Of all the decisions we must make as divers, the most difficult is often the decision NOT to dive. Those of us diving in the commercial sector know that this decision can often cost a business a considerable amount of money, and even earn a sour reputation should a diver show up on sight and elect not to get in the water. In the recreational world, the dives are optional – unfortunately this is not always the case in the working world.
The important thing to keep in perspective is personal limitations. When these are compromised, incidents and accidents are invited into the mix. Today was a good example – my first contract dive for 2012 was a call for a blissful plunge into a raw sewage containment well to dislodge a clogged pump intake. All locked in to a vulcanized rubber suit and quad exhaust on the hat, this exposure is reasonably accounted for. Yet, my limits were uncomfortably pushed – not physically, rather responsibly. With a newborn baby at home – not yet exposed to the common cold, let alone every pathogen contained in human waste and other fluids, I kept rethinking the slim but real chance of not doing a thorough decon, and marching this $#!T into my home and exposing my child to what could prove life threatening at this early stage of life – just not worth it.
So, while a lucrative proposition, I opted out. I decided that I was past the pride (having dived in sewage before so I already have that story to tell) and the fine line of being smart enough to say ‘no’, and stupid enough to say ‘yes’ was thickened up a bit with the nature of this dirty job.
The diver doing the dive in my place did a great job – tasks executed in a timely and professional manor, and without incident, with virtually no environmental exposure. So, mission still accomplished.
From the words of the great Kenny Rogers, ‘know when to walk away, and when to run’. Diving is a gamble, as is life. The decision NOT to dive is a responsible one. Be prepared to accept any associated consequences, but remember that diving under pressures that are cause for compromised physical, emotional, psychological, or physiological safety don’t do much to preserve a long and healthy undersea career.