under pressure’ is an essential teaching tool for all instructors and Instructor Trainers in diver education, to all members of a diving or other expedition and in addition an essential addition to every divers library.

The layout is logical and promotes learning from the description of the chapters giving a clear idea of what will be covered and how, to the summary of the chapters by way of a re cap at the end it makes learning simple.

The use of case studies, as in ‘Blue Print for Survival’ is perfect as at every step it reminds and reinforces that this can and does happen to all of us and is not just a display of academia.”

In my opinion, Gareth Lock’s “Under Pressure:  Diving Deeper with Human Factors” is a book that should be read by all divers, especially those taking or teaching technical diving.  Traditionally, scuba diving training has emphasized “technical skills” – mask clearing, buoyancy control, gas switching, laying line, and so forth.  However, diving is a systematic endeavor that involves not just the diver but also the instructor, the training agencies, equipment manufacturers, insurance companies, etc.  These “nontechnical skills” or “human factors” are equally, if not more important, to diving safety. As long as we only look at the diver and not the system as a whole, we are unlikely to make diving safer.  Lock presents this systematic approach to diving safety with chapters on a variety of subjects including such important topics as mindset, “human error”, risk management, “just culture”, situational awareness, and communication in a very concise, yet thorough approach with anecdotes by leading members of the diving community.  I look forward to using all of these concepts as I teach future courses.

Accidents rarely “just happen”. As scuba divers, we are heavily dependent on our life support equipment to function properly, and we train and plan for our underwater excursions to anticipate certain failures. However, experience has shown that the “Human Factor” is the primary cause of most diving incidents. Everything is going well, until a seemingly innocent shift in procedure alters the course of the dive - through the cumulative consequences of bad habits, poor choices, and innate complacency - sometimes with tragic results.

Utilizing case studies of actual diving incidents, alongside examinations compiled by other high-risk industries, “Under Pressure” seeks to remove the stigma surrounding the mistakes divers make, illuminate that errors are a critical part of our collective learning process, and that despite the level of one’s experience, not a single one of us is infallible. Regardless of your current experience as a diver, the use of non-technical skills and understanding of the Human Factors affecting both your choices and those made by others around you will positively impact your own underwater performance, and hopefully make your own diving safer.

Under Pressure - diving deeper with human Factors is a well presented, coherent and much needed book. It looks at performance development and the by-product of safety that arises from high performance. This book also seeks to bring about a change in attitude in technical diving, recreational diving and freediving mentality. A change to a ‘Just Culture’, where incidents can be discussed and with that comes accelerated learning.

The books biggest strength is the use of appropriate analogies and case studies from incidents and situations that have occurred within, and outside of the diving industry to aid understanding of what can be quite a technical subject. As more divers adopt the Just Culture, more opportunities for learning will exist and safety further improved.

I think this is a missing link in our diver education systems and hope one day it will be taught in mainstream diving courses from entry level all the way to the extreme cutting edge end of our sports.

I have had the privilege of working with Gareth and taking one of his classes. Now having the opportunity to read his book Under pressure highlights the importance of all the little mistakes we do because we either have no situational awareness, excellent communication or even going solo instead of working as a team. I have not been so active as a dive leader, so I haven’t been involved in any major incidents but A lot of things I have taken for granted outside of diving like arriving at work presuming the ambulance crew before me had restocked the ambulance with life-saving equipment and realizing that they had just come back on a late shift and had no time to stock up and then being called out to a severe accident not having the right equipment to deal with the incident, why because I should have checked before I left. That's just one of those “human errors” in the book. Gareths book makes you think and wise up to what could go wrong and be able to change that mindset. Thank you, Gareth for the insight!

“Under Pressure:Diving Deeper with Human Factors is a genuine game changer. There are many books about decompression theory, diving medicine and advanced diving techniques, but this is the only text that looks into the incredibly significant impact of Human Factors within diving. 

Gareth does a great job of taking the newest ideas in the fields of psychology, human behaviours and accident analysis and making them both entertaining and relevant to divers. The case studies from some well known diving personalities are fascinating and bring the book alive, illustrating some of the complex human factors concepts in a most accessible way.

If you want to improve your diving, it is hard to think of a more cost effective way to do it than reading this book. If every diving course included a copy, recreational and technical diving would be a great deal safer and more enjoyable. If you are a diver, know a diver or want to be a diver: read it!”

Reading ‘Under Pressure’ is a reassuring and humbling experience. Reassuring because it narrates many scenarios you could have been in but you were not because you used knowledge, common sense and gut-feelings to make a decision, a decision that often meant you had to stand tall facing peer pressure to do something different. Humbling because through the testimonials you learn that it doesn’t matter the number of dives you have or that you have a vast amount of experience, the combined decisions in a team and the operating conditions can always turn a great dive into a true challenge. 

‘Under Pressure’ is a must read for every diver and every instructor, to become more aware than you thought you could be so that your learning, processing and instinct come together to contribute to the best outcome when you’re faced with critical decisions which need to be made quickly and while under pressure. Even more important though, the knowledge contained within this book will help you avoid being in a situation where you need those skills!

Why you should read this book!

Well, in the simplest terms, it illustrates — graphically — the huge variety of pratfalls waiting to pounce on divers who don’t follow “best-practice.” More importantly, perhaps, it uses examples from so-called “expert” and “professional” divers to show that the old cliches about complacency and experience are founded in fact. 

Moreover, Gareth has a knack for looking for and finding the root causes of imprudent gaffes that have the potential to kill. Rather than stopping at a blanket statement that: “Human error was the cause,” he’s made a detailed and focused study of what human error actually means and — of considerable value to you, me, and everyone else in the diving community — suggestions on how to stop it happening to us. 

And of course, all that may just save lives; perhaps yours.

Gareth Lock, Author

Gareth Lock is a retired military aviator with a passion for improving safety and performance. Certified to advanced trimix level with GUE and to dive a JJ CCR through TDI, he has developed globally unique training programmes to bring the science of human factors to the diving domain to reduce accidents & incidents and improve the enjoyment of all divers. Last year he decided to condense the information he has learned and teaches and put it into this book. Although he is based in Malmesbury, UK, he travels the world speaking and training divers, healthcare professionals and oil & gas teams. If you'd like to know more about him, his work and his courses, visit https://www.thehumandiver.com

Contributors

Steve BogaertsRyan Booker, Heather Choat ArmstrongTim Clements. Marc Crane. Garry Dallas. Andy Davis. Astrid de Jager. Matt Duke. Jill Heinerth. Gene Hobbs. Dr Dawn Kernagis PhD. Jon Kieren. Steve Lewis. Richard Lundgren. Michael Menduno. Jamie Obern. Clare Pooley. Reneé Power. Anton van Rosmalen. Cameron Russo. Joel Silverstein. Michael ThomasLanny VogelDr Laura Walton CPsychol AfBPsS. Roger Williams. Plus a few more anonymous ones!

Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.