The Scuba Snobs’ Dive Etiquette Tip of the Week Tip #4: Don’t Touch Other People’s Stuff

Common courtesy and good manners require that you not touch things that don’t belong to you.

Dear Fellow Divers,

This week our  tip on diving etiquette is one everyone should have learned in kindergarten.  Common courtesy and good manners require that you not touch things that don’t belong to you.  The Scuba Snobs state the rule this way: Don’t touch other people’s stuff.  Sometimes when people say “don’t touch my stuff,” they may be referring to certain intimate body parts. That stuff is clearly included under this rule, but  our reference here is focused on things like dive equipment, towels, clothing and other items of personal property.  This rule is especially important on dive boats where we all have to get along, sometimes in a pretty limited space.

If you are not sure if a towel or mask or other item is yours, ask the person nearest to you if it is theirs.  Look at the item together and determine ownership.  Don’t presume.  On one occasion, a diver picked up Dennis’ mask.  It was fastened to Dennis’ BCD on a clip and had prescription lenses, but somehow the other diver was just sure it was his mask.  It took a little conversation before the other diver was willing to relinquish it, but he did give it back.  This no touching rule also applies to “borrowing.”   As a rule, divers are generous people, and, if you ask, they will share their de-fog, their water, a tool for repairs, and sometimes spare parts or an extra mask.  But ask first!   Don’t help yourself to defog that is not yours or the boat’s. Determine whose it is and ask if you can use it.  The same is true with anything else that is not yours.  It’s a simple rule: don’t touch ( or borrow ) other people’s stuff without permission.

Not touching other people’s stuff necessarily includes not moving other people’s stuff.  If someone has staked out their spot on the dive boat with their gear set up, boat bag under the seat, and towel secured in a dry area or tied to an overhead rail, leave it alone.  Find another spot.  If they are in “your spot,” we suppose you could ask them to move, but first ask yourself how it is you came to think that the space in question was “your spot.”  We like to have a spot near the dive platform in order to facilitate being first in the water without having to jostle other divers.  But if someone else is there first and got “our” spot, we find another.  If the dive crew set you up in a location other than “your spot,”  and your spot is available, it is ok to move your stuff to that other spot.  But tell the crew, and ask if it’s ok, just in case they are reserving that spot for someone with a special need.

Getting along on a dive boat is important so that everyone can enjoy the day.  One way to help make sure that everyone does get along is to follow this month’s rule of diving etiquette: don’t touch other people’s stuff.  Happy diving everyone!

The Scuba Snobs