Hecatomb…ok, but what’s next?

Posted on Jul 24, 2011 |

The last weeks we witnessed an hecatomb amongst freedivers.
Beside one real accident, all the fatalities happened while practicing freediving alone.
I’m angry. Extremely angry. And I’m not alone, lot of freedivers think the same.
One simple rule can avoid most of freediving deadly accident: never freedive alone. And it’s such an easy rule to follow.
The last person to pass away lived in Brussels. Can you imagine that in a landlocked city in Belgium we got two people dying while training in less that one month!
How comes that one person dying in a stupid and avoidable way doesn’t raise the awareness and make people think about what they are doing and rethink their way of practicing?
Probably because some people think they are wiser or that it’ll never happen to them. The recent events proves that nobody is immunized, not even the more experienced freedivers.
Now we, the freediving community, need to take serious and immediate actions.
As a professional, I’m tired of not being able to find pool slots for training, tired of being told I’m practicing an extreme sport where the ultimate outcome is death, tired of having to deal with media and forum rats calling an emailing me to have more informations about the accidents to feed their morbid curiosity.
We, professional instructors are spending time and energy to preach safe practice but we don’t have any concrete backup from our organizations.
So now I’m calling to freediving organizations to get their shits together to do something for these terrible fatalities not just beign statistics but a kick to launch a strong prevention campaign.
Instead of simply posting “politically correct condolences letter on the web, the freediving associations and certification agencies should react and act.
Why not buying pages in diving magazines to talk about safe practice and giving basic advices? Why not sending to all the dive centers and nautical bases a bilboard reminding the primordial rules of freediving? What would be the cost of that compares to the positive impact?
And it would be far more interesting for the governing bodies to work on something like that concerning thousands or even millions of individuals instead of spending months debating about the size of a lanyard or the content of the competition’s surface protocol which interest, at the most, a couple of hundred people in the world. WTF
AIDA stands for Association pour le Developement de l’Apnée as far as I remember, so I’d to see AIDA and the others entities working for the development of freediving and not only the development of competitive freediving. For a lot of people, governing bodies don’t have added value anymore because they are not working on the field, the leaders seems disconnected from the true needs of professionals working out there.
Don’t react like Nemo 33 who decided to close the facility to freediving instead of understand why it was important to take the opportunity to do even more freediving courses to avoid future tragedies. But it’s of course easier to go to ostrich politics mode.
So why not having all the agencies collaborating for a short document that could be one page in magazines and one poster that could be distributed for free everywhere with the important rules to follow? Yes, I think I’m dreaming here…