The best is the enemy of the good

A short while ago Gareth asked me to write a blog for this website, as a newly qualified Human Factors in Diving Instructor. We talked about a subject and all seemed ok. But try as I might, I just could not explain the topic as eloquently as I wanted. So, we had another chat and I tried a different theme. Same result. The problem was that no matter what I wrote, I just didn’t feel it matched up to what Gareth and the other new instructors had written. And that’s when it hit me- I was out Human-Factoring myself.

I’ve been instructing various sports for twenty years and consider myself to be a capable and cautious instructor. I’ve been teaching diving for ten years, so you think by now I’d be quite happy with my level of knowledge. But that’s the thing; almost every time I step foot into the classroom, I’m waiting for someone to call me out, to realise that I actually don’t have  clue what I’m talking about and I don’t...

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Counter-errorism in Diving: Applying Human Factors Training to Recreational Diving

This article was originally published in the Emirates Diving Association magazine on 1 Mar 2020.

There is a growing focus on Human Factors and non-technical skills in the global diving industry, much of which is being driven by Gareth Lock, the UK-based founder of the system described on www.thehumandiver. com. His book ‘Under Pressure’ has helped thousands of people worldwide to take a fresh look at the way they think about diving.

You may be wondering what human factors and non-technical skills are, as it’s not something we talk much about locally.

To demystify these terms, let’s first talk about what they are not. These are not diving qualifications – they are not going to take you deeper or teach you about new diving equipment or diving skills (hence the term ‘non- technical skills’) and they are definitely not ‘just another cert card’ to add to your collection.

Non-technical skills are all about improving decision...

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Nine ways to stop your dive team improving...

Where there are accidents, incidents or near misses, there are parts of your behaviour, your team's behaviour, your centre's behaviour or your agency's behaviour that you don't want other people to see. It is only natural. We are hard-wired that way.

Divers make mistakes they don’t talk about, especially given the adversarial culture which is present in the diving industry. However, they are often acting on partial information because they don’t want to ask dumb questions, and they are hiding the things that aren’t going well because they don't want to be humiliated or they don’t want to be the person who thumbs the dive because it will let the others down. As an example of this, of the people on my webinar last night, more than 75% recounted an issue where the dive didn't go to plan because they were unable to speak up and either thumb it, or not get in the water to start with. Inability to communicate due to real or inferred peer pressure is a massive...

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