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Old 08 January 2015, 04:52   #31
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I agree that dive operators also need to comply as much as everyone else on the water, and this includes lowering the flag when divers are safely back onboard.

With regards to a drift dive, by its very nature divers will get spread out (and may go off in different directions based on current, eddy's, etc underwater). The dive skipper should brief all divers to immediately send up their blob (delayed surface marker buoy) on reaching the bottom. This way the dive boat flies the A flag to warn other vessels that there are divers down, and this should then "hone" the awareness of skippers to look out for DSMBs in the vicinity of the A flag.

It isn't always possible to stay directly over the divers as even on a wreck dive with little or no current the divers spread out and then can drift away from the wreck on the ascent.
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Old 08 January 2015, 05:44   #32
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Did a quick straw poll at work - very unscientific :
17 people
  • 3 dive
  • 2 kayak
  • 3 sail dinghies
  • 2 Ribnobbers (PB2 & Adv PB)
  • 3 sail yachts (1x Day, 1x Coastal YM, 1x Offsh YM).
  • Some do multiple so it works out as 8 water users, 9 non water users.
None of the 9 non water users knew the alpha flag
  • 3 of the 8 water users knew the alpha flag - all were divers
  • 5 water users who didn't know were qualified: PB2, kayak, dinghy, Coastal YM (again some did multiple things)
All 17 drive and all 17 recognised that the Triangle indicated a warning. Some did say that they'd probably approach the boat flying the flag to ask what it meant...kind of negating the point

Education is key, but in this very narrow poll even for educated water users the message isn't clear unless you activly participate in diving. Is it working.

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Old 08 January 2015, 05:52   #33
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Interesting that only 3 of 8 divers knew the A flag! Do they dive independently or with dive operations? I'd like to think that the dive operator (if used) uses the A flag, but maybe not.

I still believe a wider education is key. A picture of the A flag, and how to behave around it at all marinas, slipways and regular water access points would help.

Maybe even a flyer put out with insurance documents with common flags/warning markers? This would need the buy-in of insurance companies, but could be done since hitting a diver through being too close will result in a claim?!
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Old 08 January 2015, 06:31   #34
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Sorry Ovey, my typing. Only 3 divers and all knew the flag. There are 8 water users.

Like the idea of the flag at marinas.
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Old 08 January 2015, 06:56   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesF View Post
a sheet of plywood with "Divers. Keep well clear" painted on it in eighteen inch lettering.
Realistically, that probably does far more good than the A flag.
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Old 08 January 2015, 08:38   #36
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All good suggestions, perhaps marking on charts 'dive areas' for the most common dive areas around would help. But lets get real, may boaters never buy a chart let alone look at em, as to noticies in marinas, ive seen lots on wearing life jackets and kill cords (in the marinas) and still see many more people not wearing them.

education is great I just dont think the people who need the education will get the message because they just arn't bothered or no incentive to get trained.

I was watching a TV documentary about richard bransons neckar island resort the other night, many nice ribs including scorpions in use and lots of water sports, only saw kill cord in use once and no lifejackets worn at any time, which surprised me due to high value worth of the people and celebs who visit that island.

So this dive flag issue is maybe a good or a bad idea, someone else made the comment about it may make people go nearer the boat to see what it is which cant be a good idea, so not sure.

We all seem to go round in circles on safety aspects and education, maybe the only thing which would change peoples behaviours is if boat insurance was mandatory and if you got boat training you could get a large discount off that insurance at various levels, so maybe insurance companies should increase thecost of boat insurance but actively provide bigger discounts based on training, PB2 25% discount off insurance, Intermediate 35% off, Advanced 50% off etc etc.
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Old 08 January 2015, 14:02   #37
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Originally Posted by boristhebold View Post
We all seem to go round in circles on safety aspects and education, maybe the only thing which would change peoples behaviours is if boat insurance was mandatory and if you got boat training you could get a large discount off that insurance at various levels, so maybe insurance companies should increase thecost of boat insurance but actively provide bigger discounts based on training, PB2 25% discount off insurance, Intermediate 35% off, Advanced 50% off etc etc.
Or maybe since actuaries are actually very good with numbers there is actually little benefit?

Despite the fact that apparently nobody knows what the A-flag means and loads of dive boats aren't bothering to fly it - diver v's unrelated boat serious injuries are very rare; especially compared to the other risks of diving.
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Old 08 January 2015, 14:33   #38
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Hey.but lets get real Poly..I have never bought a chart in my life..so I must be very likely to injure a diver

I guess only 6 foot tall..fair haired and blue eyed skippers should be allowed boats
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