In Episode 37, we talked about a diver who had an issue with being added to a buddy team. He walked away from the dive citing this as one of the factors that lead to his problem on the dive, blaming the three-man team.
Diving in a three adds a lot of additional safety, but so does adding a single buddy. It doesn’t guarantee that buddy or all three buddies have the awareness, control and positioning to implement the added safety tools and gas that may be needed underwater. Diving in a three adds another brain and critical thinking as does adding a single buddy to just yourself in the water. But the added buddy or the added buddies in a three does not benefit the overall teamwork if all the divers think independently and can’t communicate effectively.
Building a team underwater takes dedicated practice. Certainly, it can be acquired over years of diving together between a couple divers, but that sixth-sense between two long-time dive buddies will not necessarily be picked up by others. Training to dive as a teammate is something above and beyond learning to dive. There just isn’t enough time to learn buddy behavior, leadership, how to be a good follower, awareness and communication in a normal Open Water diver course. That class is teaching the student how to use the new equipment, get comfortable and how to follow an instructor or divemaster.
The issue with this is when the student diver, now certified, thinks they have all the information to go out and do it on their own. They don’t realize what is missing until they run into a situation where they can’t clearly communicate and a problem happens. Instead of addressing the real issue with not knowing how to properly lead and communicate, the blame is thrown at other variables. My buddy swam off, my buddy wasn’t looking at me, my buddy was taking a picture, etc.
A properly trained and organized team wouldn’t let the breakdown in communication continue to escalate that way.