Active Coconut Tree Divemaster Interns
A Rescue Rain Day: Chloe
Very rarely do us Dive Masters get a snow day, but that is exactly what happened one morning last week. Let me start with; diving during a rainstorm is a treat. You are going to get wet no matter what, so why let aerial precipitation deter you from a good time? To be completely unaffected by any elements, submerged, 10, 20, 40 feet under water, floating on your back, looking up as drops disrupt the surface in a static, white noise sort of manner, is a calming, novel experience. There are dangers associated with diving during a storm, though very few actually influence behaviour underwater. Instead it is the entry and exit from the boat during a storm where most accidents happen.
On this day, last week, the water and wind were consequently too rough to even consider a boat dive from any side of the island, so the morning boat was cancelled, leaving 8 dive masters and 4 instructors puttering around the shop. A movie on skills (sans popcorn) was turned on for review and all dive masters settled in. Not 35 minutes later, the instructors interrupt the movie and being yelling about a missing diver. We all quickly recognize the interruption as a drill and even quicker scatter like cockroaches being chased by a flame. The next 40 minutes evolved into what can only be described as mildly controlled chaos. The missing diver was eventually located but was unable to be resuscitated as her bottom time was well over 20 minutes. The supervising instructors were disappointed, but as we were all reminded by our newest DM from Switzerland, drills like the one we just bombed, are the reason we all become better, as individuals and as a team. Rather than thash out every error we made, I’m going to isolate and highlight the correct response to an emergency which is an important refresher for all divers of any level.
Missing Diver/Search + Rescue
1. Assess the Situation
a. Before anyone moves in any direction, assign a lead. No matter what the conditions, you will be working as a team, but it is far less confusing and much more efficient to know who is delegating tasks and who should be aware of all information passing through.
b. Collect all information. Who is missing, Where were they last seen, When were they last seen, What are they wearing, How much air did they have left, Why did they go missing?
2. Create a Plan
a. The DM’s were informed of the missing diver in a classroom where we were watching a movie. We had a white board, multiple maps, a spine board, emergency oxygen, first aid, and various other useful tools, which you can be sure none of us took advantage of, because in the excitement we all just bolted for our equipment. What we should have done was draw the search area/dive site on the white board, and assign teams and search patterns.
b. Assign roles to your team. There were 8 of us. Perfect for one snorkel team of two, two scuba teams of two and one team of two to stay on land. Discuss search patterns, recall signals if a team finds the diver, assign gear, compasses and have the land team put emergency services on standby while checking the missing diver’s hotel on the off chance they have surfaced and gone home.
a. After this crucial first and second step, MOVE! Time is crucial for increased survival rates. Get your gear and get to the water. Have one more meeting before entering the water to ensure everyone is clear on the plan, or to accommodate any changes if necessary.
b. Communicate! When you create a plan stick to it. The easiest mistake to make is to become an independent member and abandon your team with dreams of becoming a hero.
c. Depending on the diver’s condition when found, the recovery standards will differ. The most experienced EFR trainee should work on the patient until EMS arrives.
In the end the drill served its intended purpose which was to bond us a team.
Added 7 new divemaster interns on Febuary 14th, 2017 to our team leaving us with 15 current interns. Here at Coconut Tree we specialize in the pro side of teaching and have a 6 week program designed just for pro candidates. If your checking on where to do your training and you come across shops that explain to you they only carry a small amount of divemasters its because they do not have a program designed for you. Our course is challenging and fun at the same time leaving you with plenty of experience to start your IDC with us.
Coconut Tree Divers divemaster interns practicing their equipment exchange on the deck.
The day to day duties of the divemaster interns at Coconut Tree Divers. Wether your helping fill scuba tanks after the morning dives, or sitting down and getting some one on one instruction from one of the instructors, there is always plenty to do when it comes to training.
Tying of the boat is one of the divemaster interns duty when the boat comes back from the dives, be sure to learn your clove hitches and other knots!!
The first week as a DMT (Divemaster intern)
by Henrik and Josh
The first day is the introduction. You get told a bunch of information and you won’t remember even half of it, but that is okay because it will come to you in a couple of days. They will show you around the shop, the classroom and the compressor room just to get you familiar with it. You start to meet everyone that you will work with for the next couple of months and also all the other DMT’s that share the same housing as you. The DMT house is nice with private rooms and bathrooms and a share kitchen, which is a nice excuse to cook meals together and be social. Even though you can’t remember every ones name, you will still feel warmly welcomed. You will also be assigned an instructor who will be your mentor during the divemaster course. I also got to dive – it was nice to be back in the water again after almost 3 months of surface time.
Over the next couple of days you will be shown how all the routines work. How to help a costumer, what to check in the mornings, how to fill the tanks, how to use the compressors, load and unload the boat, and of course the dive schedule. It only takes you a few days to get into it, and to change your feeling from “I have no idea what I am doing” and “I am just in the way” to “I am actually being useful right now.” I have now been here for one and a half weeks and already I am doing the routines like everybody else. Of course there are still plenty of things I still have to learn – such as tying the knots for the boat, but that will hopefully also be pretty easy in a couple of weeks.
I think the first week is the most horrible and the most intense. You arrive in a new country (and in my case, really far away from home) and everything is new for you. You are unused to the hard work (carry and lift tanks). You are unused to the sun and get sunburned. You are unused to the mosquitos and sandflies. You are stressed over all the new tasks that you just learned and all the things that has to be completed before you can go and do the easy part – dive. The first week is a really intense on your body. But it gets easier once you start to get used to everything, and it will probably be even easier in the future.
And then there also are all the things above and outside the diving and dive shop life that you have to get used to, like animals (both positive and negative ones). I love to be able to look at the clear sky in the night, just watching all the stars but I hate not being able to drink the tap water. To move all across the world was a difficult but at the same time a very interesting decision. I already know I will always remember my time fulfilling my dream of becoming a professional diver and living in Roatan, Honduras.
Thanks Henrik for some insight on the DM program, its a busy program and organized in a way that super exceeds all other DM programs on the island. Plus we have the most fun!!!!
Henrik is pictured in middle wearing the orange t shirt.
do you have what it takes to graduate this course? The girls say HELL YA!!!
heres another reason why we chose coconut tree divers to continue our training into a professional dive career.