Open Letter to the Dept of Labour (Nova Scotia) (reprinted with permission)

On June 14th, a SCUBA diver was almost killed at a local marina in St.Margaret's Bay.

He was cleaning/checking the moorings for the Shinning Waters Marina. The owner was told by the "experienced diver" that he complied with regulations (I don't know what he was quoting) and only needed a spotter in a boat. He did a dive in the morning and was okay. In the afternoon he went down (with a lifeline on) and when the spotters failed to see bubbles only 10 minutes into the dive, they hauled up his unconscious body. The diver was rushed to the VG and underwent a Table 6 treatment in the hyperbaric facility. His O2 level dropped to 30% and he was extremely lucky to be alive.

The diver's wife brought his rental gear back to Divers World and told us of the story after we had received the equipment. This gear was then quarantined by Divers World, but had passed through to many hands for a proper investigation. The regulator had gone through it yearly overhaul only two months prior. His first set of tanks had 700 PSI (used) and the second has 2500 PSI (almost full). Nobody wanted to give out any information because they didn't want to get anybody in trouble. I called the Department of Labour for an investigation and was told that they felt that everybody had learned their lesson. No charges and only a very minor investigation.

There are several problems with the scenario that played out last week. 911 was called but the RCMP never responded. Department of Labour was not contacted by the employer. Although an employee at the marina suggested leaving the gear for inspection, the diver's wife insisted on taking the equipment and not contacting anybody. Most importantly, why was a SCUBA diver doing commercial work?

Diver error was the cause of this accident. He was released from hospital on Friday the 17th and went immediately to Divers World so he could buy another wetsuit because his last one was cut-off.

This is a perfect example of what goes on in this province and what will be allowed to continue. This is only one event of many that was caught and still nothing will be done. I would like to get some type response from this.

Regards,

Richard Engel
Chief Diving Supervisor
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