Editorial 101

It’s a sign of the times!

A few months after 9/11 the USA Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) put out a notice regarding the possible use of underwater breathing equipment being used by terrorists for attacking targets in locations surrounded by water, either fresh or marine.

Soon after it came to light that some suspects had been training to use rebreathers in New Zealand. Highlighting the point that even if you think your country is well isolated from possible attacks it can be seen as a ‘soft’ country to obtain specialized training without raising suspicions. Recent events of doctors being involved in bombing plots in the UK also indicate no person or place is without reproach!

As we go to press our office received a notice regarding a recent FBI notice to dive training organizations to be on the alert for possible people wanting training in specialized courses.

Dive shop staff and instructors need to be observant to unusual behaviour and requests that may raise their suspicions. Such as a person requesting training in underwater activities that are not the norm for a student who is just learning to dive recreationally, should ring alarm bells.

These could be such as a person: wanting to learn navigation in murky water; going from basic scuba certification to rebreather training in a very short time; buying a number of high end diver propulsion scooters by paying cash; commercial diver training and requesting training in explosives.

I guess in this ever changing world we all need to be aware and observant of activities by people around us – it’s a sign of the times!

A new broom sweeps clean?

That is an old saying and it is one that time will tell if it has been effective in restructuring the New Zealand Underwater Association (NZUA).

At the June AGM virtually a new board was elected. Ray Dolman from Tauranga was elected as president and it is he that has been thrown the hospital pass to battle through a maze of manipulating opposition to the try line. He and his board have a huge challenge ahead of them to rebuild the organization to its former status of many, many years ago.

The question is, will people’s personal egos and agendas and perceived fears allow him to do the job he has been tasked to do?

The core foundations of the NZUA were built in 1953 by divers who were passionate about diving and wanted an organization that basically looked after the welfare and rights of divers.NZUA’s history shows how these very simple foundations have been twisted and manipulated for people’s own financial gain and agendas! True it is 2007 and what worked in 1953 may not fully work in today’s environment. But one thing that has never changed in ensuring an organization success in the past, present and future is the organization’s president’s passion to succeed. It’s that passion that pushes people to work the extra hours, have the meeting, and more importantly turn the ‘talk’ in to action – getting the job done. I believe Ray has the passion to do the hard yards – but will the old guard support him so that he can reach that far away try line?

A down to earth grass roots diving club – I loved it

I recently had the pleasure of giving a talk at the Nelson Underwater Club based at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. Before the evening I wondered, how many would turn up – that night the All Blacks (New Zealand’s National rugby team) were playing the Wallabies (Australia) and Team New Zealand was continuing their battle to lift the America’s Cup (sailing’s oldest trophy) out of Valencia, Spain.

I was not disappointed with well over 50 people turning up to take part in the club’s annual prizegiving evening — An Evening Under The Sea. Their ages ranged from early teens to the mid 70s.

The success of the evening can be put down to two important keys. A passionate president (there’s that word again) Eric Simmons and the hard core dedicated team that support him – fantastic.

After the awards, which were accompanied by much laughter, the food was laid out – every plate a culinary delight from a club member’s kitchen – then the band got the legs and bottoms moving.

This club owns their two storey club rooms, produce a great monthly club magazine, have trips galore organized etc, etc.

Being in the company of such down to earth active divers was so refreshing – fantastic in fact. I had witnessed first hand what the NZUA has let slip through their fingers – people who go diving!

The water may be a wee bit chilly at this time of year, but the visibility can be amazing and the scallops succulent – get out there and enjoy.

Scallop season changed

The season for recreational gathering off New Zealand’s North Island east coast between North Cape and Cape Runaway has changed to run from 1 September to 31 March not 15 July to 14 February as previously.

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