Commerical Divers versus Scuba Divers. Who Really Cares?!?

in Commerce

When I was a commercial diver I often heard other divers making fun of or talking badly about scuba divers. I never really understood the disgust directed toward these ‘sport divers’; reflected in the derogatory names  with which they were referred ,such as ‘scooby-doers’ or just plain ‘scubies.’ These were typically followed by colorful metaphors that catapulted the intended insult to even further heights. I would shake my head most of the time when someone said something of this nature because the fact of the matter was that we, commercial divers (most anyway), were also certified scuba divers. I must admit it was a bit perplexing. .

I soon realized it wasn’t that commercial divers hated scuba divers; they disliked all ‘non-working’ divers. The attitude seemed to be that if you weren’t down there to work, you should not be down there. A guy once told me that if he wasn’t getting paid to be underwater, he wasn’t going. Underwater that is. This all seemed to stem from a superiority complex. Commercial divers feel that they are risking their lives (and rightly so) doing an extremely dangerous job in an abnormal environment suitable only for those who are qualified to be there. Case in point, I remember knowing some scuba divers myself a long time ago who were doing light industrial for a construction company. This, in my opinion, was not only dangerous but the epitome of irresponsible behavior due to lax regulations in the industrial diving world. (But that is for another story.) The point is, I understand that while these idiots thought they were in fact professional divers, they were not and should have left this type of work to those who have been trained to do so. The company was obviously trying to save money by not hiring a commercial dive company to do the job. However, this contempt felt for scuba divers by some commercial divers is misguided and unfounded. Indeed, in normal conditions many scuba divers are probably better divers than some commercial divers. The key phrase here is “normal conditions.” That would exclude activity such as working alone, in the dark, in a river full of moving debris, on a pipeline, etc. This area of expertise is reserved for the working diver who has been trained for these types of situations.

So who is the better diver? Neither in this diver’s opinion; the argument is ridiculous. Who is to say a commercial diver is more exceptional in their diving abilities than that of a rescue diver or a cave diver? The difference lies in the situation and what type of training the situation calls for.

For some commercial divers this is an argument that will likely never end. It seems a way to validate themselves and their desired hierarchy within the diving world. Recently, I came across a coffee mug one available for sale on the internet that had a scuba diver logo with a circle and a slash through it; “No Scuba Divers”. I admit that I had a good laugh but it affirmed that the struggle for diving distinction rages on.

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Scott Kilgore has 2 articles online

Scott Kilgore is a graduate of the University of Alabama and of the Divers Academy.

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Commerical Divers versus Scuba Divers. Who Really Cares?!?

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This article was published on 2012/04/17