This week’s dive etiquette tip answers the important question, “When should you give advice?”

This week’s tip is:  Only give advice when you are asked for it, and if you are competent to give the advice requested.  No one enjoys someone coming up to them and telling them that they are doing something wrong, or how they can do it better.  They do not want a stranger or even a friend telling them why their equipment is no good and they should get some other stuff. Unsolicited advice is usually ignored, and should be.   But when you are asked for advice, from equipment selection, to diving techniques, to places to go diving, feel free to respond, if you are competent to do so.  And phrase your response to indicate the scope of your competence.

thumbnail3.jpg
For example, if another diver asks you what qualities you look for in a regulator, they are asking your opinion and anyone can offer their opinion freely, as an opinion..  If they ask you what regulator is the best and you have owned and used exactly one regulator in your dive lifetime, you are not competent to answer unless you limit your answer to saying, “ I have only ever used an XYZ regulator, but I have been very happy with it.” Similarly, if someone asks your opinion as to the best sites to dive in Grand Cayman, and you have dove their extensively, you can respond appropriately as to what sites you enjoyed and why.  But if the only sites you dove were Stingray City and Eden Rock during a one day excursion from a cruise ship, don’t respond by saying that those are the best two dive sites on Grand Cayman. Share what you know and what you don’t.    I have had divers who never dove at a particular island tell me what sites were best.  How do they know?   Remember the second part of the rule, only answer if you are competent to answer.

There is one exception to this rule on giving advice, and it is an important exception. If you see someone doing something that creates a danger to themselves or others, take the initiative to correct them without waiting for a question.  It’s ok to tell someone their weight belt is falling off, their air is not turned on, their regulator hose is looped over the ladder pole, or to point out an equipment malfunction or damaged gear.  But other than that, don’t give unsolicited advice. Don’t tell people how to enter or exit the water,  or how to dive, or why the colors they have on their wet suit and fins are wrong, or how they should get different fins altogether.   Be nice, be helpful, but don’t be a jabbering know-it-all.    Only give advice when you are asked for it, and if you are competent to give the advice requested.

Happy Diving, everyone!

The Scuba Snobs

Have something to add to this post? Share it in the comments.
New stuff
By Beth Alexander

Marine Species: The Blue-Ringed Octopus

The blue-ringed octopus, or BRO for short, tops the list of the critters sought out by macro photographers. There are approximately five to 10 different species inhabiting the oceans, but they are most famous for being the only lethal octopus known to man.
by Guest Author
cool scuba jobs

Cool Scuba Jobs: Great White Shark Guide

There are a lot of cool scuba jobs out there, and one of the coolest is a great-white shark guide. If you’ve ever wondered how to become a shark guide, or just how to find a reputable operator, look no further.
by Kathryn Hodgson
Sodwana Bay

Diving South Africa’s Sodwana Bay

In 2000, Sodwana Bay became internationally known after a group of technical divers rediscovered the prehistoric coelacanth in the depths of the park’s Jesser Canyon, but it is for the incredible biodiversity of the area’s shallower reefs that most divers flock there.
by Jessica Macdonald
threshers_featured

Diving with Threshers in Malapascua

Tiny Malapascua Island off the northern tip of Cebu in the Philippines, draws divers from around the world with the promise of an encounter with the elusive thresher shark.
by Shelley Collett