What’s a scuba snob? Sometimes it is used as a negative term by snorkelers who have to share a boat with divers. (Something with which we have no problem — we like to snorkel too) The term “scuba snob” was first applied to my wife Debbie and I by our non-diving daughter after hearing us tell a story that occurred on a recent dive outing. She looked at us and said, “You guys are really scuba snobs.” She was right. We are not only avid divers who love everything about diving, but also we have worked hard to acquire and maintain those skills that competent divers exhibit.
What makes us scuba snobs is not that we have those skills and habits as active divers. What makes us scuba snobs is that we expect other divers to have them too. So we wrote first one book, than a second one. The titles have been off-putting to some people. “The Scuba Snobs Guide to Diving Etiquette,” and the cleverly titled “The Scuba Snobs’ Guide to Diving Etiquette BOOK 2” elaborate on just what we mean by the term “scuba snob,” which we admittedly apply to ourselves.
To be a scuba snob you must be an avid and active diver. You must have excellent scuba skills. That means you have excellent buoyancy control, stay close to your buddy, and do safe and proper ascents. Yet more is required to earn the title scuba snob and all it represents. Having skills is important, but you must exercise those skills. You should also own your own scuba gear. That gear needs to be of good quality, properly maintained, and you need to know how to use it. No specific level of certification or training qualifies you as a scuba snob. Having a dozen specialty certifications, a master scuba diver rating, advanced or rescue diver rating mean nothing if you do not possess and practice the skills of a competent, safe and sociable diver.
Scuba snobs have done some diving. It’s really hard to qualify as a scuba snob unless you have a minimum of 50 dives. It’s not impossible, but it’s very unlikely. It takes time to develop optimal skills and habits. Scuba snobs log all of their dives and learn from every dive. Scuba snobs do not all look like world class athletes, but they are in decent physical condition and take care of themselves.
Scuba snobs are not air suckers. Their skills, planning, proper weighting, proper equipment and proper securing of that equipment on their person, combined with decent health all lead to them being the ones who come back from every dive with a comfortable cushion of unused air in their tank (almost all of the time).
Scuba snobs listen to dive master briefings. Scuba snobs are aware of and follow the dive boat and local area’s laws and rules. Scuba snobs aren’t pushy — they don’t have to be. They are pleasant, helpful (if asked), and secure in the knowledge that they know what they are doing. Scuba snobs occupy their space on the dive boat, set up their gear without elbowing others, and have good manners above and below the water.
Scuba snobs are the people on the boat that other people want to be their dive buddy. They are fun to dive with and to be around. But they do expect competence and common courtesy from other divers. Are you a scuba snob? If you aren’t, don’t you think you should be?
By Divemaster Dennis