39 Ways to Piss-Off Your Divemaster

39 Ways to Piss-Off Your Divemaster

39 Ways to Piss-Off Your Divemaster

Having been in the diving industry for the past 20 years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some amazing characters. The author of 39 Ways to Piss Off Your Divemaster is without exception the most unique of them all. Known by many names, most simply referred to him as the Rogue Diver, a label given to him by the then new owner of Bob Soto’s Diving, Mr. Ron Kipp. His stories of sunken treasure and deep diving captured the imagination of many divers both new and seasoned. Below are the original 39 Ways to Piss Off Your Divemaster, released back in the late 90’s. Although some of the diving terminology has changed, the humor found in these observations remains as always, very funny.

Initial Piss Offs-These Typically Happen In the Dive Shop

1.   Blandly assure your divemaster that you really are related to Jacques Cousteau.

2.   Ask him to service, repair or assemble gear you bought from his competitor down the street. (After all, it was $8.00 cheaper)


3.   Ask for 26 pounds of weight even though you weigh only 140 pounds and are not wearing a wetsuit.

4.   Ask several cerebral questions such as “Is the Ocean really salty here?”

Boating Boo Boo’s

5.   Ask him to load film into your new Nikonos IX camera. IT IS ALWAYS MORE FUN ON THE BOAT!

6.   Arrive 10 minutes after everybody else, It makes you look more important and helps your divemaster learn patience.

7.   When entering the boat, bring at least one pint of loose sand with you. (Booties and mesh bags will help you here.) It makes the boat look more rustic and gives the dive master something to do when he comes back from the dive. Lacking sand, you can make do with cigarette butts, soda cans, film wrappers and price tags if you are a REAL novice.

8.   Express a strong need to use the potty (#2!) 5 minutes after you leave the dock. Your dive boat probably does not have a head!

9.   Stand up in the boat (especially when it’s under-way in heavy seas). You want to look like George Washington crossing the Delaware! Never-mind the broken windshield, top, seat, etc., they were flimsy and really should not have broken you fell into them.

10.  Smoke (or vomit) over the windward rail. (It will immediately come back to haunt you and your fellow passengers).

11.  On smaller boats, why don’t you all get to one side and turn the boat into a nautical “Leaning tower of Pisa.” If you all get on the bow of a smaller boat, with a little luck you can swamp it!

12.  Assemble your gear while under-way, especially in high seas. Don’t try and assemble it first on land, especially camera gear. Your divemaster who is doing nothing other than driving the boat has plenty of time to help you with the pieces that haven’t been blown or washed over while en-route.

13.  The used equipment you bought CHEAP was last serviced in 1979. Don’t worry, the dive master is supposed to be able to fix it ON THE ROCKING BOAT, WITH NO PARTS. (It is very pleasantly surprising how often we wind up successfully doing just that)

At The Dive Site

14.  Carry at least two ballistic nylon bags full of necessities such as dual dive knives, bang stick, king sized Spare Air, a backup-pony bottle, (how about a twin set of tanks?), 2 cameras, a full wetsuit (EVEN THOUGH THE WATER IS 86!) armored booties, armored rattlesnake proof dive gloves, 2 cyalumes, 3 dive lights, the newest model “force fin” or four foot “reef wreckers” dual redundant dive slates, at least one “day & night Surviva-Balloon”, 1 or more ballistic nylon “tank totes” with optional padded shoulder straps, and for good measure, a 2 gallon dry box with spare fin straps, buckles, “o” rings, (wrong size), a medical kit (O2) at least different currencies including coins for vending machines or emergency phone calls to DAN, defog, fish cards, coral cards, an underwater sonar boat locator, an underwater digital true north compass, dual dive-computers and a tank banger. MOST OF US WHO HAVE BEEN IN THE BUSINESS FOR A WHILE REFER TO THIS JUNKPILE/DIVER COMBO AS A “LIVING REEF”.

If you really want to put your dive master into a barely sub-orbital ballistic trajectory, blithely inform him that even though you brought 291 pounds of equipment, you did manage to forget your corrective dive mask, your titanium regulator with the ruby valve seats, and your 21 pocket BCD with 156 pounds of flotation and 34 external equipment lanyards.

15.  Assuming you DID get all your equipment on board, assemble your equipment wrong and/or forget vital things such as masks, weights or fins. (what ever happened to BWRAF?). You can really THRILL us by rolling in with your air still turned OFF!

16.  Your final arrival/assembly piss-off involves run-away tanks. If you improperly secure your tank, or use one of the cheap tank bands that are impossible to secure, you can experience the following:

As you stand up, the tank lets loose dinging the boat and possibly setting up quite a howl as it lands on your buddy’s toes. (I can identify almost every ding on my boat by divers name and approximate vintage from memory!).
The tank lets loose in the water as you roll in:

  • Your divemaster  gets to do a near ear-bursting bounce dive to recover a complete run-away.
  • The tank is still hanging by the power inflator hose and he can re-assemble you and help you get your act together while watching the other 11 divers use up their air on the surface while slowly drifting towards the next island.
  • If it let’s loose underwater, the entire group can stop their dive and watch the re-assembly of a turkey-fish instead of the local flora & fauna that they traveled so far to see.

17.  Play Yankee-Doodle on your purge valve to test your regulator. (It only tests your purge valve!) Why not stick it into your mouth and try to breathe with it instead? This will also test your ENTIRE regulator.

18.  Roll in with way too much weight and no air in your BCD (Possibly with your air still turned off) This keeps your divemaster current on his rescue skills.

19.  Hook your SPG or alternate air source on the boat as you roll in. You look so neat hanging half in the water until something finally breaks to free you up for your final undignified entry.

20.  You notice how I hammer on the subject of air not turned on-well, with it turned on you can still start your dive with your snorkel in your mouth instead of your regulator. You look so cool coughing and sputtering and spouting like a whale! Your divemaster now has to stop the rest of the group from descending to watch your really neat show. He sees it many times per year. By now the rest of the group has used part of their air on the short round trip, and your divemaster might not be the only one that is presently PISSED OFF!

21.  Once in the water, play a Liberace symphony on your power inflator and dump valve. You look so neat going up and down, up and down….

22.  Don’t follow your divemaster-The really cool stuff is probably in the other direction anyway.

23.  Coral grows back within a 100 years or so. Beat it up a little so future divers will know you have been there before them.

24.  In silty areas or caves, be at least 10 pounds negative and kick up a real silt storm. Add to this effect by consistently swimming into the diver in front of you. As a final added touch, this is a great time to overcorrect your previous buoyancy problem and stick yourself like a giant spider to the roof of the cave.

25.  Inform your divemaster that you are now down to 50PSI at 100 feet. Empty your tank COMPLETELY, after all you paid for ALL the air. You will probably be safely home by the time the inevitable tank and regulator maintain problems appear.

26.  Try to let the air out of your BCD while in the head-down position while kicking franticly to slow your ever increasing ascent rate. This really thrills your divemaster!

27.  Only newlyweds and young lovers stay within 50 feet of their dive buddies.

28.  Share air with a snorkeler. (The world is over-populated and you can help alleviate this problem by fatal immobilizing the poor guy!)

29.  Put the leftovers of your tuna fish sandwich in your buddy’s BCD. You’ll get great fish shots! It can also be used to affect a great low cost divorce.

30.  Always swim at least 10 feet below your divemaster. He has already been looking down on you for some time. Now he can look down on you FOR REAL!

31.  Keep your valuables in your dry box with a clear plastic lid- after all, the hotel might not be safe. Then report the theft of $1000, your Rolex Oyster watch and various other sorted valuables and demand that the dive operator compensate you for your loss.

32.  Don’t swim up-fully inflate your BCD and shoot up like a Poseidon missile. This will give your divemaster some badly needed exercise as he chases you!

33.  When removing your regulator, turn the tank off and push the purge valve. As soon as it stops hissing, release the purge valve and wrench the regulator off the tank. Never mind that the air from your SPG has re-pressurized your first stage, thereby allowing you to blow the “o” ring out of the tank valve. Divemasters love replacing “o” rings!

34.  Don’t blow your regulator dust cap dry and seal your regulator from harm. After all, everything inside is made from stainless steel and shouldn’t corrode anyway, right? Remember in salt water, STAINLESS-ISN”T!

35.  If you have returned to shore, and in reasonably good shape, then drop your lead weights on the nearest concrete. It makes putting them on the next weight belt so much more challenging. You can simulate this effect by throwing them into the weight box if no concrete is available. Better yet, grab your weight belt by the buckle, and watch the weights fall off in an orderly single file. With proper aim, you can assault your boat mates feet and ankles, or even better, hit what toenails your divemaster has left after the inevitable tank dropping accidents! To “fir for full effect,” be the first person out of the water, hang the belt over the water, and “bomb” your dive master into oblivion!!

If you have ascended the dive ladder in full gear, why not release your weight belt by mistake, instead of your BCD. Your divemaster or buddy had both hands occupied holding your tank. He can now watch helplessly as your fully loaded weight belt smashes onto his feet!

The final piss-off for your divemaster would be to inform him UPON YOUR RETURN that you found yourself overweighted (your fault), so you decided to remove some weight and leave it at the dive site! Lead weights are expensive, especially when freighted to an island!

36.  If you want to leave a residual piss-off that will activate after you have left, put the tank valve caps back on your empty tanks. THIS COVER IS TO PROTECT THE TANK VALVE AS SO MANY BELIEVE, IT IS TO TO TELL IF THE TANK IS FULL OR EMPTY! The net effect of putting the cap back on is to save the next user from the rigors of diving, and cheat him out of the opportunity to piss-off the divemaster on the following day!

37.  Would you place your hand or foot between your moving car and a concrete wall? No? Then why would you place your hand between the much heavier dive boat and dock? The difference between your car and the dive boat is that if your car is not moving, it is highly unlikely that it will suddenly spontaneously move! This is not true of your dive boat, where a stray wind, current, or the wake from a passing boat can force the once stationary boat to lurch into violent motion. Since there is no market for mangled used body parts, your divemaster will derive no benefit from the numerous hours of paperwork that he will find necessary to keep you from suing him for your own stupidity!

38.  You’ve really done your job when your check bounces 2 weeks after you get home.

39.  This one will provide excitement for EVERYONE on the trip. Physical blows have often resulted from the following, and divemasters truly love breaking up fights on their boats! To achieve this, do the following:

Place your heavy tank, regulator, weight belt and BCD, preferably in a heavy bag, on top of your boat mates gear bag! Your reward may be the sound of glass breaking, such as his/her prescription dive mask shattering. Crushed regulators have very little trade-in value!

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