Diving itself, aggressively anyway, is very much a young man’s trade. To realize any longevity in the field, rising to some form of supervisory position is an inevitable path. While incredibly rewarding to facilitate productive work underwater, the stress that comes with being responsible for other people’s lives can be overwhelming.
Diving Supervisors (commercial industry), Diving Safety Officers (science industry), and Divemasters (recreational industry) have responsibilities that are cause for elevated stress beyond any related undersea profession – and most often these people are not even in the water. With the background to put yourself in the shoes of another diver(s) who is actually in the water doing the work, the full myriad of potential hazards that may be encountered become a single fixed focal point. Compound that with multiple divers in the water, and carrying out multiple simultaneous tasks, the responsibilities are tremendous.
The challenge is in the balance of where to establish firm boundaries, and where to guide decision making. At times diving safety people are the least liked among a project team, at others they are the most liked. In the end, finding neutrality amongst the team is the best strategy to eliminate bias or perceived bias in safety decisions.
Ahh, the stress.
The only saving grace is that every once in awhile the opportunity presents itself to get back in the water without the encumbered responsibility of someone else’s life, and find solace with the one place that got you here to begin with.
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