Dear Fellow Divers,
This is an important rule of etiquette in every aspect of life and in every aspect of diving. The only skill you need to be punctual is the ability to tell time. Most of us learned that before the age of eight, so there is rarely, if ever, an acceptable excuse for being late.
Be on time when meeting at the dive center or dock. If the plan is to depart at 8:00 a.m., don’t show up to check in at 8:00 a.m. Show up early enough to do paperwork, acquire any gear you do not have with you, and ask all the questions you can dream up. You need to be done with all of that before 8:00 a.m.
Next, be on time in arriving at any form of transportation you are sharing with others. That means being there ready to climb aboard at departure time. Once you show up on time, stay around, please. If you wander off and people have to wait for you, you are no longer on time.
Be on time in getting ready to begin a dive. Get your gear set up. Check it, fix what needs fixing, ask for help if you need it. Do this so that when the divemaster says “the pool is open,” you can proceed to the dive deck and plunge in. There are some divers who wait until the last minute to set up and get ready. That is rude, especially if it delays others from starting their dive. Be ready to go, whatever “go” means, on time, when everyone else is ready.
Be on time when returning to the boat after a dive. That means that if f there is a set duration after which you are to be back on the boat, honor it. If a specific time is set, be back on the boat by that time. Punctuality also includes returning immediately if the boat recalls divers by pre-arranged signal. Recalls rarely happen, but when they do there is a really good reason for them. Conditions on the sea can change, someone might be hurt, or something else may compel the early recall. Be on time when returning from shore dives, too. If you are shore diving and have a shore person or group waiting and watching for you, return by the time you say you will return, and in that same place.
If for some reason you find you are late to a dive boat, or van pick up, or other planned or scheduled rendezvous, you should make a brief and sincere apology, like this:
Hey everyone, I (we) are really sorry we are late. We know you have been waiting, and it’s all our fault. We have no excuse, but hope you will forgive us and enjoy the diving.
Don’t make excuses or belabor the point. With a properly contrite and brief apology, chances are the people who have been waiting for you will do just what you asked. Once the apology is delivered, let it go. Don’t bring it up again, and chances are no one else will either. Better still, rather than apologizing for being late, remember this month’s dive etiquette tip, and be on time for everything! Happy diving, everyone!
The Scuba Snobs