Dear Fellow Divers,
Today’s dive etiquette tip is short and to the point. Ask before helping. Divers are nice people. Divers like to be helpful, and helping other people is a nice thing to do, most of the time. If someone asks you to help and you are both willing and competent to help them in the way they ask, please do help them. If you have not been asked to help, then before helping another person, ask them first if they would like your help. This rule needs to be followed whether the activity is putting on gear, moving to the entry area, getting in the water, getting back to the boat on the surface, getting out of the water, or putting gear away.
Welcomed help is a wonderful thing, but nothing is more annoying or potentially dangerous than having someone try and help without being asked. Dennis received a smashed finger during a drive trip in Mexico when a young man that we presume had good intentions smashed Dennis’ finger as he “helped” place Dennis’ tank in the tank rack without being asked, without giving prior notice, and without asking if help was wanted. The supposedly helpful guy didn’t ask if Dennis wanted help, or if he was ready to have the tank placed in the rack. Dennis, in fact, was not ready for that to happen, primarily because his hand was partially placed over the tank rack where the tank would be seated!
You need to back off from helping unless asked, not only to avoid hurting the person you meant to help, but to avoid injury to yourself. We have a story about this in The Scuba Snobs’ Guide to Diving Etiquette Book 2. It involved one diver assisting another back on to the dive boat without being asked or asking the boarder if they needed help. The “assistance “ was unwelcomed, and resulted in a kick to the face of the would-be helper. The lesson is clear. Don’t “help” another person unless they ask, or you ask and they invite your help in response. If we need help, we will ask, and we will appreciate the one who assists us. We will be happy to help someone if they ask. Hopefully you will too. Happy diving, everyone!
The Scuba Snobs